What Oprah Knows for Sure About Gun Violence and America's Future
When I was a young journalist in Baltimore, assigned to cover a drunk-driving accident, the death of a single person was enough to merit a lead position on the evening news. But over the years, the amount of death and destruction had to be ever greater to register with people. Eventually it would take seven children on a school bus coming back from Christmas caroling to make the top of the news. Until along came MADD, formed by a group of moms who'd had enough. And were mad enough to do something about it.
We spend so much time focusing on the great divide in our country. The partisan politics of red states and blue states consumes a lot of our attention. But for CBS's 60 Minutes, I traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to interview 14 people from both sides of the divide, and when I asked "What really matters to you?" there was one answer everyone agreed on: family. Protecting family. Caring for family. Loving family.
Those 14 people were by no means an official survey. But I believe most of us would agree that reverence for family really is top of the list.
All people belong to someone's family. So can we agree that all people deserve protection from senseless killings? Can we agree that all families deserve and have the right to safety, in addition to the right to bear arms?
I say this respectfully and with regard for the common good.
Does anyone really believe that the Founding Fathers intended that AR-15s, bump stocks, and 100-round magazines be in the hands of people who have demonstrated—sometimes with blaring warning signs—that they can't cope in society?
Can we agree to use our common sense to protect the common good? To require background checks and prohibit those on terrorist watch lists from buying guns?
It sounds inconceivable—I can picture future generations shaking their heads in disbelief—that we the people would prohibit madmen who want to kill us from flying on planes but not from buying weapons with which they can slaughter us en masse.
What has become of our collective consciousness—our collective conscience? And our belief in doing the greatest good in the best interests of the most?
I hope and pray that you agree: It’s time to stand up, and stand together, for the sake of us all.