Around the first of the year, I received a text from my oldest son. There was a shooter situation at his school. They had moved the desks in front of the door. His class was hiding, and he was scared. I was scared. In that moment all I wanted to do was to go get him. I think that as a parent in that moment there is nothing that I would not have done to protect my child. Nothing. I would have traded places with my son in a heartbeat. Who wouldn’t? Thankfully, the shooter was unrelated to the school and was apprehended without incident. There have been at least 27 other times this year that has not been the case.
The problem is that outside of that moment, people seem to lose interest in doing anything about the fact that this year there have already been 27 school shootings. That is more school shootings than weeks so far.
That does not even count the number of other mass shootings at places such as your local church or grocery store. In the moment we feel great sadness, outrage, and a determination to come together and do something. Then that moment passes, and somehow, I guess we think that it won’t happen again. Finally, our thoughts and prayers were enough. Our moment of collective outrage somehow accomplished its goal.
Except it didn’t, doesn’t and won’t. Not today. Not tomorrow. If the visual of first graders being gunned down in their classroom is not enough to bring you to action, I honestly do not want to have to experience what might.
So, here we stand again with thoughts and prayers. Instead of talking about solutions, we fight over votes and money. The more that we fight over gun restrictions the more money we put in the pockets of gun manufacturers. I want to talk about actual solutions. Where can we agree? I think we can all agree that we need to do something. Let’s start with mental health. The gun lobby always points out that people kill people, not guns. So, let’s address that. We live in a country where there is poor access to mental health support. There are not enough providers. Insurance does not always cover the services and the process can be difficult to manage. In fact, often those who need it the most are the least equipped to manage the process of accessing treatment. Let’s address that. It will make a difference; it will move the needle.
We can’t let this moment pass without taking action.
David Roth is a member of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee and Idaho’s Democratic nominee to the United States Senate.