How many times have you heard the tired cliche that “it can’t happen here?”
Many people want to believe that gun violence, whether in the form of a school shooting or a murder on the street, doesn’t really affect them and doesn’t really affect their own community.
How wrong they are.
There have been hundreds of major incidents since the 1990s. In Omaha, our community has experienced shootings in our mall, in our schools, and on our streets. Gun violence takes tens of thousands of lives in our country every year – there have been a staggering 1.5 million gun-related deaths in America since statistics were first kept in 1968.
I am thankful the Parkland students have chosen to come to Omaha and share their message, but I am also deeply saddened that they had to come at all.
It is unfair that these students, who are still dealing with the pain and trauma of witnessing their friends and classmates being gunned down at school, have taken this fight upon their shoulders. Once again we adults are leaving a mess for our kids to clean up.
But I have no doubt in my mind that these students are making a difference. They are not standing by while more of their friends are harmed, waiting for the adults to take action. I, for one, am not going to let them fight alone.
Kara’s daughter, Sabina (center) with student activists. Sabina has been an outspoken advocate for gun control in Omaha.
We absolutely can pass common-sense gun safety regulations and make changes, right now, to protect our schools, churches, and public places, and most importantly, to protect our children.
Gun violence in our country is an epidemic of multiple causes. We must attack it from multiple angles and through increased community support. We need resources for abused children, domestic violence survivors, mental health treatment and yes, common-sense gun safety laws.
We must come together now to pass universal background checks. We can institute mandatory waiting periods, close loopholes, and make it harder for dangerous people to get their hands on weapons. We can also stop the sale of weapons that shoot a large number of bullets in a short amount of time – these weapons of war were designed to do one thing, and one thing only – to kill quickly and effectively.
We also must stop partisan divisions from galvanizing support around these issues. The majority of Americans support common-sense gun control legislation. It’s time to work together to come up with solutions before another child is killed when their school is turned into a war zone.