Oprah interviews Team Atlantic writer David Frum after Texas school shooting

We have all become too accustomed to bad news. Atrocities in Ukraine. The Buffalo Hate Murders. Parents unable to find formula for their newborns. Baby formula! It’s enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head and never get out of bed. Numb.

But when I woke up last Tuesday to find that on his eighteenth birthday a young man had bought an assault rifle and, a week later, driven to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, wearing a bulletproof vest, then shot and killed as many children and teachers as he could find – many of them as young as 10all despair I felt outraged. I became crazy.

As I often do when trying to make sense of what’s going on in the world, I went Atlantic, whose thoughtful and intelligent coverage of all the issues close to my heart have become addicted to during the pandemic. One of the writers I read regularly is David Frum, who that day wrote an article titled, “America’s Hands Are Full of Blood.” YesI thought while reading it. He is right. I decided to do my own listening tour to learn more about gun violence. I reached out to David Frum to have a chat.

Frum is a conservative who believes that the increase in gun violence we are seeing is actually directly linked to the lack of gun regulation in our country, as well as the feeling among many that guns equal the power. He opened his article on Tuesday with a quote from the Bible, the words of Isaiah: “And when you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; yea, when you pray much, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

In our conversation for Oprah Daily, we explained why Frum went from being silent on the subject of gun violence and safety to becoming a strong supporter of gun regulation after Sandy Hook. When he heard about that horrific elementary school shooting ten years ago, he looked at his then 10-year-old daughter and thought: I have to talk. He was as good as his word.

He told me that when he tells friends of his who own guns what Canadians have to go through to buy guns (psychological evaluations, letters of recommendation, written permission from intimate partners that ‘they’re okay with their spouse or boyfriend owning a gun) they look at him in disbelief. I asked him: How did we get here? Like many of us, he too is looking for answers.

We discussed why we went from a country whose citizens primarily used guns as tools – for hunting, to protect farm animals from coyotes, to maintain public safety – to a country seemingly obsessed with guns. Surprisingly, it even seems that when mass shootings like Uvalde’s happen, gun sales go up. That’s right, stand up! Our hands are full of blood.

I could have talked with David Frum for hours, and I’m happy to share some of that conversation with you on Oprah Daily. He too is appalled and ashamed and angry that since Sandy Hook our gun problem has only gotten worse, despite the fact that many in the field are pushing hard for legislation that would make it more difficult to acquire assault rifles and would take a closer look at those who shouldn’t be able to buy guns in the first place. Inroads are underway on this front, but not fast enough. So what do we do?

The first thing we have to do is believe that change can happen, that we can make change. Think of the profound effect Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had through collective action. That’s what Shannon Watts and Moms Demand Action are trying to channel now. They are 8 million people. Let’s join them. Research which of your local, state, and federal political candidates are on the side of gun safety and support them.

Most importantly, remember this, in Frum’s words: “The future hasn’t arrived yet.” What does that mean? It means we cannot resign ourselves to a future that includes mass shootings. It means it’s time to put aside any feelings of hopelessness we may be feeling and do whatever we can to make sure our children feel safe when they go to school, or to the grocery store. or a movie theatre, or at a concert.

Doing nothing is not an option.

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