Russell Simmons: The 24 Hour American Massacre: From Newtown to Chicago

My deepest prayers go out to the victims and their families and all the people whose hearts were broken in Newtown. As a father of two beautiful girls, I cannot begin to understand the loss that so many feel in that small, Connecticut town. It is beyond rational comprehension. I will continue to pray for those who have been touched by this tragedy and use any power I might have to help them heal.

This nation needs healing not just in Connecticut, but in every small town, big city and all fifty states that have been affected by senseless gun violence that has afflicted our country for decades. There is no time to wait until the next tragedy happens, because it already did. In the twenty-four hour period since the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, ten people were shot in the city of Chicago. Another weekend. Another massacre on the streets of the Windy City.

Unfortunately, every day in America we have “mass shootings,” just most of them are not reported in the news. This is not a contest to measure the horror of any of these tragedies, but rather should be a wake-up call to address them once and for all. Not tomorrow. Not the day after tomorrow. TODAY.

There is an obvious breaking point in a society, and we passed that a long time ago. Every other civilized country has created sensible laws that do not allow weapons of war to be in the hands of citizens. When we view a nightmare like the one in Newtown, let’s not see it in a vacuum, as the killing is this country has continued. Don’t let the 50 victims (kids) that may get shot in Chicago in any given weekend (without national debate) die or be injured in vain either. Include them in your prayers and discussions, as they are human beings as well.

This is about guns of course, however mental health, lack of opportunity and other factors weigh in when we talk about the other half of the reason for these catastrophes. However, we can all agree that the rise in gun violence is a problem that we can work on together today.

I’m hopeful that we can begin a serious dialogue that will lead to action in gun reform beginning with the re-instatement of the 1993 Assault Weapons Ban passed by President Clinton. It was allowed to expire in 2004 by President Bush and it is time to bring it back. I implore President Obama to push for this piece of legislation as quickly as he possible can. I have long admired the work of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and he has been a champion for gun reform. I join him in demanding that all of our politicians have a plan to save our babies. His work should lead the way, and President Obama should follow.

Now is the time for public outrage. Our president and every politician need to hear our voices. When a seven year old is shot and killed in Newtown, Connecticut and a seven old shot is shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois, the disease of violence that has plagued the United States of America must be cured.

~Russell Simmons

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