Richard Davis: We must channel grief into action

Another day, another American massacre. This time the picture of an atrocity has been painted with the blood of 11 Jewish worshippers from Pittsburgh. The nation mourns and suddenly everyone loves the Jews.

I am a member of the American Jewish community, although the last time I was in a synagogue was probably out of a sense of obligation to do so because of a death or a bar mitzvah.

Being a Jew is not just about being religious. There are many people who cling strongly to their Jewish identity as cultural Jews and I consider us people who cherish our Jewish identity and who understand the historical legacy that all Jews must keep in mind.

So we must mourn and we must grieve in the manner that we find most comforting. Jews are no strangers to mourning, but in these times in the U.S., all of us must keep our grieving as short as possible because we have to find a way to channel our grief into action.

The Pittsburgh massacre and all other mass killings in the country have one thing in common. All of the people murdered were hit by bullets from guns and rifles and automatic weapons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 33,000 Americans die from firearms injuries every year.

That is a staggering figure. To put it into perspective, imagine that 90 percent of the people in Windham County Vermont were killed last year. The population would go from 40,000 to 4,000 in a year and a lot of grieving would happen.

Well, a lot of grieving is happening but it is spread out in bits and pieces across this country so that most people do not have a sense of the enormity of the problem. If we do not mobilize and tackle this issue of gun-related deaths it is estimated by the CDC that the numbers will increase by about 3 percent every year.

I am suggesting that we not wait for the next American massacre but that we channel our grief right now and mass together in the biggest protest that this country has ever seen. But I know that this will not happen this week or even this month.

My hope is that the people of this country will finally reach a breaking point, but I don't know what it will take for that to happen. Will a madman have to kill 50 Muslim children in a school bus? Will a bigoted racist have to mow down 50 people in a school or a place of worship? Who knows?

Trump is fanning the flames that have always been there and his words are inciting the worst of us into action. I don't see any hope for the chief racist to change his tune anytime soon so we must take matters into our own hands.

Whatever event occurs to mobilize Americans (if that is possible) we must rise up together and simply all march to Washington together in the biggest protest this country has ever seen. We must make it clear to the politicians in Washington that they cannot go home until they pass strict gun control legislation.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will have to block all legislators from exiting the Capitol Building once it is clear that most are inside. We must surround the people's building and let the people inside know that they will not be going home until they do what the Americans people want them to do.

That is how we can turn grief into action and until we do so we will be grieving over gun violence forever.

Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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