Dear Editor,

Here we go yet again. Another school shooting, resulting in 17 lives lost, many others wounded, and so many more deeply traumatized. And this was the 18th such shooting in the last 45 days. Think about that. On average, one every 60 hours. Innocent lives, most of them children, being brutally and randomly cut short on a regular basis. The frequency of such incidents and the deaths resulting from them is tragically unique here in America – this does not happen in any other country in the world. We are truly and shamefully “exceptional” in this way.

And our political leaders (at least those in the current majority party, backed by huge donations from the NRA) always say it’s “not time yet to talk about this,” while offering their “thoughts and prayers” for victims, families, and communities struggling to cope with the most recent tragedy. Yet no concrete actions are taken by them to even try to address this issue in a reasonable and solution-focused manner. And so this vile cycle repeats itself, over and over.

This is a national disgrace.

Surely we can put aside our differences and finally come together as Americans and work to find practical ways of reducing the frequency and lethality of such incidents – ways which do not infringe upon the legitimate rights of responsible gun owners. Some possible changes which seem worthy of consideration would likely include: 1) devoting more resources to enforcing existing gun safety laws, and to addressing the various and multi-leveled mental health issues involved; 2) banning assault-style semi-automatic weapons, which are military-grade weapons designed solely to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible; and 3) implementing universal background checks – no exceptions, no “loopholes.”

Would any of these infringe upon anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights in any way? Could any of these serve to reduce the number of school shootings and related fatalities as we move forward?

We must start meaningfully discussing these issues with an eye toward making things better. And our politicians must awaken from their moral paralysis and finally step up and become part of this process, as they are the ones with the power to actually change things. And I am hopeful that responsible gun owners will also begin stepping up and speaking out own these issues, as they appear to be a reasonable yet rather quiet majority whose words may carry particular “weight” with those in power. Do we not owe such an effort to our children, our grandchildren, our fellow citizens, and our nation? How can we as a nation keep turning away from this and doing nothing? Are we not then complicit in allowing this cycle of horrific violence and loss of life to continue?

There’s an old saying (paraphrased a bit) that applies here: “You can’t wrestle your demons to the ground until you put your hands on them.” Isn’t it time to finally put our hands on this particular “demon” plaguing our nation? We can do this together… can’t we?

Respectfully submitted,

Dale E. Buonocore,