It was 6pm yesterday evening when I got back to my apartment after finishing work. I turned on my Xbox to play Madden but I couldn’t do it. I turned on my TV to watch Sportscenter but shut it off before the screen could illuminate. I’d spent the entire day avoiding the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I had gone about my day the same as I usually do: Gym, breakfast, call clients, the usual. I had tried not to think about the tragedy that took place in Las Vegas last night. But I couldn’t escape it. I began to think deeply about the shooting. The mass bodies scattered across the field, the blood, the terror, the husbands, wives, children, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who will never again draw breathe. I thought about the families whose lives will be shattered by loved ones lost. I thought about the state of our country, the country I love. I thought about the unbelievable number of victims, those killed and those injured. 59 killed, 527 injured. I began to tear up.
I took a walk to clear my head. I walked down 11th avenue to Chelsea Piers where I sat down and watched the sunset come to rest over the Hudson River. I realized in that moment that I hadn’t watched the sunset in months; I mean really watched one and soaked it in. I wondered if it’s because I take this life for granted or because I don’t appreciate the little things. I wondered if anyone who lost his or her life last night had also gone too many days without watching the sunset, the sunset they’ll never again be able to see. I couldn’t escape the tragedy. The numbers were ringing in my head, churning my stomach, hurting my heart, and infuriating my soul.
59 killed. 527 injured. Those numbers aren’t statistics. Those numbers are friends, family members, and lovers. They are Americans. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our countrymen. They are our people. And they are the ones that we as a nation have failed to protect.
The more I thought about it the more shocking it was. Over 600 people were shot because one man legally acquired the means to shoot them. How did we get here?
How are we STILL here?
And when will we finally act to put an end to this?
600 people shot and 59 dead isn’t simply a mass shooting, it’s the equivalent of a drone strike. Just for perspective, the “mother of all bombs” we dropped in Afghanistan killed 94 of ISIS’s people. One man, with 10 guns, in a Las Vegas hotel room, killed 59 of ours. And he gunned down and injured countless others.
I see our congressmen and our leaders tweet out their condolences and send out their prayers. But the thing is, we don’t need their fucking tweets. What we need is their Goddamn backbone, their spine. We need them to do what’s right instead of backing senseless pro-gun / anti-regulation legislation because the NRA donated to their campaign. We need them to take action. We need them to help. We need them to AT LEAST TRY to stop this insanity. Since the start of 2017 we’ve had 273 mass shootings in 273 days. This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Seriously, it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. And it’s happening more frequently with each passing year. So the problem isn’t getting better. We’re doing nothing, and not surprisingly, it’s getting worse.
Now I understand the right to bear arms, and I understand that this country’s love affair with guns is deeply seeded in our roots. When I lived in Florida I had my concealed weapons permit, I carried a Springfield XDS 3.3” .45 on my hip from time to time, and I kept it loaded in my car whenever I drove anywhere. So I’m not some crazy anti-gun person. I like guns. But I don’t like them enough to keep going down this rabbit hole of mass murder. I don’t like them enough to support the NRA and big gun manufacturers’ morally corrupt agendas. I’d certainly like to have a gun in my home for self-defense, and on the road when I travel, but I would gladly support anything that might make this country a safer place. I’d support anything that ensures complete background checks on gun buyers, that allows guns to be traced to their owners, that closes gun purchasing loopholes, that bans the sale of assault rifles. If I have to minimally compromise on my gun rights, but in doing so American lives can be saved and we can slow down this epidemic of constant death, I’m all for it.
And here’s the thing, I don’t know if any of those ideas would even help. I don’t. I have no idea if those things would help solve our nation’s increasing mass murder problems. But what I do know is that what we’re doing now isn’t working, it’s never worked, and it never will. How long will we continue to sit idly by while our fellow Americans are gunned down, injured or killed by the thousands?
It’s time to try something else, anything else. Our people are dying in vain. They’re dying in numbers never seen before. They’re dying far too young, and far too often. We are the brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children that are being murdered. It is we who are dying; it’s we who are suffering. And it’s we who must do everything in our power to put an end to it. It’s up to us as Americans to say we’ve had enough. It’s up to us to demand action. This should to hit close to home because this is our home. And it’s up to us to do everything in our power to protect it and those who live in it.