Cheryl Stumbo is a survivor of the 2006 Jewish Federation Shooting and a citizen sponsor of Initiative 594.
This is absolutely true: You think that a tragedy like this won’t happen to you—until it does. I know all too well what the Seattle Pacific University community is feeling. When a gunman entered my workplace eight years ago, it was the very last thing I expected. Now, I work with other people like me and my family and friends—people who have had their lives violently impacted by gun violence.
Yesterday’s shooting at SPU is only the most recent reminder of how gun violence can rock a community to its core. After Café Racer, Lakewood, Federal Way, and the Jewish Federation we are now heartbroken again. Our love and support go out to the families, students and faculty of SPU. I’m familiar with the road before them—and want them to know that we are here to walk with them as they deal with what’s to come. We are also in awe of the bravery of students and first responders who stopped this tragedy from being even worse.
Virtually every neighborhood and every community in our city and our state has been touched by gun violence tragedies in the last decade, and recent weeks have seen a wave of senseless deaths across Seattle. The last decade has made the locations of shootings into household names. And it was just over a week ago that the Nation was riveted by the plea of Richard Martinez, father of a student who died at UCSB, for the insanity of gun violence to stop. He said what so many of us feel: "When will enough people say, 'Stop this madness'? We do not have to live like this. Too many people have died. We should say to ourselves, 'not one more.'"
While our hearts are broken, our determination is not. It is long past time to pass commonsense reforms to our state's gun laws so that we can stem this awful tide. While we are still learning about the details of what happened in this case, we know there are things we can do to prevent future tragedies and curb gun violence. Sadly, our politicians continue to fail to address this epidemic. If they won’t lead, it's time we the people stand up and do something.
Washington State will have a chance to pass Initiative 594 in November, which will ensure that everyone who buys a gun undergoes the same background check. This will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people, and keep our schools, homes and communities safer. We must take the first step to stopping the bloodshed. By passing Initiative 594, we have a chance to stand up and say: Not. One. More.