In my last post, I answered a reader's question about The Queen of Water: When you listen to [Maria Virginia's] stories and or those of similar background and history, do you ever feel guilty about our often over-privileged lives and how do you face/deal with that?
My answer was basically that I transform that guilt (or any other overwhelming emotion) into action. And this is also my response to the shooting tragedy. I'm transforming my sadness, horror, and anger into action.
For me, taking action often means writing books-- like The Queen of Water (indigenous issues) and Star in the Forest (immigration issues). Sometimes it means letters to my representatives or letters to the editor.
In the case of the increasing assault weapon violence in our country, I believe that an essential part of the solution is to strengthen gun control. Maybe you agree with me, or maybe you think the main approach should be to give free access to mental health care and restrict mentally ill people from obtaining weapons (which I agree is also important).
Whatever your response is, I hope that you're doing something about it now rather than just feeling awful and talking about how awful you feel.
I've signed White House petitions about gun control and written emails to my congress people (on the state and national level, along with the governor and the president.) I've also written a letter to my city's newspaper. Here's the jist of my letters:
It’s not enough to feel saddened and horrified by the shooting in Connecticut. It’s not enough to offer prayers and hugs and tears. We need to take responsibility for the gun laws in our country. With reasonable federal laws, we could have prevented this violence. Every single one of us who has a child or loves a child should feel compelled to take immediate action to ban or restrict access to weapons for mass killing. According to a CNN/ORC poll in the Washington Post in August 2012, most Americans support a ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity clips. Every single person who supports these bans should be writing to their congress people, signing petitions, and making it clear that we will no longer allow the politically powerful NRA lobby to endanger our children’s lives. Let’s not just talk about how saddened and horrified we are. Let’s take action now.
No matter what your age, you can easily find contact info for your state and national representatives online and write to them. If you don't know who they are, you can find out here. I also urge you to write to your governor and the president, who you can contact here. You can sign a White House petition for better gun control here.
Remember, your letter can be simple and short. It will only take you about twenty minutes to take this immediate action. And you will feel better when you do.
Thank you, dear readers, for your big hearts and social conscience.