Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Next Comes Taking Responsible Action...

"In violence, we forget who we are."

-Mary McCarthy

Every once in a while, I will hear about someone on the evening news, someone who I have never met, but who I know I will never forget, because they somehow touched my life. In October of 1991, some poor, lost, bitter hearted soul went on a rampage with a gun, and killed 22 people, and then himself. I had forgotten the name of the gunman, but for some reason last night, I was thinking about one of the gunman's victims, Dr. Michael Griffith. I always remembered Dr. Griffith, because his story in particular touched my heart. His day started out on a happy note, it was Bosses Day, and he was in a good mood. He was a veterinarian, and he had a full schedule, but he had been thinking all morning about how much he wanted to have a nice lunch, and a piece of pie at Luby's Cafeteria. That is all he wanted that day. Honestly, as I sit here right now, I can't help but cry, because life is so very unfair. I never met Dr. Griffith, but I still mourn his loss, as if we were old friends. I listened to accounts of how he was a good man, who cared deeply for his patients, and how he had a full, happy life. He was 48 years old, when his life was stolen from him.

Death paid a similar visit to a collage town yesterday, and we all lost a bit of the future. Sigh. I am frustrated that we don't have stricter gun laws, especially post 9/11, when we don't know for sure if we are safe or not. It amazes me that in the days after we were struck by terrorists, most Americans said that they would be willing to give up some civil liberties, in order to secure America. And what do we have? We have our government protecting us by wire-tapping our phones, and having us remove our shoes at the airport. I will never understand why President Bush refused to sign the assault weapons ban, or even consider enacting tougher gun control laws, making things easier for terrorists, both foreign and domestic. But you know what? I don't blame President Bush exclusively for this error in judgement, I blame our elected officials in the House and Senate who don't push harder for those laws, and of course I blame the lobbyists for the NRA.

Over the years I have sent letters to my representatives about a number of issues, but I always felt most strongly and passionately about this issue. We should be saying ENOUGH is ENOUGH to the NRA. When are we going to learn from history? Will you, or someone you love, be at the mall or hospital or school, when the next massacre happens? Someday, someone will surpass yesterday's carnage. Someone will open fire on a crowd of friends, or strangers, and will make the evening news as the perpetrator of the worst case of gun violence in American history. It will happen. It will! But does it have to? No, it doesn't! We have a new House, and a new Senate. I think along with their resolve to get us out of the nightmare that is Iraq, and their determination to set America on a new course, they need to be taking a tougher stance with the White House regarding gun control. We have to at least try to find our way, instead of continuing to stumble in our own selfishness.

It shocks me that over the last week, I have heard numerous reports of death threats against Don Imus, the Rutger's Woman's Basketball team, and the Rev. Al Sharpton. It made me sick to hear that the young men, recently cleared in the Duke La cross case, had death threats made against both them and their families. The Dixie Chicks received death threats for doing nothing more than speaking their minds, you know, in the spirit of "Free Speech," another American right? That is still a right? Isn't it? Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if that is one of the civil liberties we gave up, in order to feel safe. Sigh. We certainly do throw death around easily don't we? If someone steps on our toes... we threaten death. Sometimes, some of us, actually goes through with it, and we again face an uncertain future of wondering how, and when the next bullet will pierce us.

I want to urge you to be proactive, and make a difference for the better. If you feel sadness over the massacre at Virginia Tech, write a letter to your representatives, about enacting tougher gun control laws. Pay a visit to the website of James Brady, author of the Brady Bill, and educate yourselves on statistics, and find out what you can do in your own neighborhood to fight gun violence. We can't let the fact that it is a difficult situation stop us, we all have to start somewhere, or we get nowhere and one day, we lose someone we love. Let's make sure we tell Nancy Pelosi, that we want tougher gun control laws in our future. It needs to be a priority. Goodnight Dr. Griffith, I will never forget you.

In Close Knit Killeen, They're Going To Be Living This For A Long Time
-Washington Post Article 10/91

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence

The Luby's Massacre



Karen Funk Blocher said...

A few years ago, a University of Arizona nursing student who was on the verge of flunking out walked into the Nursing building and took out a few of his professors before killing himself. He lived in an apartment I passed every day, one block from Worldwide Travel. One of the victims, Cheryl McGaffic, was a Worldwide Travel client and a member of St. Michael's. I didn't know her, but I will never forget her name.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, Michael Griffith is a direct descendant of John Tyndale, the brother of William Tyndale. William Tyndale was a Bible Scholar and all of the sudden was burned at the stake for heresy in Belgium.