'90 percent of Americans "support universal background checks" for gun purchases.'So I'm going to take a chance with you today and ask: why are existing bills (Red Flag Laws and Universal Background Checks) not moving faster through our legislative branch? As a children's book writer/illustrator and educator, it's infuriating to me to watch our children being traumatized when steps can be taken to reduce gun violence now.
- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, verified as true by Politifact
Living in Scotland turned me into a political creature. When we first moved there, whenever people heard our 'American' accents, they asked us about guns. (Yeah, it got old.) But Stan and I had strong opinions to share on the topic. Living in Atlanta, we heard gunfire so often, we only called the police when we knew it was close - one or two streets over. We even had a bullet lodged in the side of our house just below our bedroom window. Part of the reason we moved was to get away from guns.
But lots of things changed in America after we moved to Scotland, upsetting things. I attended my first political march in Edinburgh. (My protest sign went viral through the BBC and the Edinburgh Evening News.) And I attended a second march. I began to really pay attention to what was going on in America. I learned to defend my opinions well. I created artwork to support my beliefs - you see it in my newsletter each week.
But it felt strange to be away when our home seemed to need us so badly, like I was supposed to be fighting with my feet on the ground - American soil. I suppose it was similar to after 9/11, when so many people moved to New York City to show solidarity and rebuild the city and its damaged soul. The call was strong. Part (one part) of the reason I felt the need to return to the US was to add my voice or simply to be one more body added to a crowd to show support.
So, when I learned about the Moms Demand Action rally taking place in Fountain Park this past Saturday in Rock Hill, in conjunction with gun legislation marches all over the country, I had to go. I made another sign and Stan took his camera—these are his images.
For instance, we weren't comfortable when 10-year-old Chanze talked about having to do gun raid exercises at his school every month—when he shared that his school often plays the sound of gunfire over the intercom system to train the students on what to do if a shooter enters their building.
And we most certainly weren't comfortable when Betty, a local mother told us about losing both of her sons to gun violence, and how the gun that took her youngest son's life is still out there changing hands, still doing harm - something the Red Flag Law could prevent.
We learned how to text Senator Lindsey Graham to demand action.
Thoughts and prayers aren't enough - they were never enough - not after the first shooting and not after each and every mass shooting since then. Our legislators must do something now.
Meanwhile, this is what I can do... create a blog post, create artwork, be present at a march, and vote of course. I hope you will too. Because, if our current legislators won't do something about the terror our country now lives in because of gun violence, it's time to vote them out of office. Contact your lawmakers by texting CHECKS to 644-33.
Thank you for reading.