To the editor:
The first week of February was National Gun Violence Survivors week. It marks the time of year that gun deaths in the U.S. surpass those experienced by other high income countries in the entire year. As awful as that milestone is, it can’t begin to convey the resonance any of this has for families whose lives are actually part of that statistic. Though the shooting that became part of my family’s story feels as unreal to me now as it did the day it happened, the events of Dec. 14, 2012, are never far from my thoughts. The murder of 20 little first-grade children, and six adults who died trying to save them, included my cousin’s son, Daniel. Perpetrated by a deeply disturbed young man armed with an assault rifle, it remains a singular stain on the history of this country. The scene inside the school was indescribable. Each little child was shot between 3 and 11 times, and of course none of them had a chance of surviving. I have never asked, but I honestly don’t know how my cousin and his wife got through those first days and nights.
Of course, all Americans are aware that mass shootings have continued at a rate that makes them seem almost commonplace. But since Sandy Hook, there has not been one single piece of federal gun safety legislation, in spite of overwhelming public support. There is no reason to continue to live like this, and we mustn’t. We now are at a point where 58 percent of American adults or someone they care for have personally experienced gun violence in their lifetime. I truly believe that common sense gun safety legislation is a fundamental part of the solution. I would urge my fellow citizens to insist that their leaders act, before even more of our families are shattered by gun violence.