I wrote to President Obama, in 2012, when the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown CT was fresh in the news. My outrage and suggestions were all about gun control laws then. Second Amendment stuff. How can we allow these obstructionist lawmakers to continue? Stuff.
I didn’t write again though. Not when shootings kept coming. Not after the 2017 Las Vegas atrocity occurred, or even earlier this week– when ten black Buffalo NY residents were mown down just grocery shopping. That’s my home state.
Another 12,500 innocents have died due to gun violence in the US since 2012. In other words, I’m not patting myself on the back for allyship today.
However, this morning an idea did come to me. It required writing again, after I couldn’t let myself move onto my own work. I had to get something off my chest and prepose the unlikely, perhaps even the preposterous.
The only hard-stop for this domestic terrorism trajectory is an impenetrable wall. A wall, a wave, a rising movement of collective recognition that we have been abused and we choose to stop the abuser. We will not be gaslit into oblivion. We refuse to remain silent.
Power and greed and violence have braided their threads into the worn denim of a functionally two-tiered American justice system and the socially-toxic platforms of alt-right supremacy and exceptionalism groups. We must pick them apart.
It’s more than just the shooters who are unable to see fellow citizens as equals. It’s now a bloodstain that implicates us all. People from around the globe call for action. Think about that.
Here in the UK where I live now, the 1996 tragedy of Dunblane took lawmakers and public safety in hand immediately and an Act to stop gun violence was enacted with little protest or fanfare. This is because there is no right for bearing arms in a well-formed militia in the UK.
Eminent American historian Heather Cox Richardson writes clearly on the emergence of the mind-virus that took over first the National Rifle Association (NRA) and then the general Movement Conservative voters via ex-Hollywood B-star Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Here is her cogent analysis of the timeline we currently live in. See:
Please, I’m not here to be a standard bearer, but rather to recognise a deeply crippling belief system and mourn it and its victims.
Rep Ocasio-Cortez calls it a ‘gun ideology’. Sen. Chris Murphy pleads on the Senate floor: ‘What are we doing?’
There are concrete things that could be done and could lead to changes of heart and mind. Here’s my suggestion, if you like it, pass it along:
Dear Mr President,
I’m a US citizen living abroad and I write today because I believe in you and your invested power to provide guidance and leadership to the American people everywhere.
I voted for you in the last presidential election. I voted for Barack. Twice. And of course, I voted for Hillary. She would have stopped this carnage, as you call it.
You know she would have.
You can too. By executive order.
But if you are unable or unwilling to, I have another idea:
Create a National Holiday by executive order in the memory of all who have fallen by the hands and weapons of domestic terrorism. You’ve been calling it out lately. That’s great. Go further.
Call it: Remembering Our Innocents Day. Tell the nation this is now necessary because we are all too numb to it and prone to forget how many have died at the hands of our fellow citizens who are engaged in hate and intolerance of our multi-varied heritage, faiths, strengths and colors.
We cannot go on with the days of the calendar unspooling into one violent atrocity after another. This must be fixed.
One way to change it is to mark our departed – the innocent kids, good citizens and heroes. The survivors need this. The school staff, police, first responders and hospitals need this. Affected communities need this. We all do. Honoring the memory of the fallen as our collective lost potential and lost progress is necessary. You know this. We need to move on with our futures in courage.
You are an exemplar of what can be achieved in the memory and honoring of loss. I can’t think of a better person to codify this conversation into the national calendar and collective profile than yourself.
Please consider taking this action immediately, in order to forever draw a line protecting our unique American character. Help separate what is compassionate and right from what is twisted and corrupt in our communities, body politic and our souls. Create a National Day of Mourning for our Innocents.