Above photo: Ann Wright at rally in Houston.
On Memorial Day where our country honors its wars and its war dead, it seems to me that too many in our country have adopted a new pledge of allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the guns of the United States
Of America and to the gun lobbies for which it stands,
A divided nation under guns, easily divisible, with liberty and justice for those with guns!
I changed my flight back home to Hawai’i so I could be at the protest of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Houston on Friday, May 27 following the mass murder of 19 kids and 2 teachers at the Uvalde, Texas elementary school earlier in the week.
The NRA callously refused to postpone its annual gun-selling convention in Houston despite the call for the organization to stand down in wake of yet another mass killing, the third in a period of three weeks with ten killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and one person killed and five wounded in shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California.
Thousands of angry people of all ages jammed into Discovery Park across the street from the massive George R. Brown convention center in downtown Houston.
Before I left my sister’s home for downtown, she warned me, “Remember where you are. This is Texas and anyone can carry a gun—and they won’t like what you are doing.”
Well, the gun carriers were across the street inside the convention center. Very few came out of the convention to face the thousands who were challenging their dangerous organization.
The crowd challenging the NRA and gun violence was loud but peaceful. The signs people carried hit home on the senseless murders committed by people who were allowed to buy weapons.
In Texas any 18-year-old can purchase an assault rifle and all the ammunition they want as did the 18-year-old who murdered 19 kids and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas earlier this week.
As the Texas Governor Greg Abbot and Texas Senator Ted Cruz tried to dodge answering the fact that guns kill people but instead blamed murders on mental health alone, the signs in the crowd in Houston in front of the NRA convention took on the lawmakers and politicians in Texas and around the country who are paid off by the gun lobby to kill any proposed gun control legislation.
Interestingly, former President Trump seems to like the gun-toting Second Amendment except when the killer guns are near him as his NRA admirers were required to check their weapons at Trump’s assembly door.
It’s time again to put pressure on our lawmakers to carry gun control legislation and make the 2022 midterm elections a one issue election- on gun controls.
As a minimum, requiring background checks before the purchase of weapons, a federal age limit of 21 years before one can purchase a gun, banning assault weapons and red-flagging persons with mental and/or security issues.
Time to end the allegiance of too many in our country to guns and violence and to begin to walk a path of sanity toward our own personal and national security.
Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was also a US diplomat for 16 years and served in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”