Four days. Less than a week. That is how long it takes Americans to release their anger and sadness after a mass killing of innocent people (Sharkey, 2022). Four days is how long it takes to return to the false notion that the chances of someone we know being gunned down by an assault rifle are far less likely than getting in a car accident. But a new study has shown that guns have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of death due to trauma (Treisman, 2022). Guns are now the leading cause of death in American children (Ries, 2022). It’s time to stop forgetting this.
On December 14th, 2012, 20 children and six teachers were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Almost ten years later, 19 children and two teachers died at the hands of a mass murderer at Uvalde Elementary School. The number of mass shootings in between is innumerable. Since 2013, mass shootings have nearly tripled (Green, 2022). And every time we hear of one on the news, it takes an average of four days for us to move on, to forget that children went to school and never made it home that afternoon.
We cannot forget, no matter how many days pass, until our children are safe at school.
We fail to remain angry that parents, just like you and I, will never hug their babies again. We find ourselves releasing our anger, calming our fears and settling back into our routines because the chances of this horrific act of violence aren’t likely to happen to us or someone we love.
But it could. And it might if we don’t demand change now. We need to remember that.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the possibility of my children not returning home from school. No visit to the food store comes without unease of the possibility of a gun finding its way onto the premises. We live in a time when guns are finding their way into the hands of mass murderers. It’s happening quite easily and sickeningly frequently. And our children are being targeted.
If four days is all it takes to let go, we’ll never have adequate anger or fear or initiative to make this stop. Our anger should rage until lawmakers hear our demands. Our fear should fuel our words until gun laws change enough to remove weapons of war from our communities. We cannot forget, no matter how many days pass, until our children are safe at school.
No number of days is enough to erase the deaths of innocent children who had mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who loved them.
I won’t stop talking about gun reform until the right people hear me. I won’t let myself forget until these years, when guns were more important than the lives of our children, are but a terrible memory of American history. I won’t forget because I cannot forget. My children’s lives depend on it.
Join me in remembering beyond four days, talking until our words find the ears of the people who need to hear them, and demanding until change is inevitable. Because your children’s lives depend on it, too.
No days. No number of days is enough to erase the deaths of innocent children who had mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who loved them. No amount of time is enough to forget the violent state we’re living in. For our children, it’s time to stop forgetting. Are you with me?