02 October 2015

A Million in Washington for Sane Gun Laws

This is my late grandfather, Norman.  I never met him.  He was killed in 1939 in a workplace shooting.  A disgruntled and mentally ill man with a gun shot him before turning his gun on himself.

I've told you about this before.  But like traumas both experienced and inherited, one lives it and shares it, in ever renewable ways, when the wounds are opened against our will.  Like when other mentally ill people take guns into workplaces or schools and slay the innocent.

So here we go again.

I was with President Obama in spirit yesterday as I watched his press conference.  His disgust and remorse and seething anger.  I couldn't have been the only person watching and thinking about his Anger Translator, Luther.  He could have used an Exasperation Translator, too.

Because like many of us, we're exasperated, disgusted, and, as Bryan Stevenson teaches us in the context of the broader struggle for justice and equality in America, we are "tired, tired, tired," which of course is the kind of exhaustion that gives us pause, then more energy to fight the fight.

But we are nowhere near the end of this struggle.

So it's time to kick it up a notch; raise our game.

We need a million people in Washington, DC to send a message to the world that a majority of Americans have had enough of the cowardice in Congress; have had enough of the immoral hold that the N.R.A. and gun manufacturers have on our elected representatives; have had enough of the ludicrous misreadings of the United States Constitution that insists, erroneously, that a "well-regulated militia" includes allowing mentally ill people to buy weapons and use them on their own delusional, murderous rampages.

When we had finally had enough of slavery, we had a war.  When we had enough of racism and the abuse of civil rights, we put our bodies on the line and changed the law of the land.  The 1963 March on Washington, the year I was born, has long been seen as a critical turning point in the fight for the passage of meaningful legislation.  In 1987, I rode in a car from Madison to DC on the eve of Mikhail Gorbachev's summit with Ronald Reagan and joined 250,000 Jews in calling for the freedom of Soviet Jewry.

These powerful displays of solidarity do have an effect.

There is enough wealth to build a movement.  There are enough people to fill the Washington Mall.

We can either sleep through this moment in history or we can wake up and save future lives.

A Million for Sane Gun Laws.  Let's go.

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