At least 31 people were killed over the weekend and 65 injured in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. The victims ranged in age from 2 to 82.
Guns, hate and mental illness. A trifecta of terribleness. On this, we can all agree.
What no one seems to agree on is how we stop the increasing numbers of mass shootings. We seem to as a government, a country, a community, as neighbors and as social media friends lost the ability to have civil and constructive conversations about dire situations that need urgent solutions.
On Sunday, the words, “love thy neighbor” kept playing over in my head. My husband, Noel and I, watched the news and read the news and all it did was make me feel sad and filled with despair.
I turned off the news and put on a playlist of music. “Why Can’t We Live Together” by Timmy Thomas from August of 1972 started playing. Tears started falling and memories of listening to that song as a young girl returned. It was during the Vietnam War which was a time of great sadness. I remembered how frightened I felt watching/ reading about the horrors of Vietnam in Life and Time magazine and on the three TV networks. I remembered my cousins and our community’s sons watching for their draft numbers to be called. Those boys were younger than my sons, who are about to turn 23.
I remembered thinking of Vietnam. How glad I was that country was so far away. What do the young children of today think about these mass shootings? Here in this great country of ours, it is a real possibility that a simple trip to school, a mall, a movie, a festival, a family vacation or a store could end with a mass shooting. Could end their life or their mother’s, a baby sister’s, or their best friend’s. Could end with a scene so terrible that life as they knew it would never be the same.
At the office, we were talking about how in times of great sadness music moves us so deeply. Aaron Davidson, our graphic designer, reminded me of the remake of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” that was created after 9/11.
I have always loved that song and it never fails to move me. It might be my all-time favorite. “What’s going on?” It’s a question we all need to be asking. And it is an answer, those whom we elected to serve us on all sides should work to answer. As the song says, “We’ve got to find a way to bring some understanding here today.”
Is it too simple to say that one of the reasons America has for so long been the greatest country in the world was the success of our two-party Republican and Democrat democracy where from the extreme left and the far right we USED to be able to find a way to meet in the middle? When we meet in the middle a lot of great things happen along the way. To stop mass shootings will require massive action and cooperation amongst the powers that be. From my seat of limited power, I will continue to think and pray about it. I will attempt to have meaningful, not argumentative, conversations with others to see what they think. I will watch for leaders who seek solutions and pass new laws. And I will vote. Be safe.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.