TARA DONNELLY GOTTLIEB
I never expected to be here. I never expected to have a gun violence story. I never expected that in the final months of 2004, as I celebrated the holiday season with my family, that it was going to be our last. Wishing my parents a Happy New Year in 2005, I didn’t expect that they wouldn’t live to see 2006. When my mom came to visit me in New York City on a January weekend, I didn’t expect that I would spend the following weekend preparing for her funeral. When I called home on the night of February 1, 2005, and talked to both of my parents, I didn’t expect that it was for the last time. Working late on the night of February 2, 2005, as I ate dinner with coworkers, I didn’t expect that I was missing a flurry of phone calls at my desk. I didn’t expect that family and police were trying to track me down. I didn’t expect that our family jewelry store would be robbed. I didn’t expect both of my parents to be shot. As I laughed with coworkers, I didn’t expect that miles away, both of my parents were dead. However, with 37,000 American lives taken each year, 100 people killed every single day by gun violence, perhaps I should have.
Dear America – if we don’t make changes now? What do you expect will happen?
Dear America – what if? What if the gun that was stolen and used to kill my parents had been locked up? What if there was safe storage legislation that would have ensured that? What if there was no gun that day of the robbery? What if my parents were still here? What if my children got to meet their grandparents?
Dear America – What if there was legislation that could end the gun violence epidemic? What if there was a solution? What if Americans got to live? I expect that we would fight for it. I expect we would never give up.
Dear America – don’t give up. Expect more. Fight harder. I believe in us.