A month ago, I would have been mystified if Future Me had said, “Hey Ann, on April 18 you’re going to join hands with 5,000 people to make a human chain from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to the Tennessee State Capitol. Also: you’ll all be wearing red clothes.”
But that’s what’s up this afternoon, as part of a nonpartisan effort to get the attention of the people who have the power to determine gun safety laws in Tennessee.
Voices for a Safer Tennessee is doing this as a plain old attention-getter, because we’ll do anything at this point to get attention about gun safety.
Nothing seems to have worked so far. Student walkouts, teacher walkouts, an absolute tsunami of emails and phone calls—Tennessee’s General Assembly is not interested in getting assault weapons off the streets.
What Can We Do?
I’m writing today to encourage us all to go for it. Wherever you are. This is a national plague.
Let’s honor the families and friends who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Let’s work to get assault weapons off the street. Background checks. Red flag laws.
I started to list here a bunch of statistics about the number of mass shootings this year, the number of school shootings, the number of shootings by children who get hold of a gun at home, the number of guns stolen out of unlocked cars, how mass shootings have increased since the ban on assault weapons lapsed in 2005. But you already know this stuff. It takes a two-second internet search to see how our country is sagging under the agony of gun violence.
Amid the sea of amazing signs at one of the marches, I am haunted by the young man who sat at the State Capitol for hours after a march. “This Has To Stop,” his sign read.
That’s the message. Give your time, your money, your talent, your platform—whatever you’ve got, this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. Great change is possible.
PS Here are organizations that are working on ending gun violence. Whatever resonates for you, plug in. And please share in the comments what you’re up to regarding this issue—it’s galvanizing to hear stories from everybody.