Today I listened as national news outlets compared Texans to Floridians, unfairly maligning them for caring less in the days following the recent school shooting in Santa Fe, TX than Floridians did in the weeks after the Parkland school massacre in Florida.
I sat there stunned. Almost half of all Texans are in favor of revisiting gun laws. The idea that people here don’t care just isn’t true.
Mother after Mother, Father after Father, Concerned Citizen after Concerned Citizen here all agree. We must draw a line on school shootings. We can’t have another. Not one more student can lose their life at school.
So why isn’t that message playing out across the Country? I hear it. Why doesn’t the general public?
It is true that Texas is generally a safe and well run place to live. It is also true that guns are part of the culture here; both for sport and protection. What’s also true is that the Republican leadership in this State is holding hearings today through Thursday to take public comment on the issue. That’s right. The Republican leadership is acknowledging the need to do better.
I watched my own son graduate from high school just two days after those ten children lost their lives so unexpectedly in Santa Fe, TX. It was on our minds and in our hearts but like so many tragedies almost unspeakable. One of the ten students who was killed has a red streak in her hair and liked to sign (she studied American Sign Language) just like a friend of his. It hits home. And it should.
How heartbreaking it was to hear the girl’s Mother interviewed on CNN Sunday night. But how impressive to hear that she is reaching out to leaders and committing to a life of activism in honor of her daughter.
The time to speak up has come and gone. It is now time for action.
We must secure our schools. We have to provide the resources and funding to identify kids under pressure, kids who are marginalized, the students who are being bullied and the mindset that it can’t happen here. It is happening here, there and almost everywhere it seems.
It isn’t Texas’ fault. But Texas is in a unique position to lead the kind of forward movement that needs to happen now. More people are moving to this State than any other in the Country right now. There’s a reason. It is a can do place. Texas can do this. And it should.
We must not be afraid of special interest groups who put their legislative agendas ahead of our children’s basic rights. We must find our voices to effect change. We have to make it safe for gun reason to prevail in our nation’s Capitol. This isn’t a challenge to the 2nd Amendment and we will no longer vote for politicians who intentionally stoke fear by conflating the issue.
Gun Reason is not gun control. It is dealing with the reality that there is too much access to weapons that are too lethal. Those weapons are being used too frequently to settle problems. Yes to offering thoughts and prayers. A resounding No to stopping at that.