Enough Violence, Not Enough Leadership

Editor's note: This is an opinion piece by John Brandon, President, Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc.

 Image from the 2018 March For Our Lives protest in Washington DC., courtesy of Zach Rudisin.

Image from the 2018 March For Our Lives protest in Washington DC., courtesy of Zach Rudisin.

ENOUGH!

How many of our children will have to be murdered on the streets of our cities or in the hallways of our schools before those who call themselves our leaders say, “ENOUGH!”

ENOUGH blood has been needlessly shed from horrific wounds. ENOUGH tears have coursed down the faces of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. ENOUGH promising futures have been crushed under the weight of bullets.

We must remove the weapons of mass devastation from our cities, our schools, our homes and our lives now. We must address the anger, the isolation, the hatred and the indifference that leads one human being to disregard fellow human beings’ right to life.

ENOUGH excuses, condolences and offers of prayer and comfort. ENOUGH blaming the violence on only one aspect of society, when we know mental health, access to weapons, availability of community resources and other issues all contribute to the overall problem. ENOUGH hiding behind false Second Amendment arguments that applied to America 242 years ago, but not today.

ENOUGH! ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

We all know what we need, as the frequency of these mass killings has given us adequate time to determine ways to stop these situations from happening more often.

What we need is ENOUGH common-sense legislation and regulation of firearms that treat them like any other consumer product and reduce their lethality so that these objects can’t become even more deadly in the hands of a killer.

What we need are ENOUGH school counselors, social workers and support personnel to ensure that the pains and struggles of any student don’t go unnoticed and untreated and to help that pain be healed instead of inflicted on others.

What we need are ENOUGH mental health personnel – counselors, psychologists, substance abuse treatment professionals and others – in our community so that those who are angry, troubled, disconnected and isolated have reasonable access to assistance instead of seeking “solutions” with guns.

What we need are ENOUGH people – meaning all of us in our community – to recognize that the well-being of our cities, our schools and our families requires that we all care about each other instead of being indifferent, apathetic and self-absorbed.

ENOUGH! ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

To our leaders, I say ACT NOW. There is no reason to hesitate, because recent history shows us that another tragedy will happen soon. ACT NOW and demonstrate that you are genuine leaders who can serve the will of the people (all the surveys show that people want change)! ACT NOW and prove to us that the safety and well-being of every citizen really is your top priority. ACT NOW and save lives and future generations. ACT NOW, or “We the People” will elect leaders who will lead us to a brighter, safer future.

To my fellow citizens, I say ACT NOW. This is our country; these are our children; this is our responsibility. As the wise philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Andy Fry