What's On Our Mind 12-16-2022

This week marked the 10th anniversary of that horrific day in Newtown, CT, when 20 children and 6 adults were killed within minutes at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. For those families, the anniversary is just one more reminder of the 3652 days they have been forced to face without their loved one. 
But the Sandy Hook community is not unique. Mass shootings in the U.S. have nearly tripled since 2013. These shootings have occurred at other schools and have also targeted the Jewish community, the LGTBQ community, and other minority groups.
The shadow of gun violence hangs over all of us. Who hasn’t thought about the possibility of a shooting when we drop our kids at school, go to the grocery store, attend a large event, celebrate July 4th at a parade, or leave a restaurant? The potential for gun violence is now a part of our collective conscience. 
Lockdown drills at schools are as common as recess. Nearly every student in a public school has experienced a lockdown drill. Studies have shown that these drills cause emotional distress and lead to students feeling unsafe, scared, helpless, and sad.
These drills are not the answer to keeping our children safe. The real problem still remains: guns of war on the streets and guns in the hands of dangerous individuals. In the decade following Sandy Hook, 150 million guns have been sold in the U.S. and there have been 53 more school shootings that have resulted in 101 people killed and 156 injured. Today, over 100 people every day are killed in the U.S. with a gun.
In June, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which offers the most significant federal firearm rules in nearly three decades. But this Act it is not enough. We can and must do more.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who had previously represented the district that included Newtown said, “… I'm so sad for what we lost. But I'm also so inspired and hopeful for all the grace and kindness that has grown out of tragedy, and for all that will come in the future.”
We end this dark week remembering the Sandy Hook victims as we get ready to celebrate Hanukkah. This holiday of light, hope, and rededication should inspire us to keep working toward a world free from gun violence.