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Valentine Gun Violence in America

Updated: Feb 17

We feel broken hearted again. Another Valentine's Day has come and gone and another mass school shooting in America occupies the 24-hour news cycle.

This time, the Valentine murders happened in our home state, at a college attended by many friends and family members.

This time we are far away from the gun violence on an island called Madeira in Portugal. We never lock our doors here or worry about gun violence or violence of any kind. It is truly a kinder, gentler and more neighborly place.

Me and my husband, Rob, and our dog, Happy, were frolicking in the mountains yesterday afternoon when I received a WhatsApp text from my niece, "School shooting at MSU (Michigan State University) 😭😭😭!

My niece's daughter is a senior in high school and will be starting college in Michigan next fall. My niece is a department director at a small Michigan college. Her family lives pretty close to Oxford High School where there was another school shooting about a year ago. Her daughter played volleyball against Oxford High School and attended events at that school.

I have always felt a great degree of patriotism as an American. I loved studying constitutional law in college and, like many Americans, was brought to tears by the musical Hamilton from "all the democracy."

I vote, even in small elections, and I proudly post selfies with my "I Voted" stickers on social media to encourage others to participate.

But I don't want to live in this United States anymore and the never-ending-mass shootings are the primary reason why. Mass shootings are horrific. The powerlessness of Americans to stop this senseless gun violence is even more devastating.

Before we fell asleep last night in peaceful Portugal we watched a few snippets of news about the shooting at MSU. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she was confident Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the newly-elected-Democrat-majority legislature would work swiftly to enact gun safety measures in Michigan. It's the first time in my life the Michigan Legislature has not been controlled by special interests who keep Republican legislators in their pockets (ie the National Rifle Association).

Nessel admitted she is afraid no matter how effectively the legislature and governor act to address gun violence, all efforts will be thwarted by right-leaning courts.

With her voice shaking, Nessel, who has two children enrolled at MSU, said Americans will not address mass shootings until we begin to value the lives of our children more than our guns.

It's a refrain many have said for decades. It falls on deaf ears.

Mass shootings are almost a daily thing now in the United States. Here in Madeira, Portugal, police news reports are about subjects such as fishing accidents (a fisherman recently lost a finger but medical authorities were hoping to repair it) and selfie deaths (a Polish tourist fell off a cliff while taking a photo by a waterfall).

In 2018 I had my left hip replaced on Valentine's Day. When I woke up from surgery the nurses warned me not to watch TV. The Parkland school shooting had just happened and was all over the news.

Some thought that shooting might make a difference. We also thought the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting might be a wake-up call.

But those shootings didn't provide the wakeup call Americans needed and I doubt the MSU shooting will, either. I feel sickened to think about what it will take for Americans to hit their bottom with the systemic greed and hate that fuels these massacres.

Information warfare, special interests and willful ignorance now inhabit the mindset of too many Americans. These Americans are not in the majority, but they are extremely well funded and organized.

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