No More Silence

written by Julie Cohn

I am tired of being quiet.  I am tired of being the quiet little housewife just posting pretty photos of cupcakes and gorgeous family vacations.  I love sharing these things, and there is a place for them, but there is more to life than just cupcakes and beach photos.  Life is not all warm and fuzzy, sometimes it is heartbreaking.  My heart is breaking for the people of Parkland, FL, just as it did for the people of Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and other mass shootings.  Each time I sat watching the news, distressed at what had just taken place.  I sat.  No more.  I cannot sit by and let this keep happening, without doing something about it.  No more silence. It is time to have a voice about gun control in our country.  It is time to do something and I invite you to join me.

Gun Control6No More Silence

I cannot let people shut me up anymore.  I cannot let people tell me I don’t know what I talking about, or criticise the voice I have.  There are so many bullies out there, people trying to silence anyone who does agree with them or the current political climate.  Everyone has an opinion and they think their way is the only right way –they try to drown out anyone who thinks different. I am tired of being bullied and I am tired of being drown out.  I have to stop being afraid of what friends and family, who think differently, will say or think of me.  If they love me, they will respect my voice.  Yet this is why I have kept quiet.  I didn’t want to stir the pot.  I didn’t want to ruffle feathers. I did not want to disappoint anyone.  Those of you who are friends and family? I still love you.  We can agree to disagree.  But, guess what?  The pot is already stirred.  The feathers are already ruffled.   I am disappointed.

It’s a little too late for quiet contemplation. Somebody’s child died this week because a madman, who should never have been issued a gun, opened fire at a school….for the 19th time this year.  This year!  There is no turning back from this, and no matter how you try to argue or justify it, this young man, who made repeated threats against the school and students, and was on FBI radar for at least six months, should never have been approved for a gun.  It’s too late for pleasantries and debates.  It is time to speak up and do.

I don’t have all the answers…at all, but I know I can’t just sit by and watch another massacre happen in our country.  In the three days since Parkland, five students across the country were caught bringing guns to school.  That is five parents who, after seeing the slaughter on television, still did not choose to lock up their own firearms.  That, my dear, is irresponsible gun ownership, so do not come at me with your justifications.    You and I, we owe it to the people we love and the country we adore to do more, to speak up and do more about the issues that affect this country and it’s citizens.   We owe it to the people we love to help create laws that will protect them, and support politicians who will enact those laws.     The people we have elected thus far are failing to protect us and our children, they are turning their backs on us while innocents die, seemingly lining their pockets with NRA money to get re-elected.

It is time to do something.

 Tariq Khamisa Foundation

In 1998, while on a business flight back from San Francisco, I sat next to a man on the plane. We got to talking. His name was Azim Khamisa, and he was on his way to a conference in DC to speak about the death of his son, Tariq, a 19 year old who worked at a pizza shop in San Diego while attending college. He was shot by a 14 year old boy, who robbed and killed him for $100 in pizza tips. Azim talked to me about how he learned to forgive Tariq’s killer (Tony Hicks) and how he formed a foundation with Tony’s grandfather to get guns off the streets. For every gun turned in, they planted a tree. His words and compassion were powerful.  He talked of his frustration about how easy it was for kids and criminals to get guns, and how he wanted to change that. My son was 8 months old at the time, and I could not imagine losing him to such a senseless crime. His words impacted me, yet when I got home, I did nothing. I had a baby at home, a full time job, and then we moved to Arizona. Over the years, I still did nothing to get involved, yet Azim always remained in the back of my mind. I even held onto his business card to remind me. Ironically, my son goes to college in the same city, and is the same age as Taliq when he was killed.  It is time to get involved.  I pledge to do more to get guns out of the hands of criminals, and to help make our country a safer place. I encourage you to support Azim’s organization or one like it. https://tkf.org/

 

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It is Time to Have A Voice About Gun Control

I know some of you are going to come at me with your arguments and rationalization for second Amendment rights. I welcome thoughtful dialogue, but don’t you dare attack me for having an opinion, and for speaking up on something I feel needs to be addressed in this country.  You are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine, but know this…I have taken the time to learn the facts. I suggest you do the same.

Don’t tell me we do not need better background checks or that we do not need stricter gun regulations. Stop. We do need to stop guns from getting into the hands of people who should not be allowed to own guns. Don’t tell me we should not restrict the number of guns someone can own.  Stop. We need to restrict the number of guns people own (the Las Vegas shooter owned 47 guns–no one needs 47 guns for personal use).  Stop telling me how your second amendment rights are more important than the rights of those who died this week.  That they are not more important than my rights or the rights of my child and family.  Our Constitution is a venerable document, but our forefathers created it to have some fluidity. We can keep second amendment rights and create more accountability. We can have both. So just stop.

Government Regulation In Action

Our government was created for the people, by the people, and for the good of the people.  There have been times, in our nation’s history, where our government has stepped in and created laws for the protection of all US citizens.  When you tell me that stricter gun control will still keep guns in the hands of criminals, you are only half right.  Yes, there will still be guns out there, and yes, there will still be criminals using guns, but historically speaking, it can be proven again and again that government regulation and enforcement works.  If 50% less criminals have access to guns, that is 50% less deaths.  If even 1% less have access to guns, isn’t that worth fighting for?

In the 1960’s-70’s, the drinking age was lower, and there were more alcohol-related fatalities. Laws were changed to raise the drinking age, with tougher punishments for those found drinking and driving. Alcohol-related fatalities went down. Do people still drink and drive? Yes, but since 1982, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 51% and for people under 21, they have decreased by 80%. Regulation works.  People are still allowed to own their cars, and drink their booze, they just need to be more responsible about it.

Car related deaths are the #1 cause of death in children.  In the 1970’s, there were few laws in place for car seat usage.  The government imposed regulations for proper car seat usage and automobile related child deaths have gone down by 57%. Do people still put their children in cars without car seats and are there still deaths? Yes, but considerably less than before. Regulation works.  People can still own cars, and still have children, the government has taken neither away, people just have to be more responsible about it.

Why wouldn’t a responsible gun owner want stricter laws to protect their rights and the rights of others? Why wouldn’t you want to restrict who owns a gun and enforce proper training, proper storage, etc? Can’t we protect the second amendment and keep guns out of the hands of people who should never own a gun? Will criminals still get their hands on guns?  Yes, but stricter regulations for gun sales, gun registration, and gun ownership will make it harder for criminals to do so.

Think for a moment…if we had stats like those above, we could save 47-52% more lives from each mass shooting.  19 people died in Parkland.  Stricter gun legislation might have saved 9 of those lives, or 27 lives in Las Vegas.  Chew on that for a moment…

Stop Forcing Politics Into The Issue of Guns

This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing, and people need to stop forcing political dialogue into this.  Yes, more Republicans own guns, but this goes way beyond politics.  Stop opposing any discussion because you feel your Republican or Democratic party views are being singled out once again. Please understand that this is a safety issue for every American, so put your damn politics aside. Why does this issue of stricter regulation have to be all or nothing? I support our military, who are properly trained to handle guns. I support Second Amendment rights. I support responsible gun ownership. I do not support the lackadaisical laws we have in place today, nor the NRA strong arming every gun control discussion.  This is not about your politics or mine–this is about innocent lives being cut short.

But…if you do want to talk politics (I know you are dying to), you should know that in the 1990’s, several Republicans and Democrats supported a ban on assault weapons. Former Republican presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both supported The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act, which, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, was enacted in 1994.  Ronald Reagan is considered one of the finest modern presidents (I agree)  and he supported stricter regulation for assault rifles.  Unfortunately, the act expired in 2004.  Why did it expire and why have we not re-enacted it or created a similar bill?  Three little letters.  NRA.  It is good business for the NRA to have every warm-blooded American own a gun or two (or 48).  They don’t care about lives lost, as long as people keep buying guns.

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Just The Facts, Ma’am

Let’s get a few facts straight before you start talking crazy rhetoric or spouting Sarah Huckabee at me….

  • It has been proven that Chicago does not have the strictest gun control laws in the country, regardless of what was stated during the election campaign. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work
  • There is NO nationwide database for gun ownership. We have a national database for automobiles, drivers licenses, passports, voter registration, social security, births and deaths, mail tracking, but not guns.
  • Guns account for 64% of all homicide deaths in the US.
  • There have been 90 mass shootings in the US since 1982.
  • The average age of a mass shooter is 34, white, male.
  • Military Assault type rifles were used in the majority of the mass shootings.
  • Average price of an assault type rifle = $1500 Average price of a handgun = $200. For comparison, a new iPhone X is $900, so you could buy almost 5 handguns for almost the price of an iPhone.
  • The AR 15 Armalite Assault rifle was first used by the US military. Footage of some of the original testing in Vietnam is still classified because the bullets did so much damage. The AR does not stand for assault rifle but Armalite. The AR 15 is a modular weapon system because it is easy to modify. The gun is a semi-automatic and comes with a magazine of 30 rounds, but can be modified up to 200 rounds. There is no special permit required to own an AR15.  (This is not a gun that should be in a typical American citizen’s hands.)
  • More Americans have died from gun-related deaths since 1968, than in all the wars combined (including the Revolutionary War).

Come at me, I dare you. I am stronger now. I have taken the time to  know the facts.  I am angry and scared, and I will not be silenced.

 

PS:  For those who were offended that I used a photo of a gun in my post, I am sorry I used a photo of the very thing I was discussing.  Was I trying to be sensationalistic?  No.  I was showing a photo of a gun.  That is all.

No more silence.  It's time to speak up, have a voice about gun control, and do something about it.

2 comments

Pam 02/17/2018 at 4:54 am

Yes…yes…yes. In addition to gun control… 1) aggressive mental health support for those who need it. This didn’t just happen… did he or other murderes get mental health services …. over a body of years. 2) RESPECT for life… we need to return to a society that recognizes killing is wrong in every corner and aspect of society…. our culture supports a choice lifestyle….there are lines that MUST not be crossed… 3) return to honoring our Creator…. I say He is God and he gave me a gift of life and I need to be the light to others…. why can’t these people get help??? Help; years before they THINK about buying a gun

Reply
Julie Cohn 02/17/2018 at 4:59 am

Thank you Pam, I agree. He was well known for having violent tendencies and somehow fell through the cracks.

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