Posted: Feb 01, 2013 9:45 AM
 
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut wasn't the first incidence of gun violence to claim the lives of children and it certainly isn't the last. In fact, the violence continues. It's time to stop arguing semantics and citing dated amendments and create a better future for our children instead.

It's been nearly two months since the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. As shock and overwhelming sadness touched millions of people from coast to coast, our nation stood united, for a moment, to demand answers. And yet, all we've managed to do, so far, is argue.

To hear the gun supporters tell it, guns don't kill people — people kill people. Specifically the mentally ill. They have a right to bear arms, they say, and they intend to protect themselves from the viable threats lurking around each corner. They repeatedly reference the Second Amendment, conveniently leaving out the fact that the guns of today are far more sophisticated and deadly than the guns of the Second Amendment.

To hear the gun reform supporters tell it, it's time for change. Background checks simply aren't enough. Psychological evaluations aren't enough. Guns are getting into the hands of people who intend to use them to inflict great harm. Our system is flawed and it needs an overhaul.

Just this Wednesday, a 5-year-old boy was abducted from his school bus by a gunman, who shot and killed the bus driver. The boy, a kindergarten student in Alabama, is being held hostage in an underground bunker. Yesterday, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the back of the neck by another student at Price Middle School in Southeast Atlanta. Clearly the gun violence continues.

We have to confront the fact that guns, both illegally and legally obtained, are being used to hurt and kill on an epidemic scale in this country.


According to Anthony F. Lemieux, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, Transcultural Conflict and Violence Program (2CI), at Georgia State University, "Each episode of gun violence, and each instance like today's school shooting in Atlanta, makes it clear that the issue of gun violence isn't going away any time soon. We have to confront the fact that guns, both illegally and legally obtained, are being used to hurt and kill on an epidemic scale in this country."

Stop arguing semantics

Following each act of violence, the gun supporters argue the small details. They reference the specific gun used in the crime as if to say that an assault weapons ban wouldn't have saved that particular child. Bottom line: People with guns kill people. It's time to stop arguing semantics and get guns, all of them, out of our homes.

Speak up

Arguing on Facebook and Twitter will not lead to change. As moms, we need to take action. Shannon Watts, a mother of five in Indiana, launched One Million Moms for Gun Control in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. An independent grassroots movement, One Million Moms for Gun Control fights for gun control legislation with the hope of preventing more moms from experiencing the pain and heartache of those moms who lost their children to gun violence. Moms can make a difference.

Get involved

We can only make a difference if we work together for the safety of our children.

Gun supporters argue that placing armed guards on school campuses will lead to fewer acts of gun violence on school grounds. I tend to disagree. As we learned from the Columbine High School shooting, a single guard can't necessarily stop an armed gunman. Fifteen people were killed that day and 23 others were wounded. The more guns at the scene, the higher the chance of fatalities. Not to mention the fact that armed guards patrolling the hallways have the potential to trigger anxiety in children, thereby hindering the learning process. Children need to feel safe at school.

Talk to school officials. Attend PTA meetings. Mobilize the parents. Fight for change within your own school and school district. We can only make a difference if we work together for the safety of our children.

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Topics: gun control