We have just experienced the largest mass shooting in the history of this country and are now exploring the back story of how the assassin came to be mentally unbalanced enough to commit a mass murder.

We crave the back story to make sense of it.

But everyone has a back story. And the back story of a mass murderer is always one of psychological imbalance.

OK, we need to focus on mental health, but we can’t ever control for violence if a person is willing to die to kill. What we can control is the type of weapon the mass murderer uses and how many are killed.

This isn’t rocket science, but every clarion call leads to Congress shooting down a ban on assault weapons.

Is Congress filled with cowards?

The back story of a typical congressional member is his/her need to raise incredible sums of money to get reelected. The NRA provides campaign funding. As a result many in Congress put their job security ahead of their constituent’s lives. To narrow it down a bit more: many in Congress sacrifice our lives for their livelihoods. To drill down even deeper: as a body, the US Congress arms criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill with assault weapons.

OK, we need to focus on election reform, but we can’t control for the intoxicating lure of special interest money. What we can control is who stays in Congress and who doesn’t.

This isn’t rocket science, but every clarion call to remove members who stand in the way of gun control dies because of voter apathy.

Who holds the real power over Congress?


What is your back story?

How many times will you tell your children and grandchildren that the latest mass shooting is an isolated incident? How many times will you tell them they need not worry – that worry is your job – and that you will keep them safe? How long before you tell them the truth: they can’t relax, and they need to learn what to do when they are on the wrong end of an assault weapon.

Get a grip! Use your power to stop the bullets

The majority of US population supports gun control – but the majority doesn’t walk, bike, bus or drive to a voting booth to remove legislators who are in the back pocket of the NRA. There are currently six up for reelection in November. More will be up for reelection in 2018.

While we can’t eliminate all assault weapons, we can legislate to:

  • stop selling them;
  • make it a crime to possess them;
  • buy back those in circulation;
  • make background checks mandatory on the purchase of all firearms; and
  • support the manufacture of smart guns.


Take the next five minutes of your family’s life and send emails to your congressional representatives saying you have had it! If your representatives are pro gun control, tell them you support their effort. Be clear that anyone coming up for reelection won’t get your vote if they don’t support significant gun control.  How hard is that?  Do you think you could do that once a year until the ban on assault weapons is law? Of course you can!

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House:

Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader

Your state Senate and House Representatives (the link brings your representatives up automatically after you enter your zip code

Vicki Panagotacos PhD, FT is a grief counselor and life transition coach.  She writes for her blog,, is founder of, and author of Gaining Traction: Starting Over After the Death of a Life Partner.
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