Weekend 5.28

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I remember existing in a split state, the weeks after my Dad died, walking around nodding and smiling and making words with my mouth, yet the entire time feeling completely unmoored. There was a sense of unreality to my days, like I was only pretending at something.  

This week has been like that.  

It has been a truly terrible week. 

The details of the Texas shooting are beyond comprehension. The complete and utter devastation of those families…I have no words, only tears, and a growing feeling of hopelessness. Of course this happened again. We knew it would.  

We knew this would happen again because the data is clear. The data has been clear now for years: School shootings happen this often only in the US. Of all of the developed countries in the world, we alone have this problem. Other countries have found ways to fix these issues (and this set of charts from Vox is the best compilation I’ve found). Yet the overwhelming amount of data continues to be ignored by Republicans – both the lawmakers, who repeatedly and consistently block all attempts to develop common sense laws on gun ownership and safety, and the Republican base, of which only 44% support common sense gun laws.

And now fourth grade children have paid the price of this Republican inaction.

“There were 911 calls from inside that classroom,” Mike said, his face pale. “From children. That strikes me,” he added, quietly, “as a very brave act.”

As that 4th grade girl called 911 over and over, alternatively lying on top of her dead friend so the shooter would think she, too, was dead, there were up to 19 police officers waiting outside in the hallway.

So much for the Republicans’ “good guys with guns” theory. When 19 police officers, fully armed and trained, cannot quickly confront a single person wielding an assault rifle, and instead, wait in the hallway – for keys, for backup – while children are being shot…it seems pretty fucking clear that common sense gun laws are needed.

My disgust is only overshadowed by my rage.

And frankly, I can barely contain it. I started to call my Senator (a Republican), but the first words that came to mind were, “you motherfucking useless piece of shit,” so I put the phone down.

I read somewhere that three days is the amount of time, after a school shooting, that most people return to business as usual. I mention this because Republican lawmakers count on this fact – they make their noises about “strengthening schools” and “good guys with guns” – the same noises they’re been making for decades, trotting out the same old, ineffective ideas, waiting for our collective rage to die down so they can return to business as usual.

We desperately cannot return to business as usual. 

Personally, I’m going to take the weekend. Life has been moving at warp speed, and I need to recharge with my family. I need to hold my guys close, and hear them laugh and chatter and argue and fill up my empty, hopeless parts with their impossibly beautiful existence. 

And then, next week, I’ll start the work.

If you are in a better head space than I am (and omg I hope someone is), Glennon Doyle is working with Mom’s Demand’s Shannon Watts on how to turn this thing around.  


Gang, I don’t have my usual fun links in me right now. If you need a distraction (and I get it), we’ve been working on a page for Memorial Day Sales. It has our top picks by category (dresses, jeans, etc.), as well as all of our articles on the topic, including some try-ons.

If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by those you love this weekend, give them a squeeze.

xo,

S

24 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, I needed this solidarity. I stand with you and am livid about how Republicans continue to choose and rather intentionally want this to happen. They want us to live in fear for our lives, our children, our bodies, our communities.

  2. The frustration and fear is something I think we with children in school can all agree on. However, I think those who have never put on a law enforcement or military uniform should avoid criticism to those who put their lives on the line each and every day. But, what is also missing is any context associated with that gun data. Note the states with the highest gun ownership and gun deaths are states that have higher populations of indigenous groups and others who hunt out of tradition or need. So, I’m assuming that data also includes accidental shootings that may unfortunately occur during hunting. Also, note that cities like Chicago have some of the most strict gun requirements in the country but yet also manage to have the highest number of shootings per WEEK in the country. So, gun restriction is not the answer either. Time to consider other options besides what some might consider to be the obvious.

    • There’s a graph around somewhere that speaks to the first part of your comment…but I think the number of deaths from hunting accidents pale in comparison to the number of deaths by suicide – something that does go down dramatically with safer gun laws. (And anecdotally goes along with what I remember from growing up in a huge hunting community – accidents, while they happened, were pretty darn rare. Hunters aren’t really the problem here, and other countries do have avid hunters as well, without our high rates of gun violence.). I also know people have cited the problems in Chicago before, but I don’t know the data on that offhand. I’ll dig around – a point of consideration for sure. I also wonder where Philadelphia falls. I know we’ve had a few tough summers during the pandemic. BTW – it’s great to have a conversation about the facts. I sincerely appreciate this comment.

  3. We must be brave, as brave as the bravest people we know or knew. Thinking and doing and challenging in ways we had not considered before – ways outside of our comfort galaxies (not zones – farther than that). Every action matters, it does.

  4. This is a great read for those of us who live in either moderate democratically lead states or republican lead states. Please HAND write letters to your representatives and let them know how much your support Gun legislation and or assault weapon bans. Unfortunately the data shows that we (gun control advocates)just are not doing enough to sway those moderate democrats. We are not voting in numbers that will easily pass legislation. It’s infuriating as a voting person and repeat donated of frankly significant funds to campaigns, Everytown, Planned Parenthood. We need more people out there voting for specific issues. I’m thinking the old school bus campaign from the 90’s MTV days, Rock The Vote. This time we keep the bus there and drive the newly registered voters to the polls. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/nra-broken-so-why-cant-democrats-pass-gun-control/620190/

    • Thank you!! My husband and I were just talking about this, too. It might be time to make this THE one issue we vote on.

  5. Thank you for this! I just discovered “Mom’s Demand Action for gun sense in America” and love it!!! Shannon Watts gives me so much hope for change. I’m so inspired by the headway they’ve made in terms of policy and laws on this issue. Thanks for shining a spotlight on Mom’s Demand 🙂

  6. The horrible and devastating problem we have in this country is that special interest groups have been permitted to donate money to political candidates. Thus the NRA owns the majority of our government. The politicians supported by the NRA cannot and will not ever vote to change gun legislation. It has nothing to do with the constitution, clearly, since they violate it when it comes to a Woman’s Right to Privacy, it has nothing to do with religion, clearly, since even a Jew like me knows Jesus would not want this travesty, and it has nothing to do with hunting, you do not need an AR-15 to shoot a deer. We certainly no longer need a ‘well armed militia” so the only reason is $$. It’s a tough fight to win unless we can stop the funding of the senators by a group whose motto is “From my cold dead hand”. But I’m with you, let’s do whatever we can. No family should ever have had to go through this ever. The data from other countries is clear.

  7. SO TIRED of the Chicago example, clearly a talking point. Numerous articles have been written that most guns in Chicago come from neighboring INDIANA, which has looser gun rules.

    And sorry nor sorry, Uvalde spent 40 percent of it’s town budget on cops. They have a SWAT TEAM. Does your town have a SWAT team? Mine doesn’t. And yet, why didn’t the SWAT team go into action?

    I can’t bear to listen to the 911 calls from the children begging for the police to save them, not knowing they are outside all along. Can you? Then get back to me about how I can’t judge these particular cops.

  8. It astonishes me that people can come to such different conclusions from the same event. After hearing about police response it reinforces that I want a gun to protect myself and loved ones. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I should have remembered that lesson after a domestic violence issue when the most the law could offer for safety was a restraining order.

    • I actually think we are not that far off. I, too, have a friend with a restraining order situation, and part of me wants her to have a gun. I also want her to be properly trained on how to use it, and I want it locked up and properly stored (which does make me wonder how effective it could be in an emergency, but still – I get the need). I don’t think she needs an assault rifle, however. But the bigger issue here is that I’m terrified of her ex getting a gun – someone who i think suffers from mental health issues – and definitely don’t want him getting his hands on an assault rifle.

  9. Thank you for using your platform, Shana. If more than a dozen armed police officers are afraid to confront a shooter with an AR-15, it seems clear that these guns are a hazard to our communities. In fact, they were banned before 2004. The rate of mass shooting in the US was still higher than in similar countries, but an order of magnitude lower than it is now. Why should any family have to sacrifice their beloved child at the altar of gunmaker and politician greed? We can ban AR-15s and similar high capacity weapons again, and people can still have their hunting rifles and self protection pistols.

  10. I’m a 30-something mother of three and I own and hunt with an AR-15. I just wanted to clarify a few points that might not be widely known or understood outside the hunting/sport shooting world. First, the “AR” stands for ArmaLite (the company that first developed the style), not assault rifle, and AR-15s are not assault rifles because they are not full automatic. They are semi-automatic (like many hunting rifles) and are therefore faster to shoot than something like a bolt action or a pump, but they don’t have machine gun capabilities. They do look like military weapons, but aren’t fully automatic like military weapons. You certainly don’t need one for shooting a deer, but they are growing in popularity among hunters because they are really good for that application. I’ve hunted with many firearms and strongly prefer my AR because it’s dramatically lighter and shorter and more rugged than anything else I’ve tried. It’s so much easier to tote through the woods and I don’t have to fuss or fret if it gets a little wet. AR-15s are also highly customizable…easy to shorten or lengthen parts as needed. They are also extremely accurate, largely because of the way they are assembled. I think it’s the ideal rifle for a female hunter, particularly a petite female like myself, or for a young hunter, like my sons. That said, while I don’t see a need to give up the weapon that performs best when it comes to putting food on our table, I am not opposed to limiting magazine size (honestly, if you can’t hit the animal with a clean kill shot in two or three or so, you need to spend more time at the range to become a more humane and responsible hunter) and I am absolutely in favor of laws that keep guns of any kind out of the wrong hands. I just don’t know how we make the bad guys follow the rules, you know? By all means, let’s move on reasonable, intelligent legislation…I just don’t exactly know what that looks like. I like PhDMom2022’s comment about options besides the obvious. We need a change.

  11. Suicides are 54% of gun deaths and drive much of the variation between states. When guns are easily accessible suicide attempts are higher with more than 90% fatal. America has many types of gun problems but they all stem from one issue, dangerous weapons that are easier to purchase than beer.

  12. Shana I’m uplifted by your NO BS approach on this topic. It’s a relief to hear someone let go in print about this flabbergasting political issue even if it’s outside their usual focus. What we need is a lever. Republicans aren’t all bad but it is impossible to overlook their baffling insidious reluctance to effect gun control. So VOTE for gun control.

  13. One of the problems we have in our country is the “us and them” mentality. I am a Republican who grew up around guns but certainly don’t want anyone to live in fear. I believe in safe and responsible gun ownership and use. I think if you met me, you might even like me and I bet we have more in common than you would like to think. It makes me sad that to you and others, I am just a “Republican who wants you to live in fear”. My closest group of 6 friends from college (we are now 52!) is made up of 3 liberals and 3 conservatives. We are each other’s confidants and cheerleaders even though we disagree on most political issues. I likely don’t agree with you but I bet if we had a conversation, we could find some common ground. Love first!!!

  14. I’m not from the US. I can’t get my head around the relationship the US has with guns and how the US is ok with what has happened. Because it keeps happening and nothing changes. From the outside it reads as this is an acceptable by-product of our right to bear arms. I cannot believe that this is true. The US is better than this, should be better than this. Most other countries have had shootings at some point – mine has. Ours was 20 something years ago and resulted in gun law reforms and gun buy backs. Sandy Hook changed nothing, while nothing changes this will keep happening.

  15. There are 400 million weapons in America (more than 1 for every person) but just 3% of Americans own >50% of all guns. 68% of households do not own any weapons.

    Gun violence and mass shootings are traumatizing our nation and contributing to a serious decline in teaching as a profession. This is an opinion piece written by an Associate Dean at my institution:

    https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article261791222.html

    We can not let a vocal minority continue to control our country, victimize our children and hollow out our education system. Voting rights have been attacked and undermined and it’s the only thing giving the pro-gun minority power. I was in Alabama when Doug Jones won his senate seat and it was the biggest, boots-on-the-ground, get out the vote effort I have ever seen. When we get out the vote we can effect change. We can become the nation we want to be. We have to vote and demand politicians reflect the majority of Americans who want freedom from violence and terror.

  16. Thank you for introducing me to “Moms Demand Action”!!! Now I’m involved in a local “Mom’s Demand” group and have been listening to Shannon Watts.

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