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Stolen Joy

Watching the Superbowl with my sons, Chris and Dan

When Patrick Mahomes wrapped his arms around Mecole Hardman, after the Superbowl winning touchdown, I did the same with my two adult sons. Along with Chiefs fans everywhere, we shared a moment of unbridled joy.

Seventy-two hours later came the mass shooting at the Superbowl victory parade in Kansas City. In a heartbeat, our joy was snatched from us.

We’ve reached a point where these senseless tragedies have become so commonplace that we’ve become inured. After the shooting, a friend said, “I am saddened but not surprised.”

The lack of policy around common-sense gun reform has led to this awful situation.


  • Missouri ranks 38th among the 50 states when it comes to gun law strength, according to the Giffords Law Center: 155 Mass shootings have occurred there since 2013.

  • According to an ABC report, Re-thinking Gun Violence, “Mass shootings, an all-too-common occurrence in the U.S., are also exceedingly rare in peer countries — where governments have often been quick to pass gun reform in the wake of such tragedies.”

We don’t have to live like this. Can you imagine running with friends and strangers to a celebration never worrying about being shot?

As citizens we have the power to pressure our political leaders into enacting common-sense gun reform. The question: Do we have the will?

Let’s act now, so that our children and grandchildren can know what we knew for three days in February 2024: Unbridled joy.

This blog was first published in the Lawrence Journal World on February 23, 2024

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