I started working as an activist to prevent gun violence in December 2012 after the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in which a 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 children and six adult staff. I felt I could no longer sit idly by as this epidemic ravaged my country — especially after my own experience more than a decade earlier. My PTSD-fueled visions were turning into nightmares of guns pointing at my own children’s heads. And that’s when I knew I had to do something.
What makes my job so damn hard — aside from the powerful and greedy gun lobby — is that I’m caught in what seems a never-ending cycle of gun-related violence, and it seems I can’t do it. I am caught in a perpetual state of drop-everything-and-rapidly-respond to another shooting.
As many as 91 percent of Americans support expanded background checks to help keep guns out of dangerous hands. With that kind of majority, our elected officials have a responsibility to actually do something about it — to not only offer prayer as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal did but to pass effective legislation.
But this time, I am not angry. And that scares me. This time I feel helpless and I want to run away. Maybe it’s because I’m hosting a friend from New Zealand where they don’t have the epidemic of gun-related violence like we have here.
It has made me think about moving, about leaving the country.
Imagine what life would be like not having to worry whenever I take my kids to see a movie or send them off to school.
Imagine life without gun violence.