Riley, my first child, died in his way of life in search of others. From an early age, it was clear that he was someone who could count on your back. He learned sign language when he was three years old, so he was able to talk to his uncle who was deaf. And when he and his friends went backpacking, he always volunteered to carry the heaviest packs and dig pots and pans into his back to make a memorable meal at the end of the day. It was. And when the shooter rushed into his UNC-Charlotte classroom on April 30, 2019 and began firing, he was at risk to protect his classmates.He charged To Danger – Decisions and sacrifices he shouldn’t have had to make.
Riley was shot and killed that day when she confronted the shooter. One other student was killed and four others were injured. My life, our family, the families of the victims, and the entire UNC-Charlotte community will never be the same.
Change the settings and repeat. Change your motivation and repeat. Change the target person and repeat. This crisis is the reality we live in, and gun violence happens anytime, anywhere. The United States leads the world among the wealthiest nations among its own people killed by fellow gun-armed civilians. A comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy is essential to address this crisis, and background checks are the foundation of that strategy. Currently, Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis celebrate the lives of all those affected by gun violence across states and nations by taking action to create better background checks. I have a chance. Includes a bipartisan majority in North Carolina, gun owners.
Before Riley was killed, I was a teacher. I taught junior high school in western North Carolina for 20 years. Not after what happened, I couldn’t go back to teaching. I always go around Riley’s memories. I am grateful for the elegance, resilience, and loving stubbornness he showed me when he learned the meaning of being a parent and grew into a unique individual. We shared such a perfect moment together in the kitchen – the kitchen certainly didn’t look perfect after that, but thinking about how excited he was, he tried a new recipe and found it. I will smile. I remember the first time we (not just me, but my cousin, aunt, uncle) met his longtime girlfriend Lauren. Both of them were much more calm than I could imagine and handled the unexpected barrage.
Riley Lived His too short life-he began to experience love, surrounded by the beauty of nature, and among his dear close friends, he gave and received constant dating from many pet dogs in his life, He worked hard and he played hard, and he knew the value of the family. But like more than 100 people every day in the United States, his life was shortened by gun violence. And each of those people left the entire universe behind. This country has a constellation of people suffering from this violent and sudden trauma, unlike the bullets that robbed us of our loved ones-invading you, tearing you up, and in every way. The trauma that changes you will have lasting consequences of devastation and relentless sorrow. And in the last few days and weeks, that constellation (a constellation that no one wants to participate in) has grown in a shocking public place.
Like many others in front of me, I took my trauma and turned it into an advocate. And now, Senators Barr and Tyris, and colleagues in the U.S. Senate, can protect lives and communities across the country and honor those killed by gun violence by working to strengthen background checks. I will. A person with a gun cannot buy a gun at a gun show from someone he meets on the internet, or from a completely stranger who has not been asked a background check or question. This is a common-sense constitutional policy endorsed by 93% of Americans, including 89% of Republicans and 89% of gun owners. There is no law that can mitigate or eliminate gun violence alone, but the collective effects of stronger gun control can change what is happening in homes, schools and communities across the country.
I share our story because no one else needs to live it. No more parents need to say goodbye to their children forever. No more siblings need to grow up without siblings, sisters, mothers, or fathers. no more.
Riley chose to act to save her life the moment she learned she was taking her last breath. Our elected leaders can also save lives by working together to protect the well-being of our families and communities and ensuring federal action on background checks. This is not about politics. It’s about protecting people. It’s about tightening loopholes in our law. It’s about our personal and collective security. It’s about our elected officials who have taken action to save us lives. It is to create America without gun violence.