It’s been a little over a year since I first heard Susan Orfanos tell people to keep their prayers and actually do something about gun control. You see, she had just lost her son in a shooting at a country bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was one of a dozen people mowed down at the bar that day.
Her words have stayed with me every single day, especially in the aftermath of still more gun violence, whether it be in Pensacola, Pearl Harbor, El Paso, Dayton or anywhere else. I think of Susan Orfanos’s words when some well-meaning person offers “thoughts and prayers” to family and friends of the victims and what might be a more comforting and meaningful promise.
Thoughts are nice. Prayers are fine. Go ahead, think, pray. But may I suggest doing something else in conjunction with thinking. I’ve decided that if I’m in a position to express support I’m going to change my promise from “thoughts and prayers,” to “thoughts and ACTIONS.” Actions can be almost anything that addresses the issue. Actions can include having frank discussions with your kids about being watchful and non-violent ways to handle circumstances that may lead to anger, sadness, feelings of isolation. Actions could include writing to our representatives imploring them to have the courage to stand up to the NRA and to gun companies and pass the type of legislation that might make a difference in reducing crimes involving firearms, snuffing out the ability to buy assault weapons and closing the egregious gun show loophole that makes it easy to pick up a weapon without a background check. Personalize each communication with the name or names of victims of gun violence and maybe a photo so their once-alive eyes will stare down the cowards, if they even bother to read what we’ve sent. Work to toss the spineless saps out of office–replaced by those who are committed and brave enough enough to pass legislation with high enough caliber to make a difference.
Everyone has different levels of what actions might be comfortable for them. Any action is positive action. No one is trying to take firearms appropriate for hunting or self and home defense out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. But actions must be taken to remove them from those with a history of violence. Actions must be taken to eliminate the availability to the general public assault weapons and those designed for the military. They have no other purpose than to kill people.
Really, action can be anything that helps make our world just a little bit safer. It’s the least we can do for all the victims and their survivors like Susan Orfanos.
There are five types of rifle actions: bolt action, level action, pump action, semi-automatic action and break action. There must be at least that many versions of positive action to reduce gun violence. If not, then we don’t have a prayer. Think… and pray about that. Amen.