People Magazine Leads the Public Conversation on Guns

If you asked me last week to predict which national magazine would lead the fight against gun violence, People would have most definitely not have appeared on my short list. But this is our world now, apparently:

In this issue we pay tribute to the nine Oregon victims, as well as 22 other men, women and children who’ve lost their lives in mass shootings – incidents where a murderer has opened fire on a crowd – in the U.S. during the past 12 months.

We need to know that our representatives in Washington, D.C., are looking for solutions and not giving up, and they need to know if we agree or disagree with their strategies. Below, we’ve provided phone numbers, email addresses (provided by the Sunlight Foundation’s OpenCongress project) and Twitter handles (when available) for all 535 voting members of the House and Senate. Let’s make sure they know that from now on, “routine” responses just won’t cut it.

Before this stirring editorial and call to action, People's greatest contribution to society was the annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue.

Before this stirring editorial and call to action, People’s greatest contribution to society was the annual “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.

That’s People editorial director Jess Cagle, leading the way on gun responsibility. In fact, Cagle even correctly identifies the number of people who have died due to gun violence in America this year by including suicide and domestic violence statistics in his tally*. (That number, in case you haven’t read Cagle’s editorial, is 10,006. That’s 10,006 people shot dead in America this year so far.)

When even our celebrity gossip magazines can’t sit quietly by and allow this massacre to happen, you know we’ve reached a turning point. Everybody knows America has a gun problem. The only people who refuse to act are our representatives, and the only way to make them listen is by repeatedly bringing the conversation to them. I never thought I’d write this sentence, but: Good job, People magazine! Way to lead by example!

* Why wouldn’t you include every person who has died by gun? Are the dozens of women shot to death in domestic violence situations somehow less meaningful than people who are killed by mass murderers? Of course not. Every death should be mourned, and in order to appropriately mourn the dead, we must first count them, to make sure everyone is included.

Paul Constant

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