Monday, December 17, 2012

A Plea to the President

Dear President Obama,
On Friday 20 children were killed by a Bushmaster rifle, all of them were ages seven and under.  These children will never graduate high school, know the pride of landing their first job, nor the total overwhelming love of holding their newborn baby. Their lives stopped just when they learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
As the father to two beautiful daughters, I beg you to look at this tragedy not only from the eyes of a president, but also from the heart of a parent.  This is your opportunity to make the country a little safer, not only for Malia and Sasha, but for their children and their children’s children.  Now is your chance to make your legacy in the name of every child.
Based on the Children’s Defense Fund report released in March of this year, 2,793 children died by gunfire in 2009 (the latest records available).  Eighty-five of these children were mere preschoolers.  In addition, “More children and teens died from gunfire in 2008 and 2009 — 5,750 — than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
I also have two beautiful daughters.  I am thankful that they are too young to understand such tragedies.  On Friday I picked my oldest up from kindergarten and hugged her an extra moment or two, grateful to feel her warm body and see her smiling dimples.  For that moment she was safe.
 But, it was only for a moment.  There are still 310 million nonmilitary firearms in the US, forty percent of which were sold by private or unlicensed retailers. So, for now, every time my children go to the movies, to temple, and to school, I will worry that one of these guns will find its way into the hands of a madman.
Americans do not have a more urgent need than the rest of the industrialized world to keep such firearms in our homes.  When our children are thirteen times more likely to be killed by a gun than those in other developed countries, can we really defend the right to purchase semi-automatics at gun shows? 
Today, another eight children will die from gun violence.  However, today we can also take the first steps to making our schools, malls, parks, and neighborhoods safer so that other first graders may have the opportunity to accomplish everything that was stolen from those twenty precious children at Sandy Hook.
Every Parent

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