The conversation about guns is changing

-isn't it strange?The Orlando shooting was just one of many on June 12th, 2016. According to Vox.com, it was one of 43:

What got much less coverage, though, were the 42 other reported shootings that happened yesterday. According to news reports collected by the Gun Violence Archive and Vox, these shootings resulted in an additional 18 deaths and 41 injuries. At least five of those killed were children.

These shootings, albeit more granular, paint a tragic picture of just how common gun violence is in the United States — and how it claims thousands of lives annually, outside of mass shootings.

Only in America. Is it strange? It should be but too many think it’s normal. It’s NOT normal. It can’t stay this way.

Times are changing.

I have been inundated and overwhelmed with emails, Facebook posts, conference calls and Tweets about the shooting in Orlando. I participated in a vigil at my local college where a large group of supports of the LGBTQ community gathered to express their sorrow and their support for unity after (now) 49 people lost their lives in the nation’s worst mass shooting. Our Mayor read the names of the dead as a combined gay/lesbian family rang the bell. It was emotional. The dead had names. They have loved ones and friends left to mourn for them and forever have to live without them now.

#Enough

The politicians are yapping and talking common sense. As I write this, the Senate Democrats are filibustering on the floor about gun violence and gun violence prevention measures. Thank God. Something is actually happening. Even Fox’s own Bill O’Reilly is talking common sense

We have said this before so I almost hate to write this. Is this the tipping point we have long been waiting for? Has the country finally had more than #Enough? This point should have been reached long long ago. Thanks to the corporate gun lobby and our timid and frightened elected officials. we have allowed people to die needlessly and avoidably for decades.

Some Republican Congress members are coming forward to change their positions regarding some gun violence prevention measures. At the least, closing a gap in our federal gun law that allows those on the terror watch list to be able to legally purchase guns must happen. Does it make any sense that we can see and know that these folks are buying guns but we can’t stop them from buying the guns that they could use in an act of terror?

You know the answer.

We do not know for sure the motive of the Orlando shooter. He was, according to his first wife, mentally unstable, angry, capable of domestic abuse, and perhaps confused about his own sexuality. She did not hear him talking about terrorism. If this was an act that related to terror, he was self radicalized and not associated formally with ISIS or any other terror group. Some have tried to claim otherwise. If this was man was an actual member of one of these groups, then the talking points are different.

I can feel things changing. I can feel the outpouring of actions and activity of those who just know that this time their voices are going to be heard. I can feel the national sadness and anger over this latest mass shooting. I can feel things changing.

Can you? If not, you are not paying attention.

And if you don’t want things to change out of some conviction that stopping people who shouldn’t have guns from being able to get them will limit your own rights, then I don’t have time for you. Things are changing.

We can’t have a reasonable discussion if you believe that the government is coming for your guns.

We can’t have a reasonable discussion if you believe that requiring a simple Brady background check on all gun sales will lead to gun registration, then I don’t have time for you. You are wrong.

If you believe, as Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has foolishly proclaimed using gun lobby talking points that if someone had had a gun in that Orlando nightclub they could have saved themselves and others or stopped the shooter, then I can’t talk to you.

Support has increased in the last few days for an assault weapons ban. Are you one of the minority who doesn’t want that to happen? If not, is there a discussion to be had or will you dig in your heals and insist that it won’t do any good anyway?

If you believe that passing any common sense law will lead to gun confiscation, then I don’t have time for you.

If you believe that just anyone should be able to buy any gun, then I don’t want to talk to you.

If you believe that assault style rifles formerly used in war are weapons to be used by everyday citizens for hunting, then I don’t have time to you.

If you believe you need guns that fire hundreds of rounds of bullets in just one minute, then I don’t have time for you.

If you believe that the lives lost in shootings every day is the price we have to pay for your  “inalienable” second amendment rights, then I can’t talk to you.

If you believe the second amendment means there can be no restrictions on types of guns, who can buy them, and where they can be carried, go away. I can’t talk to you.

We are done listening to the lies, fear and paranoia coming from the mouths of gun extremists. They are in the minority but their voices have risen far above where they deserve to be given the reality of gun violence in America.

Times are changing.

On June 17th, just a few days from now, we will mourn again for the lives of the 9 black Americans taken by another young man with hate in his heart who managed to get his hands on a gun. We will remember those shot at Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, South Carolina.

We are better than this.

Watch here as CNN’s Anderson Cooper breaks down while reading the names of the victims.

Let us remember the names of the fallen:

Edward Sotomayer Jr.

Stanley Almodovar III

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo

Akyra Monet Murray

Luis S. Vielma

Juan Ramon Guerrero

Christopher Andrew Leinonen

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz

Kimberly Morris

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice

Enrique Rios

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan

Cory James Connell

Mercedez Marisol Flores

Deonka Deidra Drayton

Miguel Angel Honorato

Jason Benjamin Josaphat

Darryl Roman Burt II

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon

Oscar A Aracena-Montero

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez

Shane Evan Tomlinson

Amanda Alvear

Martin Benitez Torres

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez

Javier Jorge-Reyes

Tevin Eurgene Crosby

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado

Joel Rayon Paniagua

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez a

Luis Daniel Conde

Juan Chevez-Martinez

Jerald Arthur Wright

Leroy Valentin Fernandez

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool

Angel L. Candelario-Padro

Frank Hernandez

Paul Terrell Henry

Antonio Davon Brown

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz

Alejandro Barrios-Martinez

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez

My list of victims’ names has never been this long.

May they rest in peace. May their families learn to heal over time and live around the hole left in their hearts by the loss of someone they loved as a son, daughter, sister, brother, grandchild or friend.

May we rise up in unity and say #WeAreOrlando

This shooting has gone to our hearts and souls.

The soul of America has been badly wounded. What will we do about it?

Times are changing.

Will you be there to keep more Americans alive and safe from gun violence at gatherings of people of all colors, races, sexual orientation, age and gender?

Times are changing.

There is so much more to say. I haven’t even started in on assault type rifles and the ease with which we sell them in America or why they are necessary for anyone to own. That is for another post.

Times are changing.