Okay, so I try not to do the political thing on the internet, but I’m giving you fair warning that I’m about to do it, hardcore.
The San Bernardino shooting yesterday affected my family. The Inland Valley Regional Center is 8 miles from my house. It is 4 miles from my mother-in-law’s work. She was on lockdown all of yesterday at the San Bernardino Airport, and it turns out that she knew some of the victims because she worked for San Bernardino County for 10+ years. The perpetrators holed up in a condo 2 miles from my house, drove down the freeway both Brian and I use to commute home, and then were shot in their black SUV 5 miles from my house. With 14 people dead and another 17 injured, this is one of the worst mass-shootings in recent years. Or should I say months? Because they’re happening a lot now.
Brian and I played it safe. We both came to Claremont instead of going home, and only left when we knew things were okay in Redlands. Our neighborhood, while geographically close, is a downtown area and a freeway away from the condo complex. It was quiet, and everything was normal.
But, I mean, really? I was DONE with these shootings after the last one, and now I’m not only DONE, I’m angry. And still no action has been taken.
Nicole Silverberg has put together a handy guide for contacting your congressman. It’s here. One of the things she provides is a form letter for you to use if you feel like you don’t want to write your own letter from scratch. I hope she’ll be okay with me reposting it below. In addition to greater background checks, Mark Kelly (husband of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – shot in the head in 2011) says that creating stronger laws against gun trafficking, strengthening the criminal background check system, and funding research about the causes and impacts of gun deaths can be helpful in preventing these sorts of things. He has research and statistics to back it all up, too. Here.
It should not be harder to legally drive a car than it is to get a gun. Were the two shooters in San Bernardino undoubtedly mentally ill? Yes. But there is not “nothing we can do about it.” In case you need more evidence of that, here’s a handy chart showing that America is the only Western nation dealing with a problem on this scale. There is a solution, and others are implementing it.
I’ll be contacting my various congressfolk today. I hope you’ll join me.
I am writing to urge you to support expanded background checks to reduce gun violence in the United States. I am begging you to vote to close the deadly loopholes in our laws that make it too easy for dangerous people to get guns.
Background checks are supported by over 90% of all Americans and are a commonsense tool for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Background checks on gun sales are the most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and help save lives.
It’s time to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Thank you for doing what is right for the people of [your state] and the United States.