To the editor:
An acquaintance of mine, who agrees with my view that common-sense gun laws are long overdue in this country, recently made the point that it’s difficult to get others involved in the issue because the shootings in Newtown and the many mass shootings before and after, “don’t really affect our daily lives.” I replied that I believe all of our lives are most definitely affected by these events.
Those of us who stuffed ourselves under our school desks in the 1960s may not have known anyone who was killed by a nuclear bomb, but our feelings about our personal safety were forever changed by that experience. The school kids who are now going through drills of a different nature in their schools are having their outlook on the world changed forever as well. The threat is even closer to home and the images surround them daily.
In this age of dysfunctional government it is easy to feel hopeless that real change, including making all of our lives safer, is possible. Many media outlets, in the interests of creating a story in and of itself, are proclaiming that those who favor gun reform have faded away and the issue has slipped off the agenda of many politicians.
In fact, California, Connecticut, New York, Colorado, Delaware and New Jersey have all passed strong gun laws in the last year, and other states have them in the works. The NRA-backed candidate for governor in Virginia was defeated in the NRA’s own backyard. There is now a director at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — something the NRA has blocked for years. The National Football League has refused to air a gun commercial during the Super Bowl.
Clearly the advocacy groups have had an impact on both policy and culture. This is not to say that the battle ahead does not continue to be uphill. Thirty thousand people die from guns each year in this country. Each day, eight children are killed by guns. There have been 26 school shootings since the one in Newtown.
The one-year anniversary of the Newtown massacre is Saturday, Dec. 14. There are events, vigils and services planned all across the country. I would hope that everyone, regardless of where they stand on gun legislation, take the time to reflect, not only about the pain the families of the victims of gun violence must live with every day, but about how the continuing threat of gun violence affects their life, and the lives of their children and grandchildren. No community is immune to this threat.