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Yesterday President Obama announced his plan to combat gun violence, saying, "This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. We can't put this off any longer." The Washington Post has a recap of the 23 executive actions and proposed gun control measures, or you can see the White House's full list here.
Two of our iVoices moms -- one liberal and one conservative -- respond to the President's recommendations.
Change Is Here
This week New York passed the strictest gun control laws in the country. It was my hope that President Obama and Vice President Biden would recommend similar measures for the nation. They did.
During his presentation, President Obama put gun violence on trial by noting: In the 30 days since Sandy Hook, 900 people in the U.S. have died as a direct result of a gun. By comparison, it took nine years for 1,000 troops to lose their life in the war in Afghanistan. In one month, the U.S. has seen almost as many deaths in our communities as a war zone.
I don't want to live like this anymore.
There were no surprises yesterday: From background checks to mental health reporting to potential military-style assault bans and smaller magazines, all of these measures should have been implemented years ago. My child -- our children -- deserve nothing less than the kind of place we grew up; not a place that too closely mirrors a war zone. To the president and the vice president I say bravo.
iVoice Liz Henry is an award-winning writer and blogger. She lives with her partner and their daughter in Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter @sixyearitch.
Evil Will Always Exist
President Obama made a passionate case for "doing something" yesterday, but not one of those "somethings" would have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre. Moreover, the "somethings" that were suggested legislatively have a nearly zero chance of passing in the democratically-controlled Senate. The resistance to Second Amendment infringement is not a fringe sentiment. It's pervasive and bipartisan.
Instead, we must look at the vulnerable and the fragile-minded -- are these people loved? Do they feel loved? Are they connected to family, friends, church, and school? Are our children grounded in moral training and anchored to community? These violent acts are invariably carried out by individuals who feel isolated and lonely. We must do a better job of reaching them. This is not easy. We are all so busy, distracted, self-consumed and scattered that pausing a moment, taking that extra time can seem like one more burden we just cannot bear. Well, bear it, we must. It is not our fault that this boy killed children. It is our responsibility, though, to make a difference where we can now and going forward.
Evil will always exist. The only power stronger than that evil is love. Loving someone, though, takes more time and is tougher to do than banning a gun or limiting ammunition. Loving someone might mean having an uncomfortable conversation. That's why we rush to pass laws instead of working to reach hearts. It's easier, but it doesn't work.