It’s a warm, mid-August Thursday as I write, while the second-to-last of our Grill Fests takes place at street level in Mt. Airy. Families are outside enjoying an easy dinner and listening to a guitar duo playing oldies. Neighbors are hanging out. All in all, it’s a chill scene.
Hopefully, none of those gathered are thinking about the shootings that plagued El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH earlier in the month. Maybe even the police shooting and standoff in the Tioga section of the city the night before seems far away.
They’re enjoying a peaceful evening outdoors, as they should — as everyone should. No one should have to dive for cover while doing their shopping, sitting on their stoop, or attending a religious service. No matter where you stand on the gun debate, I think we can agree on that much.
We spend a lot of column space in the Shuttle on environmental scourges and dangers, and rightly so. But gun violence in this country is another scourge that degrades our environment. Webster’s first definition of “environment” is “the circumstances, objects or conditions by which one is surrounded.” Our nation’s conditions and circumstances with regard to gun violence vary from place to place and incident to incident. But the undercurrent of dread is never far away. That has to change for the sake of our society.
“This is not a Democratic or Republican issue,” David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, said in a recent interview with Mother Jones. “This is an American issue that we have to work to solve together.”
The Parkland survivors continue to do their part: Late last month, they unveiled a gun control platform that would ban assault-style weapons, raise the minimum age for buying firearms, create a national gun registry, and require gun owners to pay for new licenses every year. Each proposal will likely be met with opposition from the gun lobby, and yet, they soldier on.
We would do well to follow their example.