Posted on September 13, 2022
Mass Shootings Can Be Stopped Only if We Work Together
Think of someone you love. Picture them now. Your child, grandchild, mom, dad, partner, spouse, sibling, or best friend. Where do they attend school, work, or church? What is their name? What was the last thing you said to them? Are there any family traditions, vacations, or life milestones that make you smile?
Now imagine you’re at work and a breaking news alert lights up your phone: a shooting at a shopping center close to where they live. It feels surreal to see a place you know written there in black and white. The word “shooting” makes you feel numb.
You reach out. One text, then another, no response. You call, no answer.
Another breaking news alert: multiple deaths and injuries. In a panic you rush to the scene, then the hospital. You’re met with chaos. You notice a jacket you bought them for their birthday lying in a corner of the ER. It’s bloodied and cut in half. You catch the eye of a nurse and finally learn that your loved one sustained six gunshot wounds to the chest and one to the head while trying to shield others. They are gone. The doctor is speaking, but you can’t hear anything. You think of how you just saw them that morning, you didn’t get to say goodbye. Nothing seems to matter, not the trivial arguments or the canceled plans. Certainly not politics.
There are nearly a hundred families who live this gut-wrenching reality every day. Maybe you’re one of them. No person should live this nightmare. In order for this country to function, we need to balance responsibility with freedom. This is what reasonable gun owners believe too.
March For Our Lives (MFOL) was founded in 2018 after the shooting in Parkland, FL. In the weeks following the tragedy, students organized one of the largest protests in our nation’s history. Millions marched in Washington, DC, and in 800+ sibling marches around the world. March For Our Lives evolved from a moment into a movement: with 200+ local chapters across the country today, we are in our fifth year more dedicated and poised than ever to empower the next generation to eradicate gun violence in all forms. MFOL works to advance lifesaving legislation and community-based solutions to address America’s gun violence epidemic at the federal, state, and local levels.
Since we marched most recently on June 11th, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law, becoming the first piece of gun violence prevention legislation passed in about 30 years. This included $250 million in funding for community violence intervention programs, enhanced background checks for ages 18 to 21, and investment in child and family mental health care. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a start.
In the meantime, the gun violence epidemic has only metastasized. Today, guns are the leading cause of death. As of September 12th, there have been over 479 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
As this public health crisis continues, Americans are finally finding common ground. Gun owners, even former gun industry executives, are demanding action because tragedies like Uvalde do not reflect their values. If we can agree that killing children is unacceptable, then we need to either prevent people intent on killing from getting their hands on the guns they use or stop their intent to kill in the first place.
Shooters are often radicalized and moved to kill because of racism and hatred, just like in Buffalo. That isn’t a mental illness. A long process occurred that led him to a desire to pick up a gun and kill. That’s the case for all kinds of gun violence in this country. No law is perfect, but if we focus on stopping the process of radicalization to violence, we can reduce gun deaths by half over the next decade. And we need to act now.
To every person reading this: I ask you to take action in whatever capacity you can. Have conversations about gun violence prevention with your family and friends. If you’re able, donate to March For Our Lives so we can continue organizing in our communities, taking on the gun lobby, supporting sensible gun reform policies, and more. Our leaders have failed us, and so we’re left wondering: Who will be next? We can’t afford to wait to find out.
CREDO and its members have been vital supporters of March for Our Lives over the years, empowering young people to fight for a peaceful and just future for all Americans. We’re deeply grateful to the CREDO community for demonstrating a steadfast commitment to ending the epidemic of gun violence. We will not back down until our nation’s gun laws reflect the will of the majority of Americans rather than the deadly agenda of the NRA and gun industry.
To learn more about our work and join us, visit http://marchforourlives.com.