A woman I know had a conversation with her little granddaughter about the prospect of returning to school. The child mentioned that they’d be practicing the zig-zag run. This woman recalled such a maneuver when she was a child, as in playing tag or dodgeball. Her grandchild however, informed her in so many words that what she was describing was running from a potential gunmen, hoping to avoid being shot in the back.
How we ever got to this point in our country is a long and troubling tale. But no sensible person thinks it is acceptable to live with the level of gun violence we experience annually in the United States. School and other mass shootings, city gun violence, and suicide account for most of the deaths from firearms. Intimate partner violence, assaults, and police shootings also contribute to an astonishing annual total of nearly 40,000 persons who are killed.
The way out of this terrible problem is complex and multifaceted, but it is worth remembering that the best tool for doing so that we as citizens possess is the vote. Experts who study this issue, such as researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research or The Center For American Progress, insist that a multifaceted approach is needed, but that underlying any efforts must be legislative measures, such as universal criminal background checks and red flag laws — thus the importance of the vote.
We will have a stark choice this year between candidates who have demonstrated their resolve to solving this crisis and those who have not, by their record as incumbents or their platform as candidates. All of us, but especially our children, deserve to live in a safer society than we have now, where shamefully death by firearm is the second leading cause of child mortality. Vote for a candidate who has pledged to work toward ending our gun violence crisis. And don’t be satisfied until we have restored the purpose of the zig-zag run.