A Mother’s Plea
I saw a firefly tonight, and it took me back to a moment of perfect happiness. A summer evening when my son leaped through a corn field, his laughter ringing in the sultry air, chasing flickering bugs under the stars. For a mother, there is no better sight than your joyful child, no better sound than your child’s laugh.
Over the past few weeks, we have watched mass shooters rip children away from their mothers, from their fathers, and from all who love them. We have sobbed, we have grieved, we have raged, we have vowed and promised. We do these things after every mass shooting. And yet nothing changes.
Memories of my son have flooded my mind recently. Memories other mothers will not have because their children will never grow up. Their sons and daughters will forever be young. Parents will never become grandparents. No one will buy a wrist corsage for prom, or help with studying for the ACT, or sit at the kitchen table looking through college applications. There will be no graduations, no weddings. Just empty chairs, and birthdays spent at graves.
This is my plea as a mother, as a grandmother. I beg you, I implore you, I need you to hear me. No more death, no more destruction, no more thoughts and prayers. There are people right now who have the power to help keep our children safe, but they refuse. They take their blood money from the NRA, they blame doors and video games and music, and children keep dying.
The worst part of all of this madness is how, after every mass shooting where the weapon used is an AR-15, sales of AR-15s go up. Rather than honor the dead, people honor the shooter. Oh, they lower their heads or wear a ribbon, but they still run out and buy the same firearm that slaughters so many innocents.
Why are the pleas of mothers falling on deaf ears? Why did a random white man in Uvalde tell a grief-stricken great-grandfather to “stop living in the past”?
Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered in Uvalde on May 24. Less than two weeks ago, this great-grandfather lost the light of his life, and instead of empathy and love, he has to hear a white man tell him the horror of that day is “in the past.” As if it happened eons ago. As if it doesn’t matter that more children are dead.
I am writing this on June 5, and there have been at least eighteen mass shootings so far this year. Baltimore, Milwaukee, Inglewood, St. Louis, Corsicana and Frost (Texas), Sacramento, Baltimore again, Fayettville, Norfolk, Sacramento again, Duluth, Mountain View (Arkansas), Biloxi, Clarkston (Georgia), Buffalo, Uvalde, Stanwood (Michigan), Tulsa, and most recently, Ames (Iowa).
How many innocent people must die before the senators who are owned by the NRA do the right thing? How many more parents have to bury their children? How many loved ones must continue to suffer?
How many more times in 2022 will some “pro-life” politician offer meaningless thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting? Will Mitch McConnell stand on the Senate floor and read another bible passage while refusing to pass gun laws that could stem this horrific tide? Will Ted Cruz move on to blaming the victims for not shooting back?
My plea, all of our pleas, are never heard by the people who need to hear us. They’re like that random white man, telling us to stop living in the past. The problem is we have so many mass shootings, the pain is never in the past. The pain is on our skin, like a coat made of sorrow.
The pain never goes away.