The Repetition of Gun Deaths

Sonya Lewis

8:12 AM (2 hours ago)

I posted the following reflection on my personal Facebook page but I thought I’d also share it with you. I’m just so sick and tired of living this way. Last night I dreamt our family moved to New Zealand.

Anyway, please be safe and thanks to all of you for working to be part of the solution.

– Sonya

It often happens that I give presentations about gun violence in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. In fact, I frequently open my remarks by commenting on the timeliness of my talk. Of course, with over 100 Americans shot to death each day (most not in highly publicized incidents) it’s always timely. Today, in the wake of last week’s Atlanta murders, I had this experience once again. I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak about the physician’s role in the prevention of gun violence to members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute along with my wonderful colleague, Dr. Jim Peggs. I was sorry that our remarks were once again in the aftermath of tragedy.

Today may be the first time that a high profile massacre actually took place *during* my talk. In fact I didn’t learn of the Boulder incident until the presentation was over and I saw the alerts on my phone. It feels disorienting and demoralizing to have taken steps to counteract a crisis while that very crisis was literally in progress. I’m not giving up, of course, but I feel disillusioned, sad, and furious. I grieve for all victims and survivors of these heinous crimes. I grieve for the soul of our nation.

We must do better than this. We do not have to live like animals, hostages to the basest instincts of hate fueled criminals who are armed with obscene, easily obtained weapons and driven by blind rage. Human beings are capable of so much more than constant trauma and senseless carnage. Our American bloodbath is not freedom; it is self inflicted shame. It is the inevitable consequence of a citizenry supersaturated with guns and propelled by grievance. It is the price innocent people pay for unfettered access to cold metal tools of destruction.

We do not have to live in perpetual fear, at the murderous mercy of violent cowards. It is not this way in other countries. It does not have to be this way here either. We must reject helplessness and complacency and we must allow ourselves to feel the raw, sick, searing outrage that gun murder demands.

Gun violence is not normal. Gun violence is not civilized.

I never want to give timely remarks ever again. Ever.