The flurry of messages arrived moments after my flight landed at Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
Alarmed by the deluge of texts, I checked the news and quickly learned about the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia. I was, and remain, heartbroken that gun violence had once again touched one of the public servants elected to solve our hardest problems, just six years after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot while meeting with constituents in her district. Within a few hours, reports began coming in about another shooting in San Francisco, where a gunman shot five people, three of them fatally, before taking his own life.
Learning about Wednesday’s shootings brought back painful, personal memories. I thought back to my son, Jordan Davis, and the awful night I learned that I’d never get to see him grow up.
I had flown to Washington on Wednesday for a hearing on a bill that would make it easier for people with dangerous histories to obtain silencers, legislation that I believe would make our country’s gun-violence crisis even worse. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined doing this, but my life changed when a stranger at a gas station shot and killed Jordan, my only child, after a dispute over loud music. Pushing for smarter gun laws won’t bring Jordan back, but I am committed to doing whatever it takes to spare other parents the pain of burying their child due to senseless gun violence.
Soon after news of the Virginia shooting broke, the hearing I planned to attend was cancelled out of respect for the people shot that morning. When it’s rescheduled, I plan to be back. In the meantime, I’m thinking today of each of the victims of this week’s tragic shootings, including the countless unreported gun deaths that are, tragically, a daily occurrence in this country. And I remain as committed as ever to speaking out about the urgency of ending gun violence.
Each day more than 90 people in the U.S. are killed with guns, and hundreds more are injured. These numbers are staggering, and they set us apart from other developed countries. Smarter laws will never prevent every shooting, but I refuse to believe we can’t make our country just as safe for our children as other countries have for theirs.
Wednesday’s shooting jolted us, reminding all of us just how much work we have to do to make our communities as safe as they should be. When even our congressmen and congresswomen are at risk, none of us are truly safe — and that’s particularly true in communities of color and other communities hardest hit by gun violence.
My son brought joy and laughter into my life and into the lives of everyone who met him. I miss him every day, and I’ll forever be grateful that I got to be his mom. On trying days like Wednesday, it’s memories of my son that turn my sadness into resolve to keep fighting for the safety of our families.
I know that our country is better than this. Let’s make this tragedy the one we meet with action.
Lucy McBath is the Faith and Outreach Leader for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action and, in her personal capacity, is a member of the Mothers of the Movement.