We, the People, Are Responsible for Ending Gun Violence
In Schools, Churches, Grocery Stores, and Neighborhood Drive-by Shootings
I’ve not written a great deal lately. The muse, which has spoken to me occasionally, hasn’t whispered in my ears or shaken my dungeon and set the spirit free to express what has been bottled up inside me for months, albeit years.
Columbine shocked the nation to its core. The unthinkable had happened to children in such a massive way in their secure space. Aurora left us numbed, Trayvon Martin stunned us, and Mother Emanuel momentarily sucked the hope out of our collective beings.
The cry for help is always the same: “We need sensible local, state, and federal gun control legislation.”
The answer to this posit is nonsensical: “The Second Amendment gives me the right to gun ownership. What we need to do is legislate mental help.” You can insert the name of any conservative here.
Nothing gets done. Each time we end up with no sensible regulation of weapons of war in the hands of private American citizens nor an influx of federal or state dollars into mental health. And the rapid automatic clip of an AK-15 (otherwise known as Avtomat Kalashnikova), Russian for automatic Kalashnikova, so named after its Russian designer, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov) goes “skrrrahh, pap, pap, ka-ka-ka Skidiki-pap-pap, and a pu-pu-pudrrrr-boom Skya, du-du-ku-ku-dun-dun Poom, poom.” Leaving more innocent Americans who left the safety of their homes for the haven of school dead, never to return home to loved ones again.
Could it be we are approaching the gun violence problem wrong?
In the past, we directed the public outcry at elected officials, many of whom control the power levels in the statehouses and congress but are beholden to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Even if they want to do something, they can’t because they depend on financial contributions to their political campaign war chests to remain in office.
The time has come for us, the people, to stop passing the buck to lawmakers unwilling to resolve the problem of gun violence.
The answer, my fellow citizens, lies in our hands. The American people must accept the responsibility to stop mass shootings. We must accept the responsibility that every child’s blood that has been and likely will be prey to senseless gun violence in school is in our collective hands.
One thing Nashville taught us, an American citizen armed with a version of Kalashnikova’s war machine can shoot their way into a locked school building. The only sure way to prevent the subsequent slaughter at school is to restrict weapons of war from the hands of private citizens.
Suppose elected officials will not be responsible for stopping mass killings in schools, movie theaters, places of worship, parks, and children sleeping in their beds. In that case, the electorate must replace local, state, and federal elected officials who are not committed to sensible gun control legislation. The new litmus test for elected officials becomes where they stand on senseless gun violence. They may be right on all other issues that you support, but if they are pro-guns at all costs, necessity dictates chasing them out of office by all available means.
So while we hope and we pray, we must resolve to vote legislators out of office who refuse to address this rampant gun violence. Immediately recall them if you can; wait until they are up for re-election if you must.
The child’s life you save may be your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew. It could even be your own life.
Harold Michael Harvey is the Living Now 2020 Bronze Medal winner for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is the author of a book on Negro Leagues Baseball, The Duke of 18th & Vine: Bob Kendrick Pitches Negro Leagues Baseball. He writes feature stories for Black College Nines. Com. Harvey is a member of the Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, HBCU and PRO Sports Media Association, and the Legends Committee for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Harvey is an engaging speaker. Contact Harvey at email@example.com.