I have not personally experienced gun violence but increasingly find myself feeling uneasy and a little more unsafe as each of these shootings happens.
As I watch the news over the past few days the overall sense of defeatism makes it impossible for me to remain silent any longer. The burning question that comes to mind is "Where is the outrage surrounding this issue? Where are the protests in the Streets?" We have recently seen people get up and organize around the country after the death of Trayvon Martin, a growing presence of activism to increase the minimum wage and to allow unions into large companies like McDonald's and Walmart, but why is it that despite the fact that polls have shown that the majority of citizens agree that new protections need to be instituted surrounding guns, that we are not seeing the kind of energy in the streets to insist that happens?
If Red State Legislators don't want to provide the necessary votes we have to make them with our voices and wear them down until they have no other choice. Those of us who believe something needs to be done about this problem must "be bold" as former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords would say, and just refuse to give up until we get this accomplished!
So today I went to Gabby Giffords' Americans for Responsible Solutions organization and signed onto her pledge and sent my message to Congress to ask that they take the bull by the horns this time and get it done, come hell or high water! This is just one of many small things you as an individual can do. After all you live here too! Why should your voice not be counted?
I thought as an example I'd post the letter here that I sent to Congress through the site;
I need you to do the right thing now and pass reasonable safety protections to prevent gun violence as much as is possible.
After yet another rash of recent shootings, this time in DC, there is no reason to hold this up or put it off any longer. Too many people have been irreversibly injured and killed because a minority of people selfishly want to have no restrictions or regulations on their guns. Although I have not directly experienced such atrocities (yet), I pray that we can get this fixed so that neither myself nor people I love ever become a victim of such violence, allowed to spiral out of control.
Sometimes as a member of Congress you have to do what's right even if it's not what's fun, just like you may not let your 8 year old have a motorcycle and drive it on the expressway even though he might want one.
This problem has been allowed to go too far.
We need background checks now! Not in a few years, not in a few decades! Now!
We need a way to keep track of where legal guns go when they are transferred from one owner to another. We needed this yesterday!
We need to set some limits on what types/quantities of guns and ammo are allowed for civilian use. Even though it might take time to hash out it should have been started a long time ago and that should be well on its way to a viable solution now!
Our country can no longer afford to divert attention away from this central matter concerning these deadly weapons with side-chatter about "video games", "mental health", "evil", or "nanny-state government".
No gun owner who is honest and law abiding has anything to fear of these protections being put into place.
It is a problem that any American is willing to tolerate these violent incidents and become desensitized to them.
It's very simple; safety first! There are wants (guns), and there are needs (life and self-preservation). As adults we have to do the responsible thing and put the needs of members of our society before its wants.
Gabrielle Giffords, one of your own made the ultimate sacrifice when she became a victim of gun violence, and will be sacrificing probably for the rest of her life. This issue chose her, insisting that she address it whether she wanted to or not. If she can do it, so can each of you.
If you're wondering what this has to do with you as an artist or entrepreneur; it's that the old adage is so true that "The Personal is Political, and the Political is Personal". Often we don't realize the effect we have on those around us and others' effects on us.
As artists we are in a special position to make the world better than we found it and we can be an active participant in shaping our lives and improving the lives of others. Even if you don't have money to contribute to various causes and can't get out that often each one of us can make a difference in this world we live in through letter-writing, phone calls, through social media, through blogging, and via other avenues we already use in the function of our daily lives and routines.
I found this video that features a beautiful song Overcomer with a beautiful message.With all the heavy issues facing our nation today, and whatever you're going through as an individual, just keep your eyes on the prize. Once you realize that 9/10ths of the way things are was man-made you come to know that almost anything is possible.
You can keep up with Gabby Giffords in these places as well;
Twitter: @GabbyGiffords and @ShuttleCDRKelly
You can also contact the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns comprised of over 1,000 mayors around the country from 46 states who support common sense gun legislation. They had a demonstration here in Atlanta not too long ago. I was not able to get there on that day but I hope to be able to attend another one if they do it again.