Dear Mr. Obama and Members of Congress,
We are once again a nation in mourning.
On Friday, at the hands of a shooter whose motives were as vile as they were unfathomable, more than two dozen people, including at least 20 children, were killed in a Connecticut grade school. This massacre of innocents is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching.
What it is not is unique. In the United States, now a society as violent as they come, these bloody scenes have become commonplace. There was Columbine, a mass murder of high school students, and Virginia Tech, a mass murder of college students. Now we have Sandy Hook, a mass murder of elementary schoolchildren.
What a country.
We know what will follow because we've been there before -- in the aftermaths of these grim episodes and others, including a Colorado movie theater in July (12 dead, 59 injured), an Arizona congresswoman's town meeting in 2011 (six dead, 13 wounded) and a Texas military base in 2009 (13 dead, 29 wounded).
What will follow are the empty defenses by the National Rifle Association of the right to own guns without limits, the speeches on the floor of Congress that call for action but lead nowhere and the visit by the president to the inevitable public memorial. More tears and more hugs, but no solutions.
We are tired of simply hugging our children, Mr. President. Kissing them good night and tucking them into bed is no defense against deranged gunmen with easy access to deadly weapons and more firepower than a police patrolman. Americans need action from Washington, not to mention some backbone.
It's time the nation took a balanced view of gun ownership, as if victims' lives mattered. It's time we took a hard look at the failed mental health system, to ensure it is doing all it can to keep potential killers off the streets. What will it take for the left and the right to agree on a real solution?
Mr. Obama, you promised "meaningful action" in the wake of this latest carnage, but we've heard it all before. With other nations shocked and dismayed by the gun violence that tears across America, the world looks to Washington for a potent response. If one doesn't come this time, after the loss of so many children, then the bloody hands will also be on the people we elected.