I am an American. I was raised in the Midwest. I played little league baseball. I was an Eagle Scout.
I am a citizen. I show up for jury duty. I vote. I am an AmeriCorps alum.
I am a Christian. I went to Catholic school. I go to Mass every Sunday. I was an altar boy.
I am a veteran. My ancestors fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, both World Wars, and Vietnam. I flew helicopters in Afghanistan. I was wounded in combat.
I am a father and a husband. I have two young daughters and a loving wife.
I want you to know who I am, so that you can know I am a regular American. I am your neighbor, your friend, your brother. I am someone like you.
But, I want you to know that as an American, as a citizen, as a Christian, as a veteran, and as a father, I am past the breaking point. I am ashamed. I am inconsolable. I am mortified that my nation continues to allow our citizens to shoot each other to death.
I wept for Columbine. I wept for Virginia Tech. I wept for Fort Hood. I wept for Binghamton. Lives were lost, and my views hardened.
I wept for Tucson. I wept for Aurora. I wept for Sandy Hook. I wept for the Navy Yard. More lives were lost, and my mind hardened.
I wept for Charleston. I wept for Umpqua. I wept for San Bernadino. More lives were lost, and my heart hardened.
I regularly weep for Detroit, Memphis, Oakland, New York, St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, and on and on. I weep for Orlando. I have hardened.
I know how to use a firearm. I have had extensive training. I respect a citizen’s right to bear arms. But we are beyond that.
America, why have you not hardened against the violence? America, why have you not learned from our mistakes? America, how many of us have to die?
The answers do not come from the lobbyists. The answers do not come from the news cycle. The answers come from our own common sense.
The answer is that we’ve reached that point. We must reverse course. We must change our culture so that we can change our laws.
Guns are not toys. Guns are not fashion accessories. Guns are not politics footballs. Guns are killing machines. And too many Americans kill Americans with guns.
Stop the killing machines. Stop the killing.
Yes to background checks. No to stand your ground.
Yes to mandatory training. No to permitless carry.
Yes to your own common sense. No to the gun lobby’s agenda.
Yes to your right to bear arms. No to more killing.
Yes to life and yes to liberty. No to the people who stand in our way.
Chris Marvin is a Principal at Marvin Strategies.