I recently finished reading Elie Wiesel’s Night. If you’re unfamiliar with this title, suffice it to say, it is the story of one man’s intense suffering, and how it moved him to write – to tell his story and the story of those that suffered alongside him. My biggest takeaway (of which there were many) from his words, was this: Do not fall silent. Do not allow injustice to be swept under the rug. I have a tattoo on my rib cage that commands the same thing, however, it’s kind of hard to see and I am always glad for the reminder.
For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive the future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would not only be dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.
– Eli Wiesel, Night
When a tragedy occurs, I am often moved to act, but quickly lose momentum, as action requires an understanding of what exactly it is I’m supposed to do. After the shooting at Pulse, I started many letters to my state senators and then promptly deleted them, because really, who am I to pretend I understand all the hoity-toity goings-on in Washington? But today, I started again. Below is what I came up with. If you are so moved, please feel free to use this letter to send to your own senator.
Dear Senator ________,
I don’t know the proper way to begin a letter written with disbelief as its motivation. A heartbroken disbelief that 53 members of congress voted for no further gun-related restrictions for individuals on terror watch lists.
I won’t pretend to understand all the inner workings of the amendment in question, as I’m sure it is highly complex and colored with all sorts of political equivocation. All I can express to you is what I do understand, and that is as a woman, as a mother, as an educator – as a human being, I am sickened that elected officials refuse to even begin a conversation about re-evaluating how our country deals with firearms and firearm violence.
Senator _______, I am not speaking about revoking the rights of Americans to own small handguns used for home defense or rifles used for sport, but I am crying out for something to be done to keep assault weapons far, far away from our communities. It does not escape me that the hot-button AR-15 functions in the exact same manner as a traditional semi-automatic handgun or hunting rifle, however access to unlimited magazines for these or any weapon, continues to baffle me.
I urge you to take a stand. To piggyback on the bipartisan progress made by the Mental Health Reform Act and begin a new chapter in our nation’s history. One that focuses on supporting those who may be at-risk for committing gun-related crimes and getting to the root of our country’s gun violence epidemic.
I won’t take up any more of your time, I appreciate your willingness to read my position and give thoughtful consideration to this issue. I will do the same when casting my ballot, come November.