Please know that I say this from a place of love and desperation—the blood of the children who have died in school shootings is on your hands.
The blood of the students slaughtered in schools, in parks, in churches, and in bedrooms and living rooms … all of that blood, all on you.
This is your mess. Your hands are indelibly stained. You are the only ones who can fix this.
The governor, lieutenant governor, and junior senator from the once-great State of Texas, a state which has been terrorized by two horrific mass shooters so far this year, and too many more equally horrific but not as prolific assassins wielding guns, stood up before the body count was even known and mouthed words that do not deserve the dignity of being named platitudes.
How dare they say we must “do everything we can.”
How dare they.
Because I have done everything I can.
I have shown up for meetings, signed petitions, supported marches, called elected officials, lobbied, and supported all of my friends doing these same things. I have spoken out in all of the venues afforded me, a mere citizen, and not only has almost nothing has changed, in some ways, things have gotten worse.
I have voted in every election, every primary and primary runoff, for years.
Short of running for office myself, and winning the election, and doing so at the same time as a group of others who share my views on reasonable gun safety policy do, there is nothing more I can do.
Some of my friends have gone farther, actually. Several are running for office. One has already been elected.
And yet, we hold no true power. We are but the loyal opposition, which is a more diplomatic way of saying we are the losers who cannot accomplish anything.
Republicans hold the majority in both houses of Congress and, obviously, the White House.
The federal bench? Packed tighter every day with jurists in thrall to the Federalist Society.
Republicans occupy 33 governors’ mansions. They control a majority of state legislatures.
And almost to a man, a word I use instead of person quite intentionally, these Republicans stand with their mouths upturned to the steady drip—not a drip, actually, and more than a stream, even—of blood money gushing from the open throats of the children you have so willingly offered up for sacrifice to the mighty and glorious second amendment.
Yes, you. You who vote for Republicans. You are the ones who have placed your children, our children, on the slab of stone atop the mountain.
In the most resonant myths of our culture, Isaac and Iphigenia are offered up similarly, but saved at the final moment. Even the gods realize they cannot demand so gruesome a sacrifice.
But not Republican elected officials, who gladly stand in for gods and ignore the great power that comes from mercy. Republicans give a fetid fealty to a poorly punctuated sentence, bring down the knife, again and again and with great gusto, slicing through the tender necks of those we pretend are the innocent.
And as the knife comes down, the children know it is coming. They are now fully awake and aware.
You, my friends who vote for Republicans, are sending children to their death, and the children know you are doing it.
You hire crossing guards, you buy bike helmets, you ask conscientiously about allergies, slather on sunblock and set curfews and buckle seat belts and use the buddy system and rig nanny cams.
And they you walk down the street to the polling station and pull the lever for Republicans who refuse to even consider common sense gun safety laws.
So this is on you. It is time.
They don’t listen to me, and they don’t listen to my friends, these Republican elected officials.
Not that that will stop us. We will keep pushing. But until you drop your shoulder and squeeze in among us, we will not dislodge this cancer from our culture.
Until I see you beside me, please know I see you across from me. I see you, now, as the enemy. You have lost my respect and compassion.
If you post your thoughts and prayers, I will call you out as a traitor to children. You have lost the right to mourn until you take responsibility for your complicity in the ongoing slaughter of children in the 21st century in the United States of America.
But when you are ready to join us, we will welcome you. We will teach you. We will work with you, with gladness and without further recrimination, and together, we will find a path forward through the carnage, a path that both protects people and respects the true intent of our founding fathers.
But until then, my friends who vote for Republicans, sit still in the full knowledge of the fact that now, the blood of the children who have died is on your hands.