From time to time I use this blog not to opine on legal marketing, but as a vehicle for my voice. That is what this post is about today. I am not anti-gun, I never have been. I am, however, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a wife. I cannot shake what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week. We have a problem in this country that we continue to avoid. While others look to Congress, or the White House, or their local legislatures for change, I say the change begins with me. With you. With us.
For those who don’t know my background, before my career in legal marketing I was a lobbyist. A gun control lobbyist. As in Handgun Control, Inc. and The Center to Prevent Gun Violence. I was a Republican, working for a Republican, trying to make a difference.
I was in the White House the day President Clinton signed The Brady Bill. I even have a personalized signed copy hanging in my office.
I was there when we got the news about Luby’s, Columbine, Waco, Ruby Ridge, 101 California. I stood alongside the California Attorney General in Sacramento as we pushed new legislation, gave testimony before the Senate and Assembly. I walked the halls in Sacramento with victims as we worked to enhance our state gun control laws.
Nothing has changed.
I never wanted to ban guns, but sensible gun control policies seemed a no brainer. The gun lobby was so powerful back then. The divide seemed to be rural vs. urban, so the party lines were not as well defined as they are today. The passions around the issues were so great that my car’s license plate was protected, least someone try and gain access to where I lived.
I lived and breathed gun violence for five years. I was burned out before any of you knew what an AR-15 was.
For many years I have just walked through these incidents in a haze. It’s the same thing over and over again:
Shooting > Press conferences > Hand ringing and blame > Legislation introduced > Weakened bill passed > Back slapping and self-praise > Move on until the next shooting.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
With our 20,000+ laws, and new ones passing after every mass incident, it just keeps getting worse. What we are doing doesn’t work. And the rhetoric and biased facts each side sends out doesn’t help the situation.
The majority of gun deaths in the United States are due to suicide. Homicide is next. Mass shootings, which gain the media’s attention, number a small percentage of the homicides. While every death is not preventable, many are. And we CAN do something about the ability to commit these mass shootings. They will only get worse, as these perpetrators are inspired by other incidents.
I have hope today.
I have hope that the Millennials and iGens will do what the Baby Boomers and GenX could not.
These young people have inherited a gift that they do not want, and they will return it with force. While we look at these generations as being too vocal and disrespectful, they have a voice and a strength and a power. And they have the numbers.
The youngest Millennials turn 18 this year. Just in time for the mid-term elections. And the iGen rising up behind them will be a powerful addition, just as the number of Baby Boomers begins to drop.
We need to stand up to the gun lobbies and have stronger laws.
But, we also need to stand up the ACLU.
And Big Pharma.
We have a big problem. A problem that, along with the national debt, we are passing along to future generations.
So my hope is not with Congress, or my state legislature, or in a presidential order. My hope is with these young men and women. They might not all have a vote, but they have a very strong and collective voice.
I look forward to the next election when the greatest (in numbers) generation goes to the polls.
I look forward to watching the Millennials take over in state houses and Congress. I look forward to their influence on who makes it to the White House. And I look forward to voting them into the White House.
Today I am still sad. I grieve for these parents and children. I grieve for the law enforcement agents who missed and/or ignored the signs of a deeply troubled youth who was crying out for help.
We can do better.
You can do better.
I can do better.
He did better.