There is a reason the young Pavel Friedman wrote from Terezin in 1942 that he “Never Saw Another Butterfly.” In the Nazi-made ghetto, where freedom was squashed and guards paraded around with guns slung over their shoulders, how could something as free as a butterfly exist?
I’ve been thinking about Pavel a lot lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about the children of the Holocaust and the children being taken from their parents and caged at our southern border. And now, I am once again thinking about our children who are gunned down when they are just out doing what children are supposed to do — learning at school, gathering with friends, visiting the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Yesterday was my 23rd wedding anniversary. That’s really only meaningful to my husband and me, but it marked the beginning of our life together and the family we’ve created. On our way home from a weekend away, we drove backroads to avoid traffic and found a field of purple dead-nettle swarmed with tiny yellow and white butterflies. We pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed our cameras, and spent a while marveling at the moment. It seemed other-worldly and almost magical.
It was perfect.
Later, we pulled into our driveway to hear the news of the Gilroy shooting and our hearts fell heavy with grief. Again. The Gilroy Garlic Festival has had a long history of drawing visitors from all over the state for a day of family fun. Yesterday, at 6:00 PM on the 28th of July, instead of the smell of garlic infusing the air, fear and blood stained the day.
None of the people there who had to run from the shots were free, especially not the young 6-year-old or the others who were shot and killed. Officers and first responders were once again called to run headlong into danger and chaos. Even among the survivors, no one could escape the terror. Like any contagion, the fear attacks every parent whose driving force is to keep their children safe.
Today, along with much of the country, I grieve for the lost lives. I also grieve for what we are losing every day under this administration and under the choke-hold of the gun lobby who clings to the 2nd Amendment like a shield.
I’m so over it. If you are a responsible gun owner — and I’m sure there are many more of you than there are those who wish to destroy lives — it is well past time you stand up for your rights and demand sensible gun reform. Because I’ll be honest — you’re losing me fast. I used to be of the mind that good people had every right to own guns, but with each tragic event, all I see is carnage. Heartbreaking carnage and an addiction to guns that threatens all of us.
Like anyone with a serious addiction, this country needs an intervention. And the intervention MUST come from those who the addicted trust. Gun owners: this is now on you. Stop the madness and stand up for life and liberty. Pressure your legislators to do what they were sent to DC to do: legislate. Protect your friends and family. Protect your right to own your hunting rifle or your pistol that you keep in your nightstand for protection. Take the lead, for God’s sake. DO SOMETHING.
If you don’t, like Pavel, we may never see another butterfly.
There will be enough blood to go around.