Commentary: Another week, another mass shooting in America
UVALDE, TEXAS – MAY 24: Law enforcement officers speak together outside of Robb Elementary School following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed, with the gunman fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Here we are yet again. Another week and another horrible mass shooting in America, this time at a Texas elementary school.
I have always been a worrier. And because of school shootings, I worry about my friends who are teachers. I worry about my nieces and nephews. I worry about my friends who have school aged kids. Because of many other mass shootings, I worry about everyone’s safety in grocery stores, movie theaters, malls, places of worship and even hospitals.
Throughout my decade-long career as an emergency physician, I have treated many victims of gun violence. I have seen firsthand how bullets can tear through bodies, severing arteries, punching holes through lungs and hearts, and shattering bones. I have had to tell countless families of gun violence victims that their loved one is dead. And I’ve held back tears as I’ve listened to the wails of those families when they hear that their loved one has been torn from them suddenly, robbed of precious years on this earth.
If things continue on their current course, it is only a matter of time before I am the physician on duty in the emergency department when a mass shooting happens in my neighborhood and victims are brought to me for help.
My heart goes out to the families who are holding memorials, vigils and burying loved ones this week. And I also feel for the doctors and nurses who cared for the victims, and did their best trying to save lives. I hope all of the first responders, healthcare workers, students, teachers and family members are getting the counseling they need after witnessing something so horrible and senseless.
America is failing at protecting its citizens. We aren’t safe in schools, places of worship, grocery stores, movie theaters, concerts, dance clubs or hospitals. There is blood on the hands of the gun lobbyists, gun manufacturers and legislators who refuse to act.
Every time one of these shootings happens, we hear the same thing from our legislators and politicians. Thoughts and prayers. Sincere condolences. I don’t want to hear any more thoughts and prayers without action. Prayers don’t stop bullets.
It is beyond past time to do something about the gun problem in America. Our leaders should have done something after the Columbine shooting. After Virginia Tech. After Sandy Hook. After Parkland. After the Pulse nightclub shooting. After Las Vegas. After Aurora. After the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. After Charleston. After Buffalo. And now after Uvalde.
I refuse to believe that Americans are OK with all of this carnage.
Talking with even the most staunch gun rights people I know, there is common ground. We agree that there should be red flag laws in every state. And those laws need to be enforced in order to take guns away from people in mental health crises and domestic abusers. We agree that gun owners should go through extensive background checks and safety training. We agree that responsible gun owners should keep their guns safely stored away from children and teens.
We should also bring back the ban on military style assault weapons. Weapons of war do not belong in the hands of average citizens. There is absolutely no need for an AR-15. None whatsoever. If you want to shoot one, join the military.
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired by all the senseless gun violence in our country. And I call on our politicians to do something and pass common sense gun legislation that would keep us all safe. I don’t want to worry about the safety of my loved ones all the time.
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