Early on Sunday morning, a young man walked into a Waffle House in Nashville, TN armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and began shooting killing four people and wounding four others. When he paused to reload, his gun was wrestled from him and he fled. My online news feed is filled with comments about the silence of elected officials in the wake of this shooting. No thoughts and prayers. No reaction about another white terrorist or why so many young, white males commit acts like this. No comment that the shooter was white and the victims were black. I know with certainty that if the shooter was black or Muslim or an immigrant and the victims were white the reaction would be far different.
But the silence I am most concerned about is not theirs, but ours.
According to Gun Violence Archive, for the week ending April 23, 717 people were killed or injured by guns. That is more than 100 people/day! The year to date number through April 23 is 12,065. 12,065! That is roughly the population of the suburban community in which I live. But unless the shootings occur at some place like a school, the devastating effect of gun violence barely registers with us. It is so common it just is. An everyday occurance 100 times each day.
I don’t know what a workable solution is.
But I know my/our silence adds to our inability or unwillingness to find one. Only when enough of us – both those of us who do not own guns and those who do and who use and care for their guns responsibility – begin to speak up and to say “Enough” will we begin to find a way to lower that number. And that number is, after all, people like you and me.
People with families.
People who will not celebrate their next birthday.
People who will not have another dinner with their loved ones.
Are we really okay with 700 of our neighbors being killed or injured each week by guns?