Monday, December 17, 2012

Being a light in darkness

Today, like you, there are things I want to un-know.  Images I'd like to un-see. My throat is tight, my eyes bloodshot, and I have a dull headache from crying before sleep.

The anger hasn't come yet--I know it will will eventually--but I'm just too sad to let that in yet. The few times an articulate thought or word comes to mind, it is quickly replaced by just this overwhelming sadness, that I know we all share.

So this morning when Stevie woke up and announced that he had written letters to our Congressmen and I should do the same, I admit to having trouble with that task.

But after reading what he wrote--so precise, straightforward and right--I knew I had to follow suit.

So I did.

December 17, 2012

Dear Senator;

Earlier this morning, my seventeen year old son wrote you a letter regarding the very timely issue of gun control. As we all are, he is sickened by the events of last Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and feels passionate about doing whatever he can to prevent this sort of atrocity from ever happening again. He asked me this morning if I, too, would write our elected officials urging them to action by ignoring the regurgitated rhetoric from the NRA and initiate and support stricter gun control in this great country.

As articulate as my son is on this subject, I find myself not nearly as so this dark day. Steven is the oldest of our four children, with the youngest being a Kindergartner. Like most parents I’m sure, every time my mind tries to formulate an argument or words of wisdom, protest or outrage, my heart breaks a little more imagining my beautiful daughter and her precious classmates sitting at their desks. I find I am rendered paralyzed by these thoughts.

But my hope is that you as one of our elected officials won’t be as lethargic in words and most of all action. While I’ve heard the arguments and rhetoric my entire life, maybe now things can truly change. Maybe today we redefine who and what “the bad guys,” are, what “just for sport,” is, and the math that says more guns make us safer. Because the day of those talking points are over, and we must as nation come together in common sense to ensure that human life trumps politics, lobbyists and barbarianism.

I know it is too late for the 26 innocent children and teachers murdered last week, but it’s not too late to fall on the right side of history.


Tracey Henry

And here is my son's:

Dear Representative:


            I am reaching out to you in wake of the December 14th Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. This devastating attack has shocked the whole world, and it has also shed an international light on American gun policy. Compared to those of the rest of the developed world, the United States has the loosest gun laws and also the highest gun-related death rate. I see that the National Rifle Association donated thousands of dollars to your campaign in the 2012 election cycle. I would love to believe that these donations do not influence the way you vote on behalf of your constituents, but I would be lying to myself. You voted “yea” to national bills that authorized the allowance of loaded guns in national parks, the repeal of the firearm ban in Washington D.C., the Trigger Lock amendment that would require guns to be sold with trigger locks, and a bill that protected gun manufacturers from liability in some cases of injury or criminal actions. You identify yourself as a “prolife” representative, and I understand that you view the Second Amendment as a fundamental right of every American, but you also need to protect the life of every American and your supporting of these irresponsible gun laws does not protect the American right to life. According to Mother Jones since 1986, there have been at least sixty-one gun-related mass murders in the U.S. Of those mass-murders a majority of the firearms used were purchased legally. The Harvard Injury Control Research Centre has found substantial evidence linking the number of guns to the number of homicides.
            A CNN poll taken in August found that about 90% of Americans support stricter background checks in order to purchase a firearm. A Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, conducted a survey on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and he found that 63% of former and current NRA members agreed that the age requirement for a firearm purchase should be twenty-one. Also 74% of NRA members support more-thorough criminal background checks on anyone who wishes to purchase a gun.
            So Congresswoman Blackburn, I am asking that you take action to combat the issue of gun control in the United States. I understand that the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 did not result in the lower homicide rates that were promised, but the massacres in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO were both caused by semi-automatic assault rifles. I ask that you seriously consider supporting the Assault Weapons Ban that Senator Dianne Feinstein promises to introduce at the beginning of next year. I also ask that you support legislation to improve mental health facilities and mental health institutions, so that the psychopaths committing these heinous crimes will be treated before they decide to massacre dozens of people. I would also implore you to strengthen background check requirements for gun purchases.
Finally Congresswoman, I would ask you to seriously consider the lives of the twenty children massacred by Adam Lanza last week. These murders could have maybe been prevented with stricter legislation. There is no way to know for sure, but you do have the chance to stop this massacre from happening again in the future, and I ask that you please take advantage of this opportunity and change the American gun policy. Do not listen to the manipulative voices of the National Rifle Association. Listen to your constituents. The people of Tennessee and the American people care more about their lives than their guns, and you have the chance to be a superhero and stop these horrific killings from happening in the future. Thank you for your taking the time to read this letter, and I hope I will be able to support your campaign next election cycle due to the new gun policies you will hopefully support in the next few years.

Thank you,
Steven Henry

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