As we struggled to make sense of hundreds of statistics and research studies on recidivism, gun violence, homicide, suicide and juvenile justice, one clear, simple concept emerged: We know what to do. We just need the will to do it. Where does this will come from?
A few months ago, not long after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., I was at work when my phone rang. It was an automated message from the school that my two older sons attend. I was informed that there had been a shooting at another school a few blocks away.
As "Sandy Hook Moms," we often hear the phrase "I can't imagine what you are going through." Well, please imagine it. Imagine what it's like to lose a son or daughter to gun violence and encourage your elected officials to do the same.
That day in December, I wept, as many of us did, for people we didn't know, but who could have easily been any one of our family members. But in April, when 46 Senators voted to block a bill to make our children and families safer, I was outraged.
In the wake of the Newtown shooting, President Obama called for a national conversation about mental health. But that conversation really begins in your home and your community, and it doesn't start and stop with individual tragedies.
It honors it more truthfully -- putting the experience of the people there above the experience of the flag. And, just as important, if we practice grieving the right thing, perhaps we'll learn to have the political will to do what we need to do to say "no" to violence of all stripes.
What if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is more like Adam Lanza than Mohamed Atta? What if Boston is more like Newtown than 9/11? Will we be able to see that? And are you prepared to come to grips with what it actually means?
Last week's vote on sensible gun reforms was a tragedy. That is not hyperbole. As a result of the vote that was taken, people will die. I also believe it is the tragedy that will finally lead to real and lasting change.
The ability of a minority in the U.S. Senate to block common sense gun violence prevention measures is a victory for the NRA, whose leadership has sided with criminals over the common good of our nation. The Senators who sided with the NRA's leadership have sinned.
When it was revealed Monday that 8-year-old Martin Richard was one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Aren Almon Kok felt an immediate, sickening tightness in her gut. She's never met the Richard family and lives nearly 2,000 miles away.
I'm offering an amendment to the Senate's gun violence prevention measure that would ban high-capacity magazines, a common-sense proposal that a majority of Americans support. Passing this amendment is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.
Why in heaven's name did we stay on the sidelines; why not share our grief and our tragedy as a warning to everyone that losing a child to senseless gun violence is indescribable? As the saying goes "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."