Joan Merriam: Will 34 be enough?
Thirty-four innocent people dead in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton.
Will that be enough for America to come to its senses and recognize that we have a serious problem with gun violence — and the hatred that feeds it — and actually do something about it?
I’d like to hope so … but realistically, I doubt it. And it absolutely sickens me to say that. After all, 17 died in Parkland and nothing was done.
Eleven died in Pittsburgh and nothing was done.
Fifty-eight died in Las Vegas and nothing was done.
Twenty-six died in Sutherland Springs and nothing was done.
Forty-nine died in Orlando and nothing was done.
Twenty-seven died at Sandy Hook — 20 of them children — and nothing was done.
Thirty-two died at Virginia Tech and nothing was done.
Most of these innocents were murdered by someone with an assault weapon. Often, someone whose mind was warped and twisted by the hatred that seems to permeate our culture today.
And that tells us something important: that the problem isn’t just guns. It’s not just mental health. It’s not just white nationalism and xenophobia. It’s everything together.
That, too, tells us something: that we need to take a holistic approach to solving the problem, where we look at all the elements that contribute to our contagion of gun violence.
We need to implement universal background checks, prohibit assault weapons, and close the gun show loophole.
We need to place more emphasis on and devote more of our national resources toward mental health, and work to end the stigma of mental illness that keeps people isolated and strangles their hope.
And we need to explicitly denounce the racial and ethnic hatred that nurtures the kind of domestic terrorism that shattered three American cities. We need to call racism for what it is, without apology, and condemn any leader whose rhetoric fuels hatred and discord.
But for today, my heart is sick, and my soul is tired.
Joan Merriam lives in Nevada City.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Connect with needs and opportunities from
Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User