I woke up this morning and shuffled out to my kitchen to get my ritual cup of extra strong, dark roast coffee. Once I sat down in my spot on the couch where my computer rests on the table in front of me and my TV is across the room, I picked up the TV remote and clicked on the squawk box. I was immediately visually assaulted with the headlines “Breaking News” and yet another report of a mass murder in America, this time in Thousand Oaks California a suburb of Los Angeles. My heart sank. My stomach turned as I listened to the horrific report.
This is the 307th mass killing (4 or more people) in America this year alone, 328 people have lost their lives as a result and 1, 251 have been wounded. Astonishing numbers. Sad numbers. Repulsive numbers. And somewhat preventable numbers.
I completely support the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, we have the right to bear arms, I get it and I support that right wholely. I also think it’s high time for us to come up with some common sense gun legislation to start protecting the innocent. If you are a legal, conscientious gun owner you should not object to following some basic, protective rules. Only the criminally minded will object, them and the paranoid among us. We must do something to curb the madness.
There are always going to be the people who say that guns don’t kill, people, do. Or that it’s a mental health issue. Or that no matter what criminals will find a way to get a gun if they want one. Yes, there will always be the nay-sayers and the skeptics. That doesn’t negate the fact that 67% of Americans believe that it is high time for some more restrictive gun control laws.
Basic things like background checks, age restrictions, restrictions on criminals and the mentally incompetent, banning high-capacity magazines while also banning bump stocks and out of the ordinary modifications to any type of gun, would be a start. I personally do not see why anyone would be against any of those things. It’s all common sense and each of those things will add a little bit more awareness and protection in some way.
I am in high hopes that the new Congress will move to take up gun control legislation at the beginning of 2019 when they convene. You can bet your ass that I will be writing to my representatives urging them to do just that and I urge each of you to take an hour and do the same. You can easily Google to see the names and addresses of those who represent you; stay on them and write to them often about issues that concern you and your family, community and the world. It will be through constant communication with these representatives that we will be able to elicit changes in this and other critical issues across the board.
Tonight there are 12 families grieving after the cold-blooded murder of their innocent, young loved ones. These young people went to the Borderline Bar to enjoy Country College Night, where those under 21 are allowed entry to dance and party – sans alcohol – in what’s supposed to be a safe atmosphere. Some were security guards and employees, who were killed as well. Eleven others were wounded and fortunately, they have all now been treated and released – except for one. He was the officer that died.
There are the parents of the killer. I feel bad for them, they are not to blame for the actions of their son, who they also lost as he took his own life after curtailing 12 other young, vibrant lives in a span of 3 minutes. Tonight I am sure they are bewildered, ashamed and also grieving for their own loss as well as for the damage their son caused so many others.
Deputy Sheriff Ron Helus, the officer who ran into the Borderline Bar and was shot multiple times before succumbing to his wounds, died a hero today. I’m sure that is no consolation to his wife and young child, who I am sure are suffering unimaginable pain and grief. He was 54 and only a year from retirement; he had served 29 years with the department and was highly respected and much loved. I watched as they took his body, with a large law enforcement contingent escorting the hearse, from the hospital to the coroner’s office. It was so very sad, yet chilling thing to witness. Too many times this has been the case. Too many times.
Perhaps I am being overly dramatic. I feel like these kinds of incidents have become routine; part of our daily lives, unfortunately. I don’t want to see America become numbed to this kind of horrible violence and death. Instead, we need to band together, get angry, support the victims and their families and push for stricter gun laws across the country. Our federal government chooses to turn a blind eye (probably due to their dependence on NRA money and support) and ignore our cries for help. And our “president” could care less, he’s too absorbed in his own ego to have empathy for any other human being. No, if anything is going to change; if we are going to have more common sense legislation regulating gun sales and ownership, it’s going to have to come from the people of America. We have to learn to talk to each other civilly and with respect; to hear all arguments and measure the effectiveness of making good, solid laws.
It feels crazily unsafe to go anywhere nowadays. We’ve seen time and time again mass murderers attacking malls, movie theaters, churches, parks, ball fields, schools, supermarkets, yoga studios, and even driving on the highways. It’s insane. We cannot have armed guards at all of these places, it would just be ridiculous and is not feasible. What we can do is be very aware. Be aware of those around you, of their mindsets, of their moods and if you get any sort of strange feeling do something! Call someone, send up a warning flag of sorts. And when in public places always be very aware. So many of us spend our time with our heads down looking at our phones and not enough time to watch what’s going on around us until it’s too late. Public awareness can save lives – perhaps your own.
In closing, I want to say that my heart goes out to all of those affected by today’s killings. Everyone should hug your loved ones extra long tonight and be glad you have them with you. Call your mothers and fathers; reach out to your siblings. Just spread some love and concern to those you care so much for in this world. And know that you are loved.
Peace and Kindness. ~ MB