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Mr. President,

I’d prefer not to write about waking up a year ago today only to discover you’d be our new president. So instead I’ll just thank you for thoughts and prayers regarding the Texas massacre. I’m sure the murder victims’ families and your base appreciate it. And how about those first responders: praise ‘em in a tweet! That’s enough distraction from all the gun violence, especially while you’re out of the country making America gasp again. Anyone for another moment of silence? In fact, make that silence last the rest of your time in office. That’s how the top recipients of the NRA’s funding also want us distracted.

I know, it’s not appropriate to politicize gun tragedies in America. After all, that would give us something to politicize every 45 minutes. But let’s look at the bigger picture here. It’s not about politicizing those 26 murdered Sunday, or even the 58 victims in Las Vegas last month. It’s about the 1,000 murdered  Americans in the 34 days between those two tragedies, on top of the over 100 more murdered between this past Sunday’s shooting spree and the publication of this letter. If you can declare the opioid epidemic a health emergency, why don’t the more than 30,000 annual gun deaths, of which 12,000 are homicides, qualify as one? Let me guess: it’s because your friend Bill O’Reilly called these horrific acts “the price of freedom.” So if gun violence is the price of freedom as it pertains to the second amendment, I guess getting sexually assaulted by Bill O’Reilly is the price of freedom as it pertains to the first.

We have anywhere between 270 million and 300 million guns in the U.S. Do you really expect us to believe that gun violence will subside if we bump it up to 400 million? More subtly, think about that range: not only have we been unable (perhaps unwilling is the better word) to do anything about the gun violence epidemic, we can’t even figure out to the nearest ten-millionth how many guns are actually out there! And Wayne LaPierre would have us believe, as he claimed during the NRA’s endorsement of you last year, that, “If she [Hillary Clinton] could, she would ban every gun and destroy every magazine.” Suuuuure she would…all gazillion of ‘em.

Call me crazy (just not the level of craziness that would stop me from buying an assault rifle), but I actually agree with your own Military Health System nominee: it IS insane that civilians can buy assault rifles. So let’s pretend it’s not a gun issue, but a mental health issue, as you and your (dwindling) supporters say. If it’s not about the guns but about mental health, then why on earth did you revoke gun checks for people with mental illnesses?

And why are you gutting Obamacare, stripping millions of people of their access to mental health? Maybe you can repackage it so that anyone allergic to bullets can get more coverage.

In all seriousness, yesterday’s letter to you outlined some very sensible ideas on how to begin staunching the death toll. To that list I’d add modernize the ATF and fund the CDC to research gun violence. After all, if we are to believe the NRA’s mantra that more guns make America safer, wouldn’t research approved by a Republican president and Congress help prove it?

Stop listening to that “twice-the-bullets-is-twice-as-free” lobbyist propaganda that says any sensible gun legislation will bring about a horrific Hitleresque dystopia. Start looking at the very real horrific dystopia every day gun violence has already put us in.

And now that you’re in Asia this week, how about telling Kim Jong-Un this: “One thousand of my citizens   are murdered by guns every month and I refuse to do anything about it. Imagine what I’ll do to you!” That ought to get him scared. I know we are.



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