Another Tragedy, Another Chance - by Greer Clem

The summer after my freshman year in college, I returned home to L.A. and worked for a communications firm. One of our new clients at the time was the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, a group started by the parents of children who were killed in Newtown. Bear in mind, at the time that I was working for them, the shooting had only happened eight months earlier. Everything was very fresh, not that that level of loss heals with time. One of my assignments was to make bios for all the kids who were killed that day. I watched all interviews and news segments done on the shooting, read all the public statements, the letters released by grieving parents. And sometimes at lunch, I would go down to the parking lot where my car was and I would just sit there and cry. I didn't understand, and still don't, how something so blatantly, ferociously awful could occur in my country.

Today is another day where I want to sit in my car with the seat warmer on and shut out the world from my warm cocoon. But I can't. For one thing, no matter how hard I try, no level of oblivion would eliminate what has already happened. For another, to make myself numb would be disrespectful to all those whose lives have been irrevocably changed by gun violence. Instead, I and my fellow Americans, have to pick up the mantle once again and carry it for those who cannot. We cannot put it down, we cannot rest. We cannot forget that gun violence occurs every day in the greatest country in the world and that we have the ability to constrict it.

It all comes down to convenience. I will not delve into the 2nd Amendment here; for those interested, I have already written several pieces on the subject. I will just say this: is the convenience of easily purchasing a gun worth thousands of lives? Is it worth the lives of the 26 children lost December 14, 2012? Is it worth the 50 and counting lost last night? Something needs to change and that needs to be the ease with which people purchase guns. If that subjects responsible gun owners to a more onerous process, tough. That is the price we will pay for keeping our citizens safe; that is the way we will earn our 2nd Amendment rights.

I grew up skeet shooting and deer hunting with my father. I want to say that I had to carry an empty gun for 3 years and treat it as though it was loaded before I was allowed to have one bullet. There are few who appreciate gun safety and responsibility more than my father, and I am extremely fortunate he imparted that on me. Now, not every gun owner should have to carry an empty gun for 3 years, but they should all have to understand the capacity of the weapon in their hands. Mandatory gun safety and education, universal background checks, and increased regulation of private gun sales are the answer to gun violence.

Let's not go another day waiting for the next mass fatality before we make a change. Let's not mark this day in our calendars as another day where we failed to fix the system; let's start today. I mean really, truly start working towards a safer country. Through all the violence, my belief that our country can do better has not been tarnished, and it is that hope that I will fall back on once again.

Greer Clem