Will You Join Me to Take Action to Reduce Gun Violence? By Bill Alsmeyer-Johnson, UUSJ Secretary & member of Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church

Bill Alsmeyer-Johnson

My wife and I were in Budapest four years ago and one evening we were on Castle Hill, a culturally and historically significant place in Budapest. It was late evening and we had missed the bus to the train station so we decided to walk the under a mile distance. We passed a modern building with burnt out candles and bouquets of flowers in front of it. Wondering what had happened we looked closely and found out that it was the Norwegian embassy. A killer had just committed a mass killing in Norway and the people of Budapest turned out in solidarity with the Norwegian people in their grief.

Fast forward over a year and to Newtown, Connecticut where another killer went to an elementary school, lined up over twenty children of six years of age and executed them. That killer’s only goal was to kill more people than the Norwegian killer had the year before. Blessedly, he failed in his goal but the ages of those killed is particularly heartbreaking.

Did the people of Budapest put flowers at the American embassy in solidarity with our grief? Did they see video of President Obama shedding tears on television? I don’t know for certain but did they turn out in solidarity for our grief for subsequent shootings? (Fill in a long list such as the

Navy Yard or Charleston church shootings or many others.) Or did they shake their heads in sad dismay asking, “why don’t the Americans do something?”

One wonders how our Hungarian friends feel about our inaction. Or how our Canadian, or

Australian, or British friends, who after suffering similar mass killings, passed effective gun control laws, think of our continued inaction, what they think if and when they hear stories, such as “There Have Been 45 Shootings At Schools So Far This Year,” from the Huffington Post. [Link?]

In Virginia, legislation to take guns away from people with domestic violence orders against them, has failed to pass each of the three past years it was introduced. People with such orders against have proven many times over that they are willing to kill and prefer using a gun to do so.

Do you want to do something? The 14th of the month there is a vigil in front of National Rifle Associations (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. The NRA doesn’t like having us there; they send out guards to chase us off the grass if we step off the public sidewalk. They bought the small office park next door to deny us a place to park so we park a few blocks away In the nearby shopping center lot.

We’re there, facing the street to draw attention from passing cars and we usually get quite a few honking encouragement. We are there to let the NRA building we are not going away!

Monday, December 14, 2015 will be the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook killing of innocents. It is very important that we have a large turnout and I know that it is a Monday. I personally plan to take time off work to be there, will you join me and other determined, dedicated, heartbroken folks to let the NRA know that we won’t stop, won’t go away?