I love, love, LOVE the start of a new year and all the possibilities it brings.
The fresh vibe swirling about always kicks my mental cogs in motion, inspiring me to create long lists of goals for the year–everything from big picture ideas to minutia: places to go, races to run, books to read, acts of kindness to perform, things to learn, projects to launch.
This year is decidedly different, though. This year I have only written one word on my list.
That word is courage.
You see, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and the mall shooting in Portland a few days earlier, and more recently the horror in New York in which several volunteer firefighters were gunned down while trying to extinguish a blaze, I have been able to think of little else besides, What is it going to take to stop the gun madness in our country?
The only answer is courage.
The courage to stand up, face the bully in the room and say, “Enough is enough.”
The courage to say, “Your right to bear arms does not trump my right to live in a civilized society devoid of unnecessary fear”—fear that some coward or mentally unstable person might wield an automatic handgun or a high-powered assault rifle and kill me or my family and friends at a shopping mall, a movie theater, political rally, school, or ____ (fill in the blank)…the list goes on and on.
The courage to say, “I will take a stand not only for myself, but more importantly, for my daughter and all the other children in our country who do not yet have a voice in this conversation.”
The courage to rise up and take action rather than waiting for somebody else to do it for me.
The courage to make it a priority and not become complacent, dulled by time and distance—at least until the next deadly shooting.
And the unfortunate and horrific truth is that unless we make changes to our gun laws and culture, there will be more shootings just like Sandy Hook Elementary School and Virginia Tech, and Columbine (to name but a few). There will be more carnage. There will be more families grieving the unthinkable. There will be more darkness.
Unless we have courage.
Courage is often born in the darkest of dark places for me—a place of sorrow, frustration or anger. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that “rage” makes up more than half of the word courage.
My mama bear hackles are raised to the nth degree knowing that twenty innocent 6 and 7 year old children were slaughtered, along with their teachers and administrator–people I hold in the highest esteem. I have officially reached my tipping point. My rage is now transforming into courage.
My gut (and my email inbox) tells me that it is for you too, that there are far more people in this country who want things to change than don’t; who believe it makes more sense, metaphorically speaking, to put teachers in gun stores than guns in teacher’s desk drawers.
For change to occur though, we must make it clear to our leaders that as individuals, while we may have been quiet and complacent in the past, we will no longer tolerate what is happening in our nation. Our voices and our collective power as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, will be far more potent than any rifle-toting lobbying group—if we come together with courage and meld our strengths into one indefatigable group.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope to continue transforming my rage into courage so I can share concrete ways each of us can help bring positive change to our nation. I most likely won’t do it on this blog, but you can be certain that I will let you know what I am up to and where you can find me. Let’s just say a Million Mom (and their Amazing Men) March might not be out of the question.
For now I have but two simple things to ask of you:
1) If you agree that “Enough is enough,” simply leave your comment below and let me know. It doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. Just let me know.
2) If you want to see an end to gun madness in our country as much as I do, share this idea far and wide in any way you know how…on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Digg, email, and good old fashioned word of mouth. Reblog, repeat, and rally.
You may not think your words have much power, but they will continue to fuel the fire burning deep inside me. And hopefully my fire will help ignite another person’s fire, and that fire will ignite another person’s fire, and then eventually we will look around and suddenly realize we are living in a nation filled with light again rather than fear and darkness.
@Becky Green Aaronson aka A Mom on a Mission