by CCDC Chairwoman Charlotte Valyo
My birthday is December 14th, a day I have not been able to fully celebrate since 2012, when 20 children and six adults were brutally murdered in the Sandy Hook Massacre. At the time it seemed that this horrific event had to break the dam of inaction in Congress. How could any human being watch that tragedy, see those families be torn apart, hear the unimaginable, soul-crushing grief of those parents, and still do NOTHING to address the gun violence crisis in our nation?
But now, nearly a decade later, we mourn another tragedy that could have been prevented, another mass murder that will leave more than a dozen empty seats at dinner tables, and another community facing a sense of pain and darkness that no one should ever be forced to confront.
And yet despite these children being gunned down in their final days of school, despite a spray of bullets ripping through a church in California, and despite grocery store patrons being murdered in cold blood by an evil racist in Buffalo, I fear I will once again reach my birthday on December 14th, plagued by the same inaction that has haunted our nation for more than a decade.
As news of the Texas school shooting broke, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Sandy Hook and has led the battle for sensible gun control in our country, took to the floor in an emotional plea to his colleagues to do something. He literally begged Republicans to come and talk to him, to take action on something–anything–to break this cycle that only exists in our country. Meanwhile. Senator Ted Cruz, who represents the students who were just murdered, was preparing to be the key note speaker for the National Rifle Association convention this week.
And while I am certain that Senator Cruz and his puppeteers at the NRA will claim that the answer to this crisis is more guns, this latest shooting happened in Texas, home to some of the loosest gun laws in the country, the most registered guns in the country, and one of the highest rates of guns per capita in the country. Clearly, the answer is not “more guns.”
Our nation has been forced to confront gun violence time and time again in the decade since Sandy Hook and the words to express our outrage and heartbreak are becoming more and more difficult to find. Thoughts and prayers haven’t been enough for some time. There aren’t enough thoughts and prayers in the world to fill the holes left in the families in Texas or Buffalo or Parkland or Sandy Hook. This is the great moral challenge of our time and we need to stand up and take action, some action, any action, and we need to do it now.