Ten more people.
Ten human beings.
Ten more corpses.
Ten more bereaved families.
When does it end?
When do we as Americans rise up and tell our legislators that we have had enough?
Something was supposed to happen after Sandy Hook, but nothing did. And the members of Congress who did nothing weren’t fired in 2014. We let them get away with it.
Instead, we blame mental illness.
Well, we’re not doing anything about mental illnesses, either.
Here in North Carolina, our legislature just cut another $310 million out of the mental health budget over the next two years.
So, people who need treatment are getting nothing. But they can get guns.
And not just guns that are good for hunting, either; they’re getting assault weapons, weapons that can kill a dozen people in a few seconds.
The meaning of the Second Amendment has been twisted beyond recognition, thanks to the NRA and gun manufacturers and their purchase of our members of Congress, and we have allowed it to happen.
I say that because I’ll bet not 5 percent of constituents have written to their members of Congress to demand something be done. I say this because these accessories to murder keep being returned to office.
If you’re fed up with hearing the lists of the dead, if you’re fed up with footage of funerals and memorials, if you’re fed up with having to teach your children how to try to stay alive during a shooting, stop voting for people with blood on their hands.
Stop voting for candidates who try to place the stigma on people with mental illnesses when the stigma belongs on them — the people who refuse to outlaw assault weapons, the people who refuse to require universal background checks.
The day of the shooting, I was in a store talking to a woman behind the counter, who believed nothing can be done.
“Regulating guns worked in Australia,” I said.
“That’s not the United States,” she replied. “It can’t work here.”
“So, you’re saying we should do nothing?” I asked.
“No, I think we all should arm ourselves.”
I politely disagreed with her and left the store.
I don’t want to live without hope that we can manage to do anything.
Something needs to be done and we have to stop being distracted by talk of mental illness, because that’s not the cause of mass murders.
The cause of shooting sprees is guns. It is the nearly unfettered access to guns, all kinds of guns — handguns, shotguns, semi-automatic guns — by anyone who wants them. It is the expansion of open-carry rights to the point that we can’t even feel safe in restaurants, stores and parks in our own communities.
Legislators are in the pockets of gun lobbyists, and they’re making our country more dangerous every year.
Now we have mass shootings almost every week, and the response is always the same: The victims and their families are in our thoughts and prayers.
Well, here’s what’s in my thoughts and prayers: We must get rid of the murdering thugs who have done this to our country. We must all wake up and let our legislators know we’re done allowing this perversion of the Constitution and that we will vote against them, no matter what their stands are on anything else.
We want an assault weapon ban now. We want universal background checks now.
No more posturing, no more pandering to the gun lobby.
We are done. If this crop of legislators won’t do anything about it, we will send men and women who will to Washington and to our state capitols.
No more shootings. No more bodies. Do something or go home.