An Open Letter to Victims and Family Members of Future US Mass Shootings

Posted on October 5, 2017


Dear Future Victims and Family Members, 

I realize that, while I am grieving for the people who died in Las Vegas, as well as for those who loved them, I must also reserve room for all of you who will have been the victims and loved ones of victims of mass shootings to come. After all, we have a pretty strong track record of this kind of thing. We average one mass killing per day in the US. The same day that the massacre in Las Vegas occurred, three people were shot and killed at the University of Kansas. Another two were injured.

It’s a given that you, the future victims and family of victims of mass shootings, will someday, sooner or later, be impacted.  It’s also a given that, when that occurs, people will grieve. They will grieve for you, or you will greive for others. CNN may or may not cover the particular mass shooting that has affected you, as it will depend on the extent of the carnage.  The U of Kansas incident was simply too insignificant to be reported.  It was not insignificant, though, for the families and loved ones of the slain.

In each future mass shooting that will occur,  some politicians will call for gun control. Their voices will be overridden by those who are against gun control. The reasons to maintain the status quo will be the same as they always have been.

I don’t know whether you are a staunch defender of the Second Amendment or if you sign petitions in favor of gun control. I don’t know if you are a liberal or a conservative. I don’t know if you voted for Trump or for Hilary. I don’t know if you carry a firearm or if even the thought of that is enough to give you an anxiety attack.

I do know that you will be a casuality in some way. Either you will not survive or you will mourn the loss of someone dear to your heart. As in Las Vegas, it may be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a lover, a child, a grandchild.  For that I am more than sorry. I am bereft.  And for those of you who will lose a child or grandchild, I have no words. There are no words.

You may experience such loss and it may have no impact on your thoughts about being anti-gun control. You may revert to the tried and true mantra, “People don’t kill people. Guns kill people.” If that gives you peace, so be it.  Or you may believe that God, alone, has chosen to take your loved one. If that gives you peace, so be it. You deserve peace.  If you are in favor of gun control, your loss will be even more difficult than it needs to be. You will know that you live in a country, this country that you love so dearly, that allows tragedies like this to occur on a daily basis.  No other country in the world comes even close to what we choose to do to ourselves, all in the name of “freedom.”

Each life we lose is a loss of great magnitude. Each person who loses a loved one lives through a loss of great magnitude.  Whatever your political persuasion, whatever your belief about guns, you, the future victims, will either lose your life or you will suffer the loss of someone closest to your heart.  And you will carry that loss while the rest of us move on, toward the next mass shooting and the next set of irreparable losses.