There are no words to express the feelings of shock, grief and loss when someone you cherished is suddenly and meaninglessly wrenched from you forever. Violently taken from life by a gun.
Yet, once again we read of families and a community who have had a loved one torn from them in seconds by gun violence. Too many times have we heard and said our condolences, our heartfelt feelings of compassion, thoughts and prayers. However, can you even imagine the pain of this loss?
Tragically, there are now far too many families and communities who have known such grief. Here in our own community of we have felt the sudden shock that we should never forget, Goleta, Isla Vista, the Han Family and we haven’t had time to breathe from the losses in Las Vegas.
The headlines read, “The Latest Mass US Shooting,” as if this was a common occurrence yet that is the tragic truth. The “why” of such horror comes from the barrel of a gun wielded by hatred and anger, leaving behind countless years of emptiness and tears. Families and communities go forward forever dragging the chains of bereavement.
Leaders talk of coming together, of strength and moving on with prayers and hope. Imagine if you lost a precious loved one or even someone you knew as a neighbor, business partner or friend. There is no one and nothing that can fill the space of that loss.
Today in Sutherland Springs, Texas a small community discovered that “WE ARE ALL TOUCHED BY GUN VIOLENCE.” Every family across the nation who has lost loved ones to gun violence is re-living the shock and horror of their own loss. Far too many to enumerate, know that every time there is a shooting they will feel that nightmare once again.
In today’s Los Angeles Times, a small article written prior to the massacre in Texas, “Rate of U.S. Gun Violence Rises Again,” stated, “there were more than 38,000 gun deaths last year, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). That’s up from about 36,000 in 2015 and about 33,500 each year from 2011 to 2014.
Tragically, this unspeakable horror was preventable. The U.S. Air Force admitted on Nov. 6, 2017, that it had failed to enter the shooter’s domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used to kill 26 people. Healthcare workers know that unlike mental illness, domestic violence is a good predictor for violence.
People are distressed wondering what can be done about this carnage befalling our communities. Know that in some way, “WE ARE ALL TOUCHED BY GUN VIOLENCE.” Seriously consider what you could do to help prevent gun violence. Contact the Coalition Against Gun Violence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Toni Wellen, CAGV Chair & Co-Founder