Last night I was perusing the CNN Exit Polls and discovered that 59% of midterm voters polled support stricter gun control measures. I was sad to see that number so low, especially after all the amazing activism of young people after the Parkland Shooting and countless other senseless mass shootings.
Then today, just after reading about the latest shooting at a nightclub in California, I received a text from my sister. It started out saying that my niece Eileen was dancing at the Borderline last night … the nightclub where the shooting I’d just been reading about happened.
my heart stopped. what if?
I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and went back to reading the text. She and the friends she was dancing with escaped with their lives after the first shots were fired. They have since discovered that at least one high school friend is among those killed.
Active shooter drills were not a thing when I was in school. I guess I should be grateful that my niece and her friends knew what to do in the moment. Eileen told me that she’s not hurt, except for rug burns on her knees from crawling her way out to escape, close to the ground. Of course her spirit is wounded. As should ours be. We allow this to continue to happen.
Yes, it’s a cliche that it’s different when something like this happens close to home. And this certainly did. My other niece lives down the hill from the club. My sister is a professor up the hill from the club. The shooter is from the town where they went to high school and where their little sister goes to middle school.
Given the lack of common sense gun laws, this will happen close to you one day too.
We must pray. We must act. We must join together. We must make gun violence stop. Now. Seriously. Now.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, please read this column written by Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, two of the students from Parkland, that appeared in the Washington Post the day before election day and a few days before my niece escaped the Borderline with her life.
Over eighteen months before the shooting at our school, 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Four months before Parkland, 58 people were killed at a concert in Las Vegas. And on Oct. 27, 11 people were killed at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. In all that time, not a single federal law has been passed that addresses gun violence. Not a single law. Our nation’s leaders have failed to protect citizens where they live, where they learn and where they pray.