A Start

Well, I am looking for something to do, aren’t I? So what else but to journey into San Francisco, turn up at a Union Square restaurant and have a chat with a local NGO.

They are not shooting victims, the two women I met with. But they are progressives, and at home in the not-for-profit organizational world. It’s good that we weren’t all victims, those of us enjoying our Italian lunch and talking gun policy. We can’t all get teary over this stuff. Well, we can, but it’s probably ineffective. One of us will do.

And what are the tears about? The answer must be so obvious to an outsider. My 45 years of life with paralysis are quite enough to get sad about. Angry at times, furious at others, not to mention despairing. But in clearer moments, mostly sad. Yes, there are definitely compensations. But not now, not at this moment in Kuleto’s, staring at breadsticks and seeing only my past.

Perhaps if you’re not a direct victim of gun violence, the sense of futility and the immensity of frustration around the gun issue may not hit home the same way. Whatever it is, this sadness, one of the fears is that it will erupt at the wrong time. I like to be clear about gun matters. Even more, I want to be effective. No, that really isn’t possible. More reasonable is just to give it the best try. Would tears undermine that effort? I think the best answer, as I rejoin the gun-control cause, is that it doesn’t matter. Give it the best try. Whatever that is.

And what does the best try look look like?

Well, for one thing, being better educated than I am. The legislatures of 21 states passed new gun-control measures last year. Naturally, the National Rifle Association has challenged these laws courts. And the NRA has lost 90% of the time. In other words, feeling defeated is playing into the hands of the enemy. And the general perception that in the wake of the 26 killings at Newtown exactly one year ago, ‘Congress did nothing’ doesn’t mean that governments did nothing. Besides, it was always this way. I do remember my boss at the gun-control organization where I worked 13 years ago always said that answers weren’t going to come from Washington.

One can’t do this sort of work alone. So it’s good to team up with an organization. And what are the possibilities, the opportunities these days? Well, for one thing, doctors. Many are getting fed up with treating gunshot injuries. Medical organizations are becoming more vocal. Churches, synagogues, mosques – they are getting better organized around this issue, and across denominations. Would I go to Sacramento to testify? Sure, I said. I have a good and productive track record in Sacramento, having acquired a wife that way. Writing articles of course. And one other thing.

Stay tuned for that.

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