It’s been a ROUGH week guys. Like sob loudly in a shower rough week. Fifty-nine people were shot during a country concert in Las Vegas. The gunman was a 64-year old white retired man and was described by media as “unassuming”, “lonewolf”, “normal”. Pretty much all the stereotypical white-privileged shooter descriptions.
A lot of people have mentioned the mass shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School when 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 were fatally shot. It’s fitting to talk about Sandy Hook because that’s when many of us assumed that the mass shooting was so violent, so heartbreakingly sad that it would finally change the conversation in America around gun control.
One mother, Shannon Watts, was one of those people who was deeply moved by the tragedy and loss of young lives at Sandy Hook. Shannon, a stay at home mother of 5, had only 75 friends on facebook at the time. But Shannon also had a background in corporate communications and she believed that she was not the only mom disturbed by the tragedies that had resulted from gun violence. The very next day Shannon started a page on facebook which would later grow into Moms Demand Action. Shannon reached out Mothers Against Drunk Driving for advice on how to steer Moms Demand Action, and news spread quickly about the organization leading to both support from fellow moms and ire from the opposition.
Here is an excerpt that Watts penned recently for The Guardian.
Our country is at a defining moment: do we want to keep experiencing these horrific shooting tragedies because the gun lobby has convinced Congress that we should allow guns for anyone, anywhere, any time – no questions asked? Or will we demand safety in our daily lives – at church, school, concerts and movie theaters? Because we do have a choice, and I urge every person who is as disgusted and horrified by this routine violence to make their voice heard.
As we grieve the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas, we must start talking openly and honestly about how to solve our nation’s gun violence crisis. For Congress, that means demanding they reject National Rifle Association leaders’ radical and deadly agenda. In Nevada, that means elected officials enforcing the law their constituents enacted last November.
Doing what we’ve been doing for decades – essentially letting the gun lobby write our country’s gun laws – has led to America having the highest rate of gun homicides of any developed nation. Clearly it’s time to do exactly the opposite of what gun lobbyists have instructed us to do: use our voices and votes to save lives. We can’t be silent anymore.
As of 2016, Moms Demand Action has stopped nearly 200 bills that allowed guns on campus or expanding Stand Your Ground laws. They also helped pass bills closing the background check loophole and partnered with Michael Bloomberg to form a like-minded organization — Everytown for Gun Safety.
They also convinced Starbucks, Target, Panera, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, and Jack in the Box to ban open carry in their establishments.
Shannon Watts considers herself an accidental activist. Some of us could not be more grateful.