Gun control

If you haven't heard, President Obama delivered a speech today on gun control (see below for the link), and will deliver a State of the Union address (also focusing on gun control) on Thursday.

I am only 29 years old, but I have watched too many breaking news updates about mass shootings. The first one I can remember watching happened at Columbine High School. I was in eighth grade. Lockdown procedures became normal throughout my high school and college days. The day after the Virginia Tech shooting, I was in an English class at UNK--and one brave student asked the instructor if he would please shut and lock the door once class started (a request I wanted to make but feared making). I was teaching ninth grade English in Ogallala when the news of the shooting at Millard South High School--in my own state--broke out, and I had to calm my students' unease. I was teaching junior English in Gretna when we learned about the Sandy Hook massacre...when 20 first graders---the same age as my two babies--were killed. My students were angry and sad and whatever innocence they had left, was gone. Again and again as a teacher and a mother, I've had to talk to my children (my own and my students) about gun violence. It's too much. When I learned the news of the San Bernadino shooting, I honestly felt nothing. The lump in my throat I usually get when hearing of tragedies was not there. I listened to the news as if it were any other news update. Nine hours later, on my way home from work I realized the tragedy of this: We have become apathetic to gun violence, and apathy will perpetuate violence.

I encourage you to shake off the apathy; allow yourself to feel the pain of parents whose babies have been stolen from them at the hand of someone else holding a gun. Allow yourself to be shaken to the core. Stay critically informed and do not allow yourself to be carried away by "either-or" thinking; learn to tune out the idiots. Move beyond partisan politics. Figure out where you stand on this. Then do something. Write to your government officials--send letter after letter. Your government officials will likely not write you back (I've yet to hear from Pete Ricketts...), and your letter may not do anything--but at least you are taking some form of action.

Consider watching the President's address from today and tune in for the State of the Union on Thursday. His suggestions for ways to curb gun violence are practical, logical, and constitutional. And for the love, please don't let yourself become apathetic to this pressing issue.

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