Today, our hearts go out to those whose lives and loved ones have been lost or forever changed by last night’s gun violence, and to our first responders in Las Vegas, where at least 58 people are dead, and more than 500 are injured.
Week after week, we feel horror and despair when we’re confronted by the relentless gun violence we experience in this country. Our register of national tragedies keeps growing: Sandy Hook, Orlando, San Bernardino, and today, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. There have been too many mornings like this morning, waking up to heartbreaking news.
This latest explosion of violence is only the most visible outbreak of an epidemic of gun violence in our homes and communities. On a typical day, 93 Americans die from gun violence: by suicide, homicide, and unintentional injury. For every one person who dies, two more are injured.
As a country of 323 million people and 300 million guns, we seem resigned to this unacceptable status quo. But we are not powerless in the face of this violence, as too many of our policymakers pretend to be. We don’t have to keep living—and dying—this way. We have the power to change.
The violence that haunts our society is not only all too predictable—it’s preventable. As we pick up the pieces and try to understand each outbreak of mass violence, we find—again and again—the same warning signs, the same missed opportunities to prevent violence. We know what works to save lives. It’s our responsibility to act and to demand action on gun safety by our leaders and representatives.
Finally, we must keep the vision of a peaceful future alive and serve that vision, with every word and action. We are united in our grief—let us be united in action as well.