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June More Voices: Gun Violence

Dear Pulse readers,

A few years after my father passed away, my mother was visited at her New Jersey condominium by one of her favorite nephews, who drove down to visit from Canada.

Something happened–as I recall, it was a misunderstanding over a condominium parking space that my cousin was using. In trying to sort this out, the son of a friend of my mother’s became enraged and suddenly, without warning, punched my cousin in the face, knocking him down.

My cousin, a grown man in his 50s, was able to get up and did not retaliate. The aggressor went home, and the incident seemed to have ended there.

But my mother, a five-foot-tall Belgian with a fierce sense of pride and honor, had other ideas.

My father, who’d served in the US Army during World War II, had returned home with one military keepsake: a German revolver that he kept on a shelf in the closet.

My 80-year-old mother went to retrieve it.

I shudder to think what would have happened had she found it in good working order.

Luckily, World War II had ended sixty years prior, and no great care had been taken with storing this gun or its bullet cartridge. My mother couldn’t get the revolver to work.

And so she did not shoot her friend’s son.

As a consequence, all of our lives were not turned topsy-turvy by someone’s righteous anger amplified by access to a gun.

In contrast, the recent mass shooting in Uvalde will ripple across many lives for more than a generation, as parents, siblings, friends and teachers try to process the horror that has taken place–and grapple with the violence that has been done to them.

For those of us looking on in shock and disbelief, it is tempting to lose hope and lapse into despair–to think that nothing will change because so far, nothing has.

And that despair is part what is keeping us stuck. Might change come about once we can envision a different ending to our nation’s story of gun violence?

The More Voices theme for June is Gun Violence. What’s been your experience of dealing with guns or gun injuries? What’s been the impact of mass shootings on your sense of safety or well being? If you have children, what been the impact of these shootings–and their schools’ preparations for a shooter–on them?

Use the More Voices Submission Form to send us your lived experience of experiencing, seeing or worrying about the presence of guns in our lives.

For more details, visit More Voices FAQs. And have a look at last month’s theme: Sexism.

Remember, your health-related story should be 40-400 words. And no poetry, please.

We look forward to hearing from you.

With warm regards,

Paul Gross


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