They call it God’s Country, open space where the sky is solid blue and the leaves on the trees a vibrant green. Birds sing outside my window in our Maryland home, but my mind is clearer, more open to their melodies while sitting in the Cape Cod woods.
Memorial weekend provides a time for reflection. A time to do anything other than work. At night we hear the harrumph of a bullfrog. Before breakfast, we take the dog for a walk on the beach and I stare at the shapes created by departing waves. I think of my father, Herman Maril, and his paintings of sand and sea, the yellow of a sand bar beneath the blue water creating a shadow of green.
The sand dunes change shape from season to season, as sand erodes and deposits itself on distant shores. The beach is always changing, but beauty is a constant.
Grateful to be here, I feel joy and gratitude until I see the flag at half-mast. Shamefully, it takes a moment before I remember the reason. The losses. The deaths.
At an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen dead children. Two dead teachers. Seventeen wounded.
In Buffalo, New York at a supermarket, ten dead and three wounded.
Five months into 2022 and already 214 people have died in mass shootings from gun violence. More than 17,300 people have already lost their lives this year to gun violence. And the carnage continues.
Politicians point fingers at each other. In Uvalde the distraction is focused on why didn’t the police enter the classroom sooner, instead of how can we prevent another horrific event like this from happening.
My question is why did an eighteen-year-old have the ability to purchase an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle which is specifically designed to kill people quickly and in large numbers. Why do the American people continue to vote for politicians who are too cowardly to make changes to gun laws because they are more concerned about filling the coffers of their campaign chest. This has nothing to do with the second amendment, this has to do with common sense.
If we are going to continue with weak gun laws, can communities take on more educational initiatives on a local level to discourage bullying and racism? In states where women are no longer allowed an abortion, those that aide them are in some cases criminally liable. What about relatives and friends that have foreknowledge of a possible mass shooting? What about the private person who sells guns or ammunition to someone they sense is emotionally unstable?
The Uvalde shooter sent private messages online about his plans to someone. Were those messages reported immediately to police?
My husband Peter is training for a several mile open swim. He dons his wetsuit to swim in the Bay parallel to the shore, despite the chilly water. A little boy wearing water-wings walks towards him, eager to jump in to splash, float and kick. His excitement makes me smile until I remember the dead, all those ten-year-old lives that have been cut short. We have to do better. We will, we must.
Follow me on twitter at SN Maril and please vote in the mid-term elections.