The photograph sits on my desk, because it captures a sweet moment in time. My grandson Mac who was not more than three sits on a sofa with me. We are enjoying a Mo Willems book and both of us are clearly enthralled. Mac’s arm is cocked as if he is about to elbow me in a silent gesture of camaraderie and shared delight. His other hand is curled under his bare foot no doubt itching some errant mosquito bite. He is almost in my lap but not quite. It was one of those snuggled in cozy moments that only a good book can create. The moment is etched so clearly in my mind, I can almost hear his hearty laugh. It is hard to believe that Mac is now eight and reading books all on his own.
As my gaze lingers on the photo, I feel full and grateful for all the moments I have shared with my grandchildren. Then suddenly my eyes fill with tears, because I think of all the parents, grandparents, siblings and friends who now have only photos and memories of the 17 beautiful beings who tragically lost their lives on February 14, 2018. Families and friends who will now remember Valentines Day not with candy and flowers but with gut wrenching memories of terror, anger, and an unimaginable loss.
I sit with the sadness but inevitably it reaches a flashpoint and morphs into anger again. I am so, so angry at those who believe their constitutional right to carry a gun supersedes the unalienable rights of our children and teachers to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I am angry that my former colleagues are being asked to arm themselves or worse be ready to take a bullet for their students. I am angry with the NRA that once focused on education and gun safety, but has now become a weapon of mass destruction in itself. It’s primary purpose seems to be dismantling any commonsense measure to study or diminish gun violence in this country. I am furious with politicians who put their own job security ahead of our children’s safety. Politicians who dip their greedy hands into the corrupt pockets of the NRA and then give us their lame, “thoughts and prayers.” I am angry at our President who also thrives on NRA donations and once said to NRA members, “You came through for me. Now I’ll come through for you.” When does he plan to “come through” for our children?!
My anger has now grown to the point that I must do something with it, or it will surely fester inside of me. I do not want to spit vitriol over social media, and I am weary of lamely reposting articles about commonsense gun laws. I feel it is time to turn my anger into action. My anger will write letters to all my representatives. My anger will guide my decisions at the ballot box. My anger will open my wallet to organizations and candidates who support commonsense gun restrictions. My anger will march in the streets. My anger will no longer be quiet, and mark my words my anger will NOT forget! ~Catherine Hause