Monday, February 19, 2018
The NRA or Your Vote--Make Congress Choose
Twenty-Seven years ago, when my son was 16 years old, he was in our front yard, loading up his lawn mower for his summer job. He was approached by two boys, one he recognized, and one was a complete stranger. My son and the boy he recognized had previously had a spat over something that had happened with their two little brothers. As the stranger walked into our yard and got closer and closer, my son prepared himself for a fist fight. That’s when the stranger pulled a 38-police special and shot my son at point-blank range in the chest. It was a “hit” of sorts, over a kid’s squabble.
HIGHLY UNUSUAL for me, I took a two-hour lunch. When I arrived back at the office, everyone was standing outside the office waiting for me. This was before cell phones. As they descended on my car, I heard the words, “Your son has been shot and we have to get you to the hospital.” My whole world seemed to fall apart in that moment. They had no answers to any of my questions. It took us 30 minutes to get to the hospital and that was the single most agonizing 30 minutes of my life. I prayed, I cried, my life flashed before my eyes, and one thing I knew for sure, if my son was dead, I could not go on. I knew his father could not go on, or his Grandmother. I saw no life without him.
WHEN I finally arrived at the emergency room, it was the most surreal moment of my life. The lobby was packed with all his friends and classmates. You see, the teenagers had beepers and they had their own 911 messaging system. I was met by a doctor who said beautiful words, “He’s going to be okay. He’s a very lucky young man; the bullet missed his heart by a fraction of an inch.” With relief I went in to see my son. I will never forget the words he said, “Mama, am I going to die?” I assured him he was not. Days later, I asked him, “When did you know you weren’t going to die?” He said, “When you told me, Mama.” My heart broke at that moment because I realized my son had thought he was going to die for over two hours!
MY STORY has a happy ending. I have seen my son grow up, marry a wonderful woman, and give me wonderful grand-kids. But it stays with me. I only got a small taste of what it would be like to lose a child. But I know enough to know parents whose children have been gunned down will never feel joy again.
I HAVE seldom told this story because it’s too painful to relive. I’m telling it now in hopes you will feel so much empathy for the families that it will propel you into action to change the gun culture in our country. I know you’re thinking I’m telling this story because I am a “liberal queen” that wants to take your guns away. Not the case. I want sensible gun control measures and you all know what that entails. When this happened to my son, I could have easily turned against guns and black people because the kid that shot my son was black. I never thought of doing either. I think guns are a necessity for a person to protect their homes and property and to hunt. Other than that, I see no reason for a person to amass an arsenal of military style guns like an AR-15. That’s not what our Founding Fathers had in mind.
BUT THERE is something I want to take away, the National Rifle Association (NRA)! The obsession with gun ownership in this country is due to the culture the NRA created. It’s “cool” to have these weapons created to kill “masses of people” only. While the boy that shot my son had a powerful weapon, my son still had a chance. If he had shot him with an AR-15, my story would be quite different. The blood of all these dead children are on the hands of the NRA and all the Republicans who have been bought and paid for by the NRA to block any type of sensible gun control.
“IT’S NOT a gun issue, the man is mentally sick,” said the President who over-turned Obama’s executive order that made it harder for people adjudicated as mentally ill to buy a gun. Coincidently, this is the man that received $30 million from the NRA during his presidential campaign. “I think we need to pray, now is not the time to have a knee jerk reaction,” said Speaker Paul Ryan who has blocked sensible gun control for years and a beneficiary of NRA contributions. “Sending prayers” is all we got out of all the elected lackeys of the NRA. We didn’t hear a peep out of our junior Senator from Georgia, David Perdue, not even a prayer. He’s laying low. I have one question for him. What did the NRA get in return for the $2.5 million they gave to his Senate campaign? His phone number is 202-224-3521.
THE NRA spent $55 million last year to buy the Republican legislators. The NRA has 5 million members. Perhaps if they had only 500 members, we could change our gun culture and our children would be safer. At least you won’t have their blood on your hands, too. Also, give your elected officials a choice—the NRA, or your vote.