As of presstime, there are 7,000 pairs of shoes placed on the lawn of the Capitol building. Each pair is symbolic of the estimated amount of kids killed by guns since the school shooting in Sandy Hook back in 2012. It’s a dizzying sight to see the mix of colors and styles, each seemingly embodying the type of children who would wear such shoes. Each pair, a life taken. At the rate we are going here in America where the NRA has a stronghold on Congress, there will be 1,300 more shoes on the lawn if this demonstration happens again next year. If we count injuries, add in 5,790 each year.
Reverb Press was reporting live from the Capitol with even more visuals including signs that read #NOTONEMORE. But let that number sink in — 7,000 kids in six years killed by guns. Each pair of these shoes should be a living child. This has to end.
The display was set up by Avaaz, a mostly online group that helps connect activists to make change. The deputy director of Avaaz, Emma Ruby-Sachs said, “What we’re saying is killing has to stop. The majority of gun owners want gun control and we’re putting lives of these children at the feet of Congress and saying, ‘Catch up, act now, let’s end this.'”
Actions like this one are so much more doable in the age of online activism, but what’s brilliant is that people are really coming together to make statements in real time, with real results. Using social media is how the students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas are also able to mobilize and get others to join them. The nationwide school walkout, happening tomorrow, will be for 17 minutes — one minute for each student murdered in their classroom in Parkland. Also on Saturday, March 24, the students organized March For Our Lives, which will continue with the push for real change.
The changes they are demanding involve stricter gun laws, which are really common sense laws. We need to ban assault weapons and have better background checks for those interested in purchasing guns. We need to be able to have records so we can disarm those who are showing warning signs of dangerous behavior. We cannot have guns terrorizing us everywhere we go. We shouldn’t live in fear of sending our kids to school.
I also can’t help but think of this very same type of display, but with guns on the lawn next to the shoes. Imagine a display showing how many guns were used in the killings of these 7,000 kids. The number is much less, of course, as one weapon can cause the death of dozens. That is a statement in itself. If only we could remove a fraction of the guns out there, we would save many lives. If only Congress would take action.