Weapons of mass destruction: Ban them now and forever

Candlelight vigil after a 2013 mass shooting; photo by Elvert Barnes Protest Photograph
Candlelight vigil after a 2013 mass shooting; photo by Elvert Barnes Protest Photograph

I’m so angry I am speechless. I am outraged! I am in shock! I am sickened! I’m weeping! This is not my America! This is not the kind of life I envisioned for my retirement! How can this be? Why aren’t more people marching in protest? How can at least 50 innocent, unsuspecting lives enjoying a dance club at 2 a.m. be blown into eternity in just a few minutes time by a troubled single individual human? Bam-bam-bam-bam-bam! And how can another 50-plus humans be deliberately mowed down and horrendously injured in body and spirit forever by a troubled single human with big, bad guns? Bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam!

No! No more! Enough is enough! How long must we cry and mourn and promise we will make changes, and then resume our lives? How many “mass shootings” must we endure? How can our leaders look at themselves in the mirror? How can we? Why haven’t we managed to change the important things we must change to stop this insanity? When will we ever learn?

Ban! Ban! Ban! Immediately and permanently . . . in these United States of America, ban the manufacture, advertising, importation, exportation, sale, purchase, possession and/or use of “military style assault weapons” which are, simply, nothing less than weapons of mass destruction. Keep your handguns, sport rifles, knives, bows and arrows, etc., for your personal use in sport hunting, hunting for food or target practice for sport, if you must.

If you feel you may need to defend you or yours on your own property with lethal force, get a legal permit for that handgun, rifle or whatever single-shot lethal weapon you might choose for that restricted purpose. I believe our Constitution allows you to protect yourself, your family, your home and your property. I don’t believe the founding fathers ever envisioned, nor would they condone, anyone carrying, in public, the multi-mag repeating semi-automatic military-style assault weapons of mass destruction that overpowered any possibility of escape, self-defense or heroism last Sunday morning in Orlando, with 50 dead and as many injured grievously.

Our inept and dysfunctional U.S. Senate and House, our Congress, those we have elected to do our bidding, must immediately stop pretending to “legislate” anything other than an immediate, permanent, national federal ban on these weapons of mass destruction currently available to sell or purchase in this country. Forget transportation issues. Forget Wall Street. Forget health-care issues. Forget Trump vs. Hillary/Bernie. Forget anything but this abhorrent snuffing out of innocent lives. No one deserves to die like this in America.

We are not in a war zone. This is America. We must protect our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren from learning that in America, if you disagree with someone, you can just get a gun and waste them. Our kids watch TV with us, and absorb our horror and shock and anger and outrage, and our feelings of frustration that there’s nothing we can do to stop this. Is this the traumatic childhood we in this country want to leave for our kids? Is this the best we can do? Is there nothing we can do?

There is something we can do. Use the system we have. Call, write or visit your local politicians. Call, write or visit your local newspaper office. My local newspaper office staff said no one but me had come in Monday to talk about Orlando. I was astonished! Call, write or visit your state representatives in your state houses. If you are outraged, or sad, or confused, tell your U.S. senators and representatives how you feel. Write or call the White House. Tell them all you don’t want this to keep happening. Tell them enough of these horrific events. Demand they have the courage to stand up and fight for responsible gun law changes — to stand up for you! For the love of God. For the love of our children. For the love of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For love. To actively do nothing is a decision. Decide if this is what you want to live with in our country. Pray for the dead, and for the survivors, and for their families and friends. May God heal and enlighten all of us in America, and give us the courage to stand up for our convictions and to keep teaching empathy, compassion and love for one another.

Just Sunday afternoon, around 50 concerned citizens like you met for the final conversation about what the Pope has written about our environment, our care for the poor and the quality of life we now lead. I happen to be a U.U. — a Unitarian Universalist. Not a Catholic. I love every thought this Pope has written in his Encyclical. He knows poverty. He speaks for our Mother Earth.

Many of us in attendance at the Washington fire hall last Sunday afternoon have come up with goals to act on, based on all the previous monthly conversations. I invite you to come to the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge and learn what else you can do to make this world a fairer, more loving and caring place. We meet Sundays at 10:30 at Hearthstone School in Sperryville. We will welcome you warmly and unconditionally, no matter who you are or what your faith history, no matter whom you love. Come casually dressed. Come as you are. Let’s talk.

Ellie Clark

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