thoughts and prayers are not enough

I wish I could blithely describe the great week we had--the engaging and insightful discussion with director Melissa Lowery at the BLACK GIRL IN SUBURBIA screening, the house packed with hootin' and hollerin' snowboarders at the ENCORE screening, and the homage paid to Caballo Blanco in the RUN FREE documentary, which drew another capacity crowd last night.

But it's hard to celebrate when there is so much anguish in our community and state right now.

candlelight vigil

I personally feel powerless. And our congressional leaders? Here's how the Huffington Post describes their response:

To promote the general welfare, members of Congress have the power to craft laws, pass them and send them to the president for his or her signature.

In the wake of instances of gun massacres, however, politicians reliably and reflexively reach for the most casual response possible: condolences of 140 characters or less to nobody in particular. Why even bother?

I stand with President Barack Obama who said "thoughts and prayers are not enough."

"It's not enough," he repeated. "It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now."

In the sixteen years since the shootings at Columbine High School, at least 19 other schools have experienced the insanity of an armed gunman coming into a place we believe is safe, and killing students, teachers, and administrators. It's happened on Red Lake Indian reservation, in a one-room Amish school house, in dorms and academic buildings at Virginia Tech, to first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary, and now ten confirmed dead at the community college in Roseburg. According to the latest police reports, yesterday's shooter had 13 weapons, all purchased legally in the last three years. Does it make any sense to you that our general population can be this armed?

Check out the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, one way to stay engaged in the campaign for life-saving laws. For those of you in Oregon, you can become involved with Cease Fire Oregon. It's a start.

Update: another good resource is HERE with "A Teacher's Stance on Gun Violence."

Here's part of the lyrics from "Tonz 'O' Gunz" by Gang Starr.


tons o' guns everybody's getting strapped
tons o' guns got to watch the way you act
tons o' guns real easy to get
tons o' guns bringing nothing but death
tons o' guns but i don't glorify
'cos more guns will come and much more will die
why, yo i don't know black
some motherfuckers just be living like that
they like to feel the chrome in their hands
the shit makes them feel like little big man
twelve years old catching wreck
'cos there ain't no supervision putting kids in check
people get wounded, others they perish
and what about the mother and the child she cherish
the city is wild up steps the wild child
tension anger living in danger
what the fuck you gonna do in a situation
it's like you need to have steel just to feel relaxation
tons o' guns