March For Our Lives

David Hogg, (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Most of my followers have heard me mention a time or two that my youngest brother was a victim of gun violence. Fifteen years ago this summer, he was shot in the head inside his home. There was no national coverage, no thoughts and prayers from politicians. He was just another gun death among the thousands that occur in the US every year, most so routine that we never hear about them.

These days, there are too many to report.
Mass shootings 2018 to date: 69
School shootings 2018 to date: 12

Approximately 33,000 Americans die from guns every year, that’s the equivalent of a 9/11 every month. On average that’s 96 gun-deaths each and every day. The statistics are plentiful and horrifying.

“March for Our Lives” rally March 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

When I was a grief counselor for children and families, I witnessed the long-term effects of grief as a result of violence. In addition to the common physical, emotional, and spiritual responses to a death, violence piles on an extra layer of cruelty. Because someone did it on purpose. Someone made the choice to pull a trigger and steal a future, not only from the person who died but from everyone within his or her circle of friends and family.

For the survivors that loss doesn’t occur just once, but over and over again through the years in a long series of absences and missing and longing for what might have been and will never be. Because someone had access to a gun and didn’t care.

In this country, no one is safe from gun violence, including thousands of children. After 20 tiny kids and 6 teachers were murdered in Sandy Hook, I thought my nation might say enough is enough.

It didn’t.

Gun laws were relaxed. The shootings continued unabated. Our lawmakers offered platitudes and stuck to their guns, both literally and figuratively. What does an inability to even attempt to protect our children say about us as a country?

Then yesterday, teenagers took over. Eloquent, angry, committed, organized, passionate, they challenged our leaders to change or kiss their privileged careers goodbye. And these kids won’t take no for an answer. For me, they triggered tears of old loss and new hope. I was so proud of them. These children restored my faith in my country. Finally, finally, I feel the momentum. Change is coming.

Finally, my brother’s death counts. Finally his one hatch-mark in the sea of statistics matters.

Enough is enough.

The last photo of my brothers and me together, 2002

201 thoughts on “March For Our Lives

  1. Diana: I’m sorry I’m so late to comment on this, but I figured it’s never too late to offer condolences on your brother’s anniversary, and to second your ovation for the kids who’ve finally displayed the courage no generation of Americans prior to them could summon. Change is coming. I am hopeful, too. These kids aren’t going to let the issue go. Let’s support them any way we can — for your late brother and all the unacknowledged victims of an American pathology.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] via March For Our Lives — Myths of the Mirror […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tmezpoetry says:

    My heart hurts in the tragedy that came into your life, your brother’s, your family. No words can truly convey here what I would hope them to, just know my compassion and empathy embraces you. I get angry at the apathy about gun violence within our government. And then my heart is tender again at the courage and unity of voice one holds along with the grief, the love, and honoring of a loved one through posts like these. It means something and it is special. Hugs~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry for your loss. I lost a dear pastor friend that same year to gun violence. I don’t have anything meaningful to add to the conversation, just wanted to express condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so very sorry for your loss! The pain does not go away with the years! Bless you! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Billy Ray. The pain integrates, but you’re right that it doesn’t go away. I appreciate your kind words. I hope that in the future fewer people have to suffer needlessly. Have a wonderful peaceful week. ❤

      Like

  6. Diana, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post has made me see this battle in a new way. Thank you for sharing from the heart and also for showing the staggering statistics. Much to think about and work to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind and thoughtful comment, Sheri. I’m so glad that it gave you a broader view of the impact of gun violence. There are thousands and thousands of families that are forever grieving. I hope some reasonable changes come quickly, and a few lives are saved as a result. Have a wonderful day and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bel says:

    I am so sorry that you loss your brother to gun violence. You never really get over it – there will always be a void. The violence is completely out of hand and it seems to be growing day by day…😕

    Liked by 1 person

  8. chrissy says:

    Sorry to hear about your brother. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chrissy. It was long ago, but clearly still has an impact. I hope these teenagers have the energy for the long haul. They are so passionate and simply inspiring. Have a wonderful day!

      Like

  9. Enough has been ENOUGH for so long, I almost lost hope, But then. Unlike Sandy Hook, when those students couldn’t stand up for themselves (because of their age and complete innocence) the high schoolers CAN speak up. And thank God they are. I applaud their courage and tenacity and hope against hope that they keep it going. That enough is finally ENOUGH.
    Your post brought me to tears, Diana. Thank you for your insights. Thank you for YOUR courage in sharing your pain in the loss of your brother. Huge hug. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This: “violence piles on an extra layer of cruelty. Because someone did it on purpose. Someone made the choice to pull a trigger and steal a future, not only from the person who died but from everyone within his or her circle of friends and family.”

    So true. This thought hits me every time I see yet another shooting. I knew about your brother but it breaks my heart reading this. Much love to you, my friend. ❤️ Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Sarah. I’m hopeful that things will change for the better even if it is in slow increments. I don’t get the tolerance for cruelty in this country. And there’s a lot of sanctioned cruelty these days. I love the energy of the teenagers, and will support them in their dreams for a better future any way I can. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Diana. I know you’ve mentioned your brother’s death before. It’s especially heartrending when it’s sudden like that. Those kids are special and I hope they get some action. It’s about time after all the footdragging by politicians who should be ashamed of themselves. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So sorry for your loss Diana! You said it so true-Enough is enough! This law desperately demands a change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Neha. I’m hopeful that this time something will come of the outrage and despair. It’s sad that it has to get so bad before change happens, but change does happen. Thanks for the visit and have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So very very sorry to hear how you lost your brother. You’re so right, change is coming. Enough is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Diana, I heard of this and I read it somewhere too. I hope politicians will listen and a change will come forward. It is a nasty part of American Culture they are trying to erase, and well done to them! If today I was an American, a mother with kids, I would have definitely left America and gone with my kids, I wouldn’t even think twice if I have families there, I would only look at my kids in their eyes, and think that I am the only one to save them, not even families won’t do, I would have hold their hands and left. I think in America whoever gets the chance to leave among the youth, I would tell them to leave – my only advice. I would love to visit America again, but for now is on hold. I just hope the youths will be able to find justice – fingers cross – guns is the biggest wrongful department ever built in America, larger than the youth – Good Luck to them! God Bless America! God Bless them!

    And don’t forget to pop round mine, You have won a “Give-Away” and I would love to have your address to enable posts to you. Take care now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the comment, Juli, and for your strong support of these teenagers. I too have faith that things are going to start changing. The momentum is continuing although gun-supporters are pouring money into politics. I’m holding out hope. And Yay on my win. I’m thrilled. How fun. Thanks so much for letting me know. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Diana. God Bless America, and may the greatest of the highest have put hands on the youth and said, “Let’s go am with you.” These kids needs their country back, they want roam the streets safe and get home safe after all their fun of the day. Bless their hearts.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. So sorry to hear about your brother’s death. Yes, enough is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Years late, but condolences on your loss. The energy of these young people give me hope for the future, that maybe they will be enough to change things this time. I’m all for the freedoms assured by the Bill of Rights, but common sense should be part of the equation (does one really need an assault rifle to hunt deer?). And I’ve seriously contemplated moving abroad, but like you, I’ve got family here. Crossing fingers that sanity and common sense will prevail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think it’s legal to hunt with an assault weapon, or a hand gun. The only thing their designed to do is kill people. *Sigh* I like skeet shooting, so I’m not against sportsmanship. When I worked in VT, hunting put meat on the table for many families. But common sense would be awfully nice and it would save lives. 😀 Thanks for the visit, Julie, and happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Erik says:

    I agree: “So proud of them.” I know I shouldn’t be anymore, but I was still … we’ll say “surprised” … when I say politicians weighing in and saying negative, disparaging or corrective things about this march (all based on trying to push for their predetermined political stand, of course). In my estimation, there is nothing but praise to be given for kids who are the actual people being threatened on a daily basis, who have chosen to turn that fear into action. And they are right: “We are your near-future voters, so you’d do well to treat us seriously and with respect.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know, Erik. Some of the responses where so ridiculous… politicians saying that these kids should be focusing on school instead of issues they know nothing about. Hello? But I was inspired and happy and full of energy and love for their commitment and compassion for their pain. In many ways it was a great day. Changes are on the horizon I hope. Thanks for the visit, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. How very tragic for your family, Diana. We have a lot of violent crime in South Africa and it is very scary and horrific. We have often thought of moving away but my three sisters and their families, my parents and Terence’s family and grandmother are all here as well as my aunt. It is very hard. In many ways the US shootings are worse because the US is a first world country that people look up to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought about leaving the US, but like you, Robbie, I have family here – particularly my daughter and grandson. We haven’t been able to convince them to go with us. It is a shame for all of us. I hope change is on its way. Have a lovely, safe, peaceful day, my friend. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Teri Polen says:

    I had no idea about your brother, Diana – I’m so sorry to hear about that. I have nothing but admiration for the teens taking a stand against gun violence. It gives me hope for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Teri. I’m been dealing with bats today, so sorry for the late reply. 🙂 I am hopeful too. Those kids were inspiring and so full of energy. Perhaps change is finally on its way. Have a great evening. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Almost Iowa says:

    Tonight I will settle down on my couch and pick up the remote. For the next few minutes, I will click through a long, long line of movies, looking for something, anything suitable to watch. During that time, I will most likely encounter more murders on the screen than occur in my state over the course of a week.

    Some say we have a Second Amendment problem. I won’t argue with that – but we also have a First Amendment problem.

    Every fleeting murder that will catch my eye tonight will be done without remorse, without anguish and mostly without consequence. We will rarely see the suffering of the loved ones, we will rarely understand the impacts. Instead we will be treated to a commercial, or yet another movie.

    In the case of action and slasher films, the murders themselves are the reason for watching.

    I compare this violence to environmental pollution. You can live for decades in building with asbestos. You can swim in dioxon polluted waters without getting sick. You can smoke for a lifetime.

    You might be able to get away without suffering the ill effects – but not everyone can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Greg. It’s interesting that the northern mid-west/west (does that make sense) has fewer mass shootings than the coasts or the south. Maybe it’s all the corn and bean fields. Maybe people are less angry.

      I like zombies and gore and action films and there’s plenty of blood and death in my books, so I’m hesitant to blame media. Most people everywhere are rational, reasonable people. It’s just the few that cause so much havoc and pain.

      I hope the teenagers are successful in banning assault weapons, limiting the size of clips, and universal back ground checks. That’s all they’re asking for and to me it’s reasonable. 🙂

      Like

  21. Joanne Sisco says:

    So poignant and eloquent, Diana. As you said so well, each shooting is a tragedy suffered everyday for the rest of their lives by the family and friends.

    I admire and respect these young people so much, but after Sandy Hook, quite frankly I don’t hold much hope that things will change.

    The only way I see real change happening is to prevent lobbyists from providing financial support, kickbacks, whatever you want to call it, to politicians. As long as a politician can be bought – either directly or indirectly – nothing will change.

    I REALLY, REALLY hope I’m wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. S.E.May says:

    I’m so very sorry that you lost your brother in such a senseless way. I’m Australian and for the life of me, I can’t understand the desire for your country to carry guns. It doesn’t compute in my brain. Why would anyone need one? These mass shootings have become so common that they are no longer heard on this side of the world with shock. We say oh another one. Oh well, they will stick with their laws. To become so complacent is a horrible thing but I feel quite helpless for you. Our gun crime is very low. Yes, it does happen but so rarely that when it does, it’s huge news. It shocks us. I do not ever think that a policeman might shoot me because he thinks I am reaching for a gun, because there is no way I could get one and no reason for me to have one. I have never sent my children to school worrying someone might shoot them. That has never crossed my mind and I can’t imagine the terror American mothers must face every day sending their babies to school.

    I feel the anger in those young people who spoke, but what will change?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the comment and for sharing a bit of sense from another part of the world. How sweet that would be to be able to go to a festival or to school and not have to worry about getting shot. Our little children do “lock down” drills in case a shooter enters their school. It’s totally insane. I’m very hopeful that things are finally going to change. Have a wonderful day and give those kids a huge hug. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Amen to everything you said. We here in Australia sold back our firearms in a government incentive, barring farmers who need guns for wildlife etc. our gun control is strictly regimented and as a consequence we haven’t had mass shootings here in decades. It’s much harder to mass murder with a knife or even a car than a gun. Hope things change your end of the world soon. X

    Liked by 3 people

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