Photo: MSNBC

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. Lack of sleep (ironically) and frayed nerves left me too wound up to drift off. I lay in bed thinking, Okay, if I fall asleep now, I’ll have five and a half hours of sleep…” And then I had an idea…I would post on Twitter about how I’ve got so much weighing on my mind and asking if my followers could reply with something funny or cute. I imagined waking up to fluffy kittens, prancing puppies and chuckle inducing jokes. I figured with a little under 6,000 followers, someone would respond. I actually fell asleep before I could post, probably because thinking about that let my mind stop racing for a moment. I forgot all the bad stuff in anticipation of something positive.

When I glanced at my phone this morning, I remembered my idea last night. I got on Twitter and was going to ask for something positive, anything, to start my day and mitigate the sense of dread that was already enveloping me at the crack of dawn. And then I saw it…another mass shooting. And my problems, though substantial, paled in comparison. It was a reality check and a perspective check. The fourth shooting in two weeks; at this point, it’s not even shocking. There was the white supremacist, anti-Semite and the violent misogynist, both of whom shattered peaceful moments in a spot that should be a sanctuary from the outside world and the day to day grind. Oh and there was the racist who gunned down two African-Americans wanting nothing more than to buy food.

And now college students out for a night of fun have been cut down in their prime (as the mother of a college student myself, this terrifies me), violently robbed of their potential by a psychopath who should have never had a gun. It was a gut punch. All of the people who have been killed were doing mundane, but important, acts of self-care…praying, buying food, doing yoga, drinking and dancing. These were all positive moments that were destroyed.  And all of the gunmen were white, home-grown terrorists who gave off plenty of warning signals that they were at risk of a violent melt-down. (But, let’s definitely keep worrying about a caravan of those fleeing violence, many of whom are women and children, still one-thousand miles away. When will people understand that the risk is inside…the classic the call is coming from somewhere in the house?)

Every single one of these murderers legally owned the weapon he used to rain carnage down upon the innocent. Now that the Democrats are in control of the House, will hope and prayers finally give way to common-sense gun legislation? Or have we not learned anything? There must be some way to get guns out of the hands of those who are likely to use them, even if they were legally obtained. If someone is spewing hate on social media, threatening people; if deputies are called to your house and find you “irate and acting irrationally,” as was the case with Ian David Long, the Borderline shooter, in April; if you’ve been discharged from the military for assaulting your wife…you should get your guns taken away, plain and simple. All of those scenarios fit shooters over the past year.

There have been 307 shootings in 2018. 307. I specifically used numbers, rather than writing it out, as I usually do, because it has more visual impact. 307 is an insane amount of shootings. The only reason for the government not to try to control the bloodbath, is if the NRA is more important than innocent lives. I’m not saying that the second amendment needs to be abolished. I’m not saying that all guns need to be confiscated. I do believe in responsible gun ownership (say the owner of a store in a crime-ridden neighborhood keeps a gun under the counter as a safety measure). That’s okay. But, to bestow every person who wants to pull the trigger the right to do so is madness. And until our government gets out of bed with the NRA and acts in the best interest of Americans, who are rightfully terrified of leaving their homes at this point, the bloodshed will continue.

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