Events & news

The United States of Gun Violence

“I want to live in a country where my presence is not seen by some as an existential threat….I want to walk past the school where my son will attend kindergarten next year and see a place that will keep him safe. But this is impossible. We live in a country that has failed us. Where legislation is written — and erased — by the gun lobby. Where manipulations and distortions of Second Amendment rights prevent politicians from enacting any semblance of sensible laws that would at least attempt to prevent this. Where claims about what our Founders wanted supersede the slaughter we see right in front of us….There is no other country in the world where this happens. And the fact that it does happen, and happens with such frequency, is reflective of a choice that has been made.” ~ Clint Smith, in The Atlantic

Yesterday I watched in horror as the news unfolded on the school massacre of the day — this time at Michigan State University, my alma mater. Three dead and five critically wounded, all students with bright futures ahead. Adding to the heartbreak is the fact that one of the dead was a graduate of Clawson High School, also my alma mater.

We can spend weeks trying to analyze a gunman’s mental illness, deranged motives, and criminal background — we’re all licensed psychologists, right? But when all is said and done, there’s no making sense of any of these massacres. We just want them to STOP. Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States — and our lawmakers can’t seem to do a thing about it. God help America. Somebody help America.

All day, I texted back and forth with two of my former MSU room mates, each of us trying to process the tragedy while battling our own disbelief and disgust. We tried to go back in time and imagine ourselves as Spartan students running for our lives while an active shooter roamed our campus. We didn’t want to imagine seeing our classmates or dorm mates covered in blood. This is the end of innocence, we said.

Our country isn’t safe for our kids and grandkids — or any of us. When you can’t send your kid to school or shop at a local market or go to church or synagog without wondering if you’ll be gunned down like a deer in the woods, you are NOT living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. You’re living in a country that covets and protects gun ownership. Period.

This must stop. This is a call for change. I don’t believe that “the right to bear arms” outweighs the safety of my precious kids and grandkids. Or me. This is not 1775 and we are not wearing tricorn hats and traveling on horseback daily through enemy territory. And enough with the “thoughts and prayers” cliche. Even the parents of the deceased victims are tired of it. Isn’t everyone tired of feeling like we’re moving targets for the next massacre of the day? ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.


  • Peggy Ridgway

    What can we do to overcome the powerfull gun lobby?
    How can we rid the country of guns?
    We can’t even ban the sale of automatic rifles.
    I am frustrated. Somehow we must try to outnumber the gun lobby.
    I have much family in this country. Some day one of them, or me, will be a victim.
    Maybe we can get everyone to wear an armband that says BAN THE GUN LOBBY!

    • Cindy La Ferle

      Peggy, I am at a loss too. I am becoming more active. I just sent more money to Moms Demand Action, but that’s just for starters. I am speaking out more, and no longer bullied by the selfish, scary people — even those in my neighborhood — who care more about protecting and keeping their guns than they care about human life. We have to get to work.

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