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An Anonymous Open Letter to President Obama.

Note:  I found this in my email yesterday. The writer has asked to remain anonymous. 

Yesterday, Mr. President, we learned of horror in Newtown, Connecticut. I can't tell you how many times I checked the news yesterday, but I will tell you that I had to stop checking so I could go to sleep. I watched details flow in on live TV  Overnight, little body bags were taken out of Sandy Hook Elementary. Yesterday, Mr. President, you asked for "meaningful action" to stop American violence. I'll do you one better - I'm demanding meaningful action. If yesterday was not the day to talk politics, today is the day. 

I saw you with tears in your eyes on national TV  I saw the horror in your eyes. What I couldn't feel was rage in your voice. Where is the outrage? These killings keep happening in my country, Mr. President. The idea that "things like that just don't happen here" is false. If this is your country, then it happened here, in your backyard, to your fellow Americans. Murder on this scale happens here more than anywhere else. I'm ready to wear my outrage on my sleeve. I'm ready to tell anyone who will listen. 

I remember sitting in my childhood living room watching the aftermath of murder at Columbine. My parents tried in vain to make sure my cousins hadn't been killed. They were alive. I remember calling my mother first thing one morning to see if my cousins went to see a movie in Aurora. Mr. President, I remember having to ask if my family had been killed. Colorado is my backyard. So is Arizona. Same with Oregon. I can practically see Connecticut out my front window. These are my neighbors, and I can tell you with no doubt that murder happens here. And now change needs to happen here. 

We need to stop watching murder unfold on TV  Watching real killers on TV unleash terror is not a privilege or right. Only yesterday news organizations learned it was wrong to interview traumatized children. These news organizations need to learn that we don't want to watch the killing. I don't want to see the face of the killer on a twenty-minute loop. At some point, a tribute can be made to victims or survivors. I don't need to be fed false information in real time. Either the change needs to start with regulations or with the consumer - turn off the TV  Stop updating CNN on your computer every five seconds. Stop tweeting and texting and blogging about fanciful, false details. 

Americans need to associate guns with gun-related crime. A gun alone does not kill children. However, a killer without access to firearms is stripped of the most deadly means of murder. A person with intention to harm another person will find a way to do so. However, it's possible that the lack of access to weapons would put time between that person and murder. Time can be a powerful thing. We live in a place where assault rifles are more available than time. Guns cause gun-related crimes. Until there is crime-prevention legislation that directly addresses handguns and assault weapons, guns will continue to cause gun-related crime. 

More than anything, Mr. President, we need better access to mental health services. We need places for people to get help and we need to encourage people to go. Getting help with mental health issues should not be a political issue. Murder happens in my backyard and I want my neighbors to get help. I want my neighbors to know that I applaud them for getting help. I need my neighbors to know that money is not an issue when it comes to mental health. My neighbors need to know that even if their worlds are not always perfect, I still love them. The stigma of mental illness needs to be addressed if we want the killing to stop.  

I invite you to break bread with me, Mr. President. I send this invitation to anyone who will listen. We are armed to the teeth and our children and our neighbors are paying the price. Something needs to change. It starts with you, Mr. President. Lead us out of the violence. 


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