I had planned to use my first blog entry to explain the various reasons why I decided to enter the race for State Representative and serve the citizens of District 59 and why I hope to be worthy of your support.
And then, a few days ago, we had yet another school shooting, this time in a high school in Parkland, Florida. This mass shooting is the latest in what seems to be an endless stream of mass shootings here in the United States. The fact that it took place in a school, a place where our children go to learn and should feel safe, makes it even more heartbreaking. I cannot begin to imagine how these parents and families who lost their loved ones must feel. Each and every time one of these shootings occur, we find ourselves asking, what can we do?
What can one person do? I have reposted statistics, charts, memes, videos, etc. regarding gun violence on FB and Twitter. I have joined/donated to the various groups such as Moms Demand Action and Anytown USA who have long advocated for sensible and effective gun regulation. We can protest in the streets, we can organize and participate in rallies, we can write letters to the editor, we can vent to friends and family.
But the one thing that very definitely needs to be done is one that I have not done nearly enough: contacting my national, state and local legislators to let them know how incredibly wrong it is that these shootings are happening again and again. I can ask why regulations currently in place are not being enforced and ask for an explanation as to why important regulations previously in place are being rolled back. I can let them know that I am disgusted by the amount of money some politicians are receiving from the NRA; so much money that they have no problem turning a blind eye and not addressing what to do about gun violence. And let me add here: I am not advocating taking all guns away. I do understand that we have the 2nd Amendment in place and I myself grew up in a household with a father who hunted and enjoyed going out target shooting with him in the deserts of Arizona. But even proponents of the 2nd Amendment, those who use guns for hunting and target shooting and those who may own a gun for personal protection must agree that this issue needs to be addressed.
We can protest, we can support groups who call for sensible gun regulations, and we can call and write our legislators. Most importantly, however, we can vote. When we enter that ballot box, it is there where we have the real power to say enough is enough.