After the shooting of 13 in Virginia Beach, Gov. Ralph Northam called the VA state legislature back to consider enacting basic gun control measures. Notably, he said the devastation should bring “votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.”
Home to the NRA headquarters, VA has previously smothered such obvious bills as those proposed: a ban on silencers and high-capacity magazines, mandatory, universal background checks before gun purchases, a limit of one handgun purchase per month and prohibition of guns in city buildings. Northam also wants every lawmaker to go on record for or against his proposals during the special session. He’s the same leader who faced a scandal about a photo in blackface which he said wasn’t his, but let’s support any efforts to curb the gun epidemic. His “F” grade from the NRA is a badge of honor.
Even feeble attempts become noteworthy in light of a cover story in Time Magazine 11/29/18 about the parents of shooting victims, and how they try to comfort each other. They don’t necessarily agree on solutions, but they know the vast abyss confronting each new group of victims’ families and turn out to console them. Among the heart-breaking quotes:
“One father tells Time that for weeks after his son was killed, he set his alarm and left the house at 7:30, even though the school drop-off was no longer necessary. Another mom still catches herself reaching for her daughter’s small hand before crossing the street.” It took months for Nicole Hockley to stop calling her six year old son Dylan, killed at Sandy Hook, to dinner. “Pamela Wright-Young, whose 17-year-old son Tyrone Lawson was shot to death outside a high school basketball game in Chicago in 2013, had to consciously break her habit of walking sleepily to his bedroom to wake him up. ‘Something in you stops when your child dies,’ she says.”
Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was killed in Parkland, was elected to the Broward County school board in August after campaigning to improve school security. When 13 people died in a mass shooting in Binghamton, N.Y., “that punched through the fog” of her grief, she says. “I’d always thought that someone was going to do something about this, because we live in America and we’re taxpayers and this is a civilized country. But I realized no one’s stopping this. It’s just going to keep happening and happening. And that’s on us.”
It IS on us. And where oh where is the concerted religious voice of all denominations calling gun violence a life issue and roundly condemning these ceaseless, unnecessary deaths?