Our Children Will Never Forgive Us8/8/23
“We the people” Those people getting shot in schools, grocery stores, in churches, at parades – they are us.
Our children have been killed by someone with a semi-automatic weapon, our children have learned that active shooter drills are a part of school life, our children have learned that they or a classmate might not return from school because someone shot them. They will not forgive us- we are the adults who are charged with the duty to keep them safe. Guns and the possible use of a gun to inflict death has invaded our schools. It has invaded our churches, our shopping malls, our synagogues, our mosques, our stores, our newspaper offices, our parades and virtually all of our life. We, the people of the United States, have allowed this to happen. Our children will never forgive us.
There have been so many tragedies in recent history it is difficult to name and remember them all. But I think the school shootings and killings always seem to head the list: Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the Covenant School in Nashville, are all schools we have come to know about because children were killed by a person with a semi automatic weapon. This list is incomplete, next week and the week after more may appear on the list. Since 2020 guns are the leading cause of death for US children and teens. We the adults, have allowed this to continue. What can we do to save ourselves and some of our children?
I think we all know the basic answers. We need strong and clear background checks, we must eliminate assault style semi-automatic weapons intended for warfare and high capacity magazines, as Congress did in 1994, but which Congress allowed to expire in 2004. We must have universal red flag laws to enable authorities to keep guns away from those unfit mentally and those who threaten to use the weapons to kill people. We must control the manufacture, sale and distribution of guns, as do most other civilized nations. I think these are the right things to do, but I also think the vast majority of citizens in the United States agree with me. The folks that support the gun lobby say that responsible gun owners want restrictions. Well now is the time for those voices to be heard. We must find a way to stop tolerating the slaughter of our children in schools. Those in the gun lobby hide behind a cloak of blaming these incidents on mental illness. It is the unrestricted sale and distribution of guns that allows these school shootings to happen.
We have ceded the control of this difficult situation to a radical element in our country that will not listen to any reasonable solutions. There are apparently no
limitations on the sale, distribution, possession or licensing of guns that are acceptable to the National Rifle Association and their supporters and other such groups. We, the citizens of the United States, must change this. There are many citizens who agree with me and apparently, also a large group of responsible gun owners who also agree with me. The opinion polls say that. I appeal to them to help find acceptable solutions to this dire problem. Find a way to stop the sale and distribution of assault style weapons and high capacity magazines, find a way to create strong and enforceable background checks, find a way to have strong red flag laws that can be used to stop people with stated desires to kill their fellow citizens and who may also be mentally ill.
Please think hard and long about this issue and urge our lawmakers to act, our children are depending on it. They have a right to expect us to try to protect them---they will never forgive us if we don’t.
Larry Pifer lives in Tilghman is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum