A uniquely American carnage


May 26, 2022

Children in Uvalde, shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, worshippers at an Irvine church. Twenty-seven school shootings and more than 200 mass shootings so far this year. We live in a country where the leading cause of death among children is guns.

This kind of gun violence in America must be stopped. But our leaders are more responsive to the gun lobby than to the grieving families of countless victims. Their inaction to address gun violence is, itself, an action and an act of violence. And the cost of their actions is disproportionately paid by people of color day after day after day.

We are told that the unthinkable damage caused by weapons of war in the aisles of American grocery stores and the classrooms of our schools is the price we must pay for freedom. Instead it’s the cost of political cowardice.

Corporate America must acknowledge its role. Money is the lifeblood of our political system and corporations and their trade associations bankroll the very politicians who offer thoughts and prayers for victims while ignoring the calls of victims' families to take weapons of war off our streets.

It’s time for companies and their trade associations to stop political contributions to elected officials who do the gun lobby's bidding, blocking common sense gun laws that nearly all Americans support.

While we offer our deepest sympathies to all those touched by this unspeakable tragedy, we know thoughts and prayers won’t save lives; political action can and will.

We must resist the urge to think that politics is so broken there is nothing we can do. We must refuse to become numb to this reality and demand our leaders respond to us, the people, rather than the gun lobby. We can take common sense steps that will absolutely save lives. No one thing will stop all gun violence but there are many things we can do to save lives. Here are four easy things you can do:

  1. Contact your congressperson and demand action to stop gun violence. You can start by demanding they immediately pass a ban on assault style military weapons and high capacity magazines. https://takeaction.sandyhookpromise.org/a/2022-buffalo-action
  2. Join the second March for Our Lives mass mobilization in Washington, DC or your local community on June 11th: https://marchforourlives.com/march22/
  3. Get informed. Learn and share which senators received the most money from the gun lobby on social media: https://elections.bradyunited.org/take-action/nra-donations-116th-congress-senators
  4. Use that information to pledge to vote against any elected official who takes money from the gun lobby and blocks common sense gun reform.

There are those who say that in the aftermath of these kinds of tragic events, calls for action to address gun violence “politicize” the issue. However, if our political system is not meant to address just these kinds of issues, then truly what is it for? Congressional leaders who refuse to pass common sense gun reform are choosing their own power at the cost of American lives every single day. This is not simply a matter of long overdue political inaction — it is a choice. That choice is what continues to make this a uniquely American problem, and one we will not resolve until those same leaders are no longer in office.