With each mass murder, I am outraged by a very simple idea; anyone in this country can get a gun, and anyone can commit murder. We are ankle-deep in blood because it’s against the law to keep people safe from assault weapons. We are piling up more corpses because craven Republican politicians have no problem with random murder. 

In 1975, when my father was murdered by a stranger with an M-1 carbine rifle, (purchased at the local Army-Navy surplus) it was so rare that it was absolutely shocking. People tried to find out how they were connected. They weren’t. The shooter, a long time Navy veteran, had been told he would not be accepted for re-enlistment because he had cancer, and he was going to die. The shooter decided that if he was going to die, he was going to take a few doctors down with him. So he bought a gun, found a medical clinic and opened fire. 

Other physicians were injured, but my father was the only fatality. 

The police were on the scene quickly, and the shooter was killed by the police in the parking lot, as he was leaving the building. (There’s another essay, about how police do not prevent crime – their job is to react to it, but that’s actually another essay.) 

When my older daughter spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in 2018, she decided not to bring in the story of her grandfather’s death, fearing that she’d be labeled as exploitative. But telling the truth about your own family is one way to help people understand that it’s not just something that happens over there, to other people. 

I wonder how many American conservatives, particularly those who call themselves “pro-life” can even stomach the hypocrisy? How can they claim to respect life and yet create so many opportunities for death? The sociopathic policies of Republicans who will not support gun control laws guarantee that more people will die in these preventable mass murders every day of the week. 

The church, the grocery store, the elementary school – all these were absolutely preventable. Almost 50 years, and no progress at all. Just more weapons, easily available, for anyone who wants them. 

I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child to these murderers, but I know what it’s like to lose a parent. I ardently wish that it never, ever, ever happens to anyone, ever, ever, again. 

Judith Martin-Straw







The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Judith.
    May your father’s memory be as a blessing.

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