To the Editor:
Surely, I am not the only one who feels sad and depressed over the many mass shootings in our country. The day after the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, I could not watch the news or hear any reports. There is such a sameness to responses and interviews with survivors and relatives of the deceased and I couldn’t hear them again. None can believe that the pop, pop, pop of the shots could happen in their locations.
And then the politicians send their thoughts and prayers. But nothing happens as a result of these terrible events.
After my news vacation, I tried to think what I could do to alleviate my frustration and sorrow. I called Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office to beg him to please bring the possible helpful bill to a vote. The messages I received were that the phone answerers were away from their desks. So, I tried voicemail, but the mailbox was full. Thus, more frustration. I found the Senator’s email and sent him an email extolling him to please do what was good for the country. I haven’t heard back from that plea.
What can an average citizen do? In a democracy, don’t our voices count? Would writing my senators asking those questions do any good? Are congresspeople going to vote on party lines forever?
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Finally, I’ve found something that might help. I noticed Sen. Paul Simon’s book, "Fifty-two Simple Ways to Make a Difference," on my bookshelf. Here is a quote from his book that is worth reflection.
"One of the discouragements of public life day after day is to see people who have the potential to contribute so much to building a better society — and they don’t do it. They may decline to participate because they do not understand that change is rarely achieved in a single, dramatic action. Change occurs because — little by little — people of good will … act.
I doubt that by implementing any of Simon’s simple ways will cause Congress to act to pass laws that could change the senseless and destructive events that we are hearing about. But at least we could feel as if we, average citizens, are doing something to make the world better. Since Congress won’t act, maybe all that we can do is to try to make a difference in our worlds. Sen. Simon’s suggestions published 15 years ago are still helpful today. The book is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobel.