By Jeri Bonavia WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort <wave@WaveEdFund.org>
Every detail out of Charleston this morning has been horrifying. But this brought me to my knees: As nine people were gunned down around her in their place of worship, a little five-year-old girl had to play dead in order to survive.
Condolences from WAVE supporters have been pouring in, and we’re going to make sure the families in Charleston know Wisconsin stands, and weeps, with them. But we cannot stop there.
There have been too many words, too many moments of silence. This is a time for action. And our own Senator Ron Johnson has both the authority as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and the moral obligation to act.
The fact is, this racially charged mass shooting — in one of America’s oldest African American churches — isn’t “inexplicable” or “unfathomable” as some in the media are saying.
Just ask the citizens of Oak Creek and those left behind after a gunman opened fire on families praying in their Sikh Temple, killing six people.
No, this tragedy was entirely predictable, and unless we stop making it ludicrously easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, it won’t be the last. So I challenge Sen. Johnson and every elected leader in Wisconsin to ask themselves one simple question:
Are you willing to lead a society in which our children must learn to play dead to survive, or will you finally take the steps we already know can end this epidemic and save lives?
My heart breaks with each new detail I read, but it only crystalizes my commitment to this work. I refuse to sit by while churches, playgrounds, even our own homes become places we must fear for our lives. Thank you for doing your part.
Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort Educational Fund is Wisconsin’s only statewide grassroots organization solely dedicated to reducing gun violence, injuries and deaths. Through research, education and advocacy, WAVE raises awareness about firearm violence, provides up to date information to the public and to policy makers, and promotes commonsense gun violence prevention measures.