Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bloody Juice

We just saw another one unfold. It's easy to lose count of how many we've witnessed in the past few years. However, it's never easy to witness such a brutal and cruel loss of innocent lives.

This time, it happened at Fort Hood, Texas... Again. On November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood. He killed 13 people and wounded at least 30 others.

On April 2, 2014, Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood. He killed 3 people and wounded 16 others before shooting himself dead. Lopez was under evaluation for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) just before he picked up his .45 caliber pistol and opened fire.

Once again, we're reminded of the serious public health, national security, and civil rights threats posed by unfettered gun violence. And once again, we're left wondering why this keeps happening. Once again, we're left wondering why we haven't taken more action to curb this senseless loss of lives.

Ironically enough, The White House had scheduled a "Champions of Change" event today to honor those who have been working hard on gun violence prevention. One of those honored today was Nevada's own Teresa Crawford. The event went on as planned this morning, but it certainly had a more somber tone in light of yesterday's tragic event at Fort Hood.

It also felt (even) more poignant. Think about it. Fort Hood has just endured another mass shooting. The perpetrator had mental health struggles. And yet, he successfully accessed and discharged a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol. How could this happen again? And why are we letting this happen over & over again?

At today's event, Teresa discussed the campaign gun violence prevention activists have used to hold politicians like Senator Dean Heller (R-NRA), Rep. Joe Heck (R-NRA), and Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NRA) accountable for serving as "what stood in the way" between us and better gun safety standards. She and the other panelists shared stories of their own experience with gun violence, and how they've been able to turn their stories of tragedy into opportunities to build community and work on positive action to improve their communities. And yes, they also shared stories of how they're still working to overcome the immense political juice the NRA & gun industry still hold locally & nationally.

What we're now realizing is that the juice the NRA & gun industry produce is a rather bloody juice. They keep peddling fantasies of deregulation heaven. Yet when we follow their orders, we only end up with hell is nightmares. Something must change. We can't afford to continue drinking this bloody juice.

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