Reflections on the Orlando Shooting

(Joe Burbank/Associated Press)

One death is one too many. When 33,000 gun deaths occur annually, gun reform is something that every single one of us, no matter which party we support, should fight for. This is no longer a matter of what is right or wrong. This is a matter of life and death.

Every time a mass shooting occurs, we send our thoughts and prayers, but when will we stand up and offer solutions? It isn’t enough to say that we are “deeply saddened” and then continue going about our lives. It isn’t enough to wear the color orange on National Gun Violence Awareness Day or light candles for the innocent lives that have been lost. It isn’t enough to promise “not one more” but stand idly by as the number of victims to senseless gun violence increases day by day. NOTHING will ever be enough until every single one of us takes action.

Here are the facts: The shooter in Orlando used the same military-grade assault rifle (AR-15) that was used in Newtown, San Bernardino, Aurora, and many other shootings. It can fire bullets as fast as a person can squeeze the trigger.

I’d like to hear if anyone from the NRA can explain how this type of weapon is necessary to shoot a deer or defend your home from an attacker.

Unfortunately, at this moment we find ourselves at yet another turning point in America’s path and rather than merely sending our condolences and telling ourselves that we’ve accomplished something we must choose to take a firm stand against gun violence. We must stand up to politicians who prioritize their popularity with the NRA above their dedication to American lives. We must restore the CDC’s freedom to study the issue of gun violence. We must reach out to our local and federal officials and urge them to support universal background checks to reduce violence. We must insist that assault weapons have no place beyond the battlefield.

In addition to our mourning must come the conviction that we will do everything in our power to keep tragedies like this from ever happening again.

Kimia Tabatabaei, President of Peace Action Chapter at Newton South High School (Newton, MA)