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An Antidote for Gun Violence

I was so impressed by an Instagram post by David Hogg, one of the Parkland High School shooting survivors, that I made the mistake of clicking on the comments to see who else thought it was as awesome as I did. David's post looked like this:


This shirt registers you to vote in less than 2 minutes. Get it at marchforourlives.com.

I clicked on comments and began to scroll through some of the most heinous, vitriolic, cruel, and personal insults I have ever seen. They told him he was a fag. They told him he was a maggot and a liar. They told him the democratic party is dead and gone and said to stop wasting his time. They told him they were going to beat the living shit out of him, that he was not even at school that day, and that the shooting was his fault because he bullied the shooter. I couldn't bring myself to look any deeper, but the fact that this kid continues to show up and speak out—in spite of the sick and misguided "grown-ups" stalking him over social media—is more inspiration I will ever need to #keepgoing.


I also received an email from a friend, last weekend, with a screenshot of this pixelated photo: 


These are REAL raffle tickets currently being sold to raise money for the football team at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Let's pause for a moment to acknowledge that it is legal in this country for teenagers to raffle off an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to support their high school sports team.


We have a gun problem and a glorification of violence problem—and NRA just made a seven-figure investment in advertising to support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh because they strongly believe that his appointment to the Supreme Court will solidify their hold on the highest court for decades to come. I don't know if Kavanaugh's appointment can be stopped. I'm calling my senator. But I'm even less hopeful about flipping the lost souls commenting on David Hogg's Instagram feed. The aggression and disregard for human decency is beyond my understanding.


This is a segment of the American population that I cannot comprehend, and for the time being, at least until after November 6th, I am done trying. We don't have time for this, and I have no intention of letting their hatred sink below the surface of my skin. I don't think we'll have much luck flipping votes in the right-wing electorate, but the good news is that WE ARE THE MAJORITY. The vast majority of people in this country are kind-hearted, reasonable, thoughtful people, and if we ALL show up to VOTE (and make sure our friends do too), we can put people in office who can turn this horrifying mess around.


This Wednesday, I am doing what I can to support Everytown for Gun Safety and to drive voter registration. I hope you will join me! We are throwing a party at Nashville Urban Winery with free wine, chocolate, and snacks, an art exhibition from Wendy Walker Silverman, performances by Nicki Bluhm and Kyshona Armstrong, a book reading from Physical Disobedience, voter registration from Headcount, and t-shirts by Hip Hues to benefit Everytown for Gun Safety. We have a funk/soul playlist, and it is going to be a good time. No big political speeches, just music, nosh, and fun. Details are HERE. Please RSVP and bring a friend or three.


Physical Disobedience offers a balm to ease us through these coming weeks and months of sustained protest and advocacy. "We're in the middle of a heavy lift here, and we're going to need our legs under us." The good news is that we're in it all together. Let's raise a glass to better times!


SARAH HAYS COOMER

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©2018 SARAH HAYS COOMER