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Every time there is another mass shooting, we hear the same responses from our leaders. I know that we are sick to the depths of our collective souls of the empty offers of “thoughts and prayers.” We’ve heard the same meaningless blather from our national leaders for years.

We need more. We need much more than these same pointless platitudes. We turn to our national leaders, pushing them to take some action to address the endless horror that keeps unfolding in our cities and towns.

But you know what? I think we also need to demand stronger, more powerful words from the local leaders who go in front of the cameras when these massacres happen.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to hear that yet another American town is going to “pull together” to recover from slaughter. I don’t need to hear that people will be able to move past the murders of their neighbors because they are a “tight-knit” community.

I’m ready for someone, in some typically American place, to tell the country that there is in fact no way to pull together enough to heal from a mass shooting.

I want some small-town mayor to tell the truth.

It occurs to me that Littleton, Colorado has never recovered from what happened at Columbine High School more than 20 years ago. Did you know that to this day, busloads of tourists stop at the school to look at the site of the grisly murders? Sick and sickening.

Newtown, Connecticut is still grieving and has never gotten past the slaughter of its first graders. Can anyone in this country here the name of the town, or of Sandy Hook School, without remembering the horrific attack?

So I don’t want to hear how strong the terrorized town is, how resilient its people have always been, or how they will come together to help each other to cope.

I want to hear that the people of this typical American place will forever be traumatized by the images of their dead friends and neighbors. I want to hear one local leader say that his life and those of every resident has been shattered forever.

It’s time, past time, for us to look the reality of gun violence in the face. It’s time to admit that all the thoughts and prayers in the world won’t undo the fear that will follow the people who survive these attacks. We need to hear and understand that no matter how much people pull together, they can never put those bullets back into those guns. No matter how many units blood the people of the town donate, they can never bring back their dead children.

Those are the words that I think we need to hear.

(“Ruger Mini14 with folding stock at SHOT Show Media Day” by Tac6 Media is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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