Sunday mornings should be peaceful. Calm. Quiet. This past Sunday was the opposite, and as I watch the news reports rolling in, I want to weep and shout my anger in equal measure.

You already know what happened. Two gunmen in two different places walked into public areas and opened fire, murdering as many people as they could before being apprehended by police.

By most standards, the police moved swiftly. In El Paso and in Dayton, they cut short what would undoubtedly have been a much larger massacre without their intervention. The work they did was, relatively speaking, successful.

But this isn’t about the police.

One of the gunmen posted a blatantly racist screed on social media. The media is blaming his violence on a racist viewpoint. The other shooter’s violence is being attributed to possible mental illness. In both cases, the weapon of choice was at least semi-automatic, allowing more bullets and faster firing than a standard rifle or handgun. Such guns are not meant for hunting, or even target practice, though they can admittedly be used for both. Their main function is far uglier. They are human killers, plain and simple.

Regardless of the cause, these types of shootings are on the rise. From California to Florida, we are seeing mass shootings on an unprecedented scale. People are dying in terrorist incidents perpetrated by our own against our own.

Never in civilian history have so many died so pointlessly, and yet nothing is being done to prevent future incidents like those that occurred in Texas and Ohio this past weekend.

Calls for universal background checks, red flag laws and bans on certain weapons rise into the stratosphere after every one of these massacres. This time is no different, and as usual, none of them have been put into effect. The most recent gun legislation bills (HR8 and HR1112) passed the House in February, but both are stalled in the Senate and unlikely to pass. The bills extend the requirement for background checks and the time allowed to complete those checks.

How many must die before we demand action?

And while the Senate stalls, hemming and hawing with the NRA whispering in their ear and plying their pocketbooks, our people die. Our mothers, fathers, siblings, and spouses, die. Our children die.

What will it take before we demand action?

The Current Situation

I’m a mess. I am sad and horrified and scared and ANGRY. I watch the posts flooding social media and my hands clench. I hear the politicians mouthing platitudes and my teeth grind.

I watch the NRA pour money into political pockets and I want to scream, “Enough! When are our children going to be more important than your agenda?”

I want to fight. But I don’t have a fighter’s physique or mindset. Nowhere in me is the desire to hurt anyone. All I have are my words.

My fighting words.

Here they are.

Violence in schools has to stop. We have a responsibility to our society to make it stop.

Saying that a person should be required to have an appropriate level of training, maturity and mental stability before they are allowed to own a gun is not a strike against the second amendment. It is a reasonable precaution against tragedy.

The solution will not be a single mandate or one-size-fits-all action. It must be a nuanced, carefully thought out collection of positive actions.

Screaming “my side is right and your side is stupid,” helps no one, fixes nothing and makes you sound like an idiot. Stop it.

We have to have a license to drive, to pilot an airplane, both potentially hazardous endeavors that people do every day quite safely. We must be a certain age to drink, to drive, to vote. Why is owning and operating a gun (the purpose of which is to kill, whether the target is game or assailants) any different? And do not trot out the target shooting excuse. Yes, some folks use their guns exclusively for that, but it isn’t the original purpose of owning a weapon. Target practice is the responsible gun owner’s way of ensuring that they can hit what they are shooting at, rather than spraying bullets and praying“.

The sole purpose of AR capability is to kill more targets, faster. No homeowner or hunter “needs” an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. The purpose of civilian gun ownership is to defend a person’s home or put food on the table. The responsible civilian gun owner doesn’t need an AR anything for that.

There are those who would like to see the second amendment repealed. This is true. Stop trying to deny it.

There are those who would like a return to the wild west where guns were ubiquitous. This is also true. Stop trying to deny it.

Americans are guaranteed the right to bear arms by the U.S. Constitution. Deal with it.

Americans are guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rampant, uncontrolled gun usage is a threat to that right. Deal with it.

Thoughts and prayers have been offered by politicians after every mass shooting to no avail. The divine is tired of us having the tools to affect change and doing nothing but sit with our hands folded, thinking or praying about it.  The solution may start with thinking and praying but it cannot, for the sake of all that is holy, end there.

In the end, we gain nothing be entrenching our positions, plugging our ears and yelling imprecations at the other side.

America is great because her people govern together. We haven’t done a great job of that lately. We need to start, and we need to demand that our governing bodies put the needs of their people before the needs of their wallets.

Our kids – the same ones who have been called immature, lazy, apathetic, clueless and worse – are standing up. They are leading, and we adults should be ashamed if we aren’t standing on the front lines with them, demanding change. We have the vote, most of them don’t. We need to lead from the front until they can catch up.

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