Last night close to midnight I finished reading Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love, and Resilience by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly. This hope filled book was also a reminder of violent acts against humanity often committed by individuals who don't have hope themselves or who carry so much anger they feel it's necessary to take lives or harm innocent people, including children. You might recall Gabby's story in the news a few years back. As a young Arizona congresswoman at a congresswoman on your corner event in Tuscon, she was shot in the head, and others around her were killed or injured. One of those killed was a 9 year old girl with a curiosity and passion for learning about democracy and government. While reading about the congresswoman's resiliency and survival was difficult and hopeful, reading about the death of Christina Taylor Green was terribly sad. I found myself asking when these crazy acts of violence will end. It happens all too often.
This morning in Troutdale, Oregon there was another senseless act of gun violence in one of our country's public schools, and last week there was a shooting at Seattle Pacific University. My mind is peppered with so many questions--
Why do we need guns anyway? Ah-I know the reasons many will give, and I suppose if you can be responsible with your weapon, then fine for you, but I'm a no gun kind of woman. In fact, it took a good friend telling me I was too extreme (and it could backfire) before I let my young sons even play with plastic orange toy Nerf guns.
Why do teens have access to guns? Why don't we have stricter gun laws? Why aren't we creating better health systems to help the mentally ill? Why are children being murdered? How can we feel safe in the schools and universities where we teach and send our children to school? How can we stop the violence? How can we promote more peace and love?
I'm sad tonight as I think about the family who sent their fourteen year old son to school this morning, a place that should have been safe, yet tonight their son is dead at the hands of a murderer with a gun. I'm sad when I think about the teacher who was injured by a gun while at work in a school today. I am sad to think this could happen again tomorrow or the next day or the next school year at schools across our country.
Tonight I will hug my sons tighter as I wish them a good night of sleep, and I will feel grateful for life, love, and hope.