I wrote letters to my representatives about gun control

The shooting in Roseburg, OR last week motivated me to write letters to my representatives encouraging them to pass sensible gun control laws.

I’m listing the Oregon reps (and their contact info) to whom I wrote, and below that I will include the basic letter that I wrote and adapted for each representative.

It’s not okay to take my writing from this site without my permission, but today, everyone has my permission for this post.  Please- take my letter and use it!  Write to your representatives and adapt my letter to make it say how you feel.  Make your voice be heard!

I’m sick and tired and frustrated, but I am also realistic.  I know there’s a good chance that all these reps will ignore my letter.  That is what it is.  But at least I did something.

Today, I did something.

What will you do?


Oregon Representatives

1. Kate Brown – Governor

contact her

2. Ron Wyden – Senator

contact him

3. Jeff Merkley – Senator

contact him

(I also wrote to my state senators and local representative but choose not to list them here.)


Dear __________ ,

I have never written to any of my representatives before, but I am compelled to write now because of yet another horrific mass shooting, this time in Roseburg, Oregon.

I live in __________ and I am a wife, a mother, and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Oregon.

I watched the press conference in Roseburg the day after the shooting where Governor Brown, Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, and Representative DeFazio spoke. Not one of you spoke about possible solutions to the cancer that is gun violence. Governor Brown said that ‘today is not that day’ to speak about solutions. She is alarmingly wrong- the time is now.

This is the time for action. You can best honor the dead and the grieving by passing sensible gun control laws.

I do not know how to solve the massive problem of gun violence in this country, but I do know that gun control laws must be included. They work. They’ve worked for other developed countries like ours. It’s time to stop hiding your heads in the sand. It’s time to stop caving to gun lobbyists. It’s time to start crafting an evidence-based approach and get to work. It’s time for you to start doing your job to help make your community feel safe.

In the time it took me to craft this letter, about another four people have died from gun violence (according to the CDC, a person dies every 17 minutes from gun violence in the United States).

How many more people have to die before you take action?


Melissa ______


We Have a Responsibility to Change

I will try to keep this short, but I have thoughts and feelings swirling around that I’d like to get out into the open.

There’s not too much I can add to the words Obama said in his speech today about the shooting in Roseburg, OR today.  I agree with what he said.  Thoughts and prayers are not enough, and I am pissed too.  We need comprehensive gun control laws in this country because they work.  We need them desperately, and I want them badly before I have to send my sweet little boy out in the world to school every day.

There was only one thing I disagreed with in Obama’s speech – kind of.  He said we’ve become numb to this, and he’s right.  However, for me, I choose to not be numb.  I cried today.  I cried because I am a mom now and school shootings mean that I am raising my boy in what too often feels like a very dangerous and scary world.  I cried today because UCC is not too far from where I live.

I wrote an earlier post- another shooting, another day – about how I’m no longer shocked.  I’m sad and I am angry and I want change.

Let’s do something.  Let’s let our representatives know that mass shootings in this country are no longer acceptable and are completely preventable.  I’m writing letters.  I want my representatives to know that I am fucking angry and no one else has to die.  We have a responsibility to change this.

Like Obama, today I am mostly angry.

If anger fuels change, then I welcome it.

I am sad and angry, but I am not shocked.

I had wanted to write a funny post, and a post about my life post- being pressly freshed, but I don’t think today’s that day.  Some other time, hopefully sooner rather than later.


Another shooting.

I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened.  I was in my first year of grad school, living on the east coast when Virginia Tech happened.

I am no longer shocked when these things happen.  I stopped being shocked long ago.

I cringe when people/the media call school shootings “shocking,” because, to me, the word shocking implies that it was unexpected or we’re unable to understand what happened or why it happened – and that scares me.  To imply disbelief holds these events at arm’s length when we should be examining these public shooting phenomena under a microscope, from every angle.

The same goes for when people/the media call the shooter “a monster” or some other fantasy-like term.  To call someone a monster is to call ve an other – to distance that person for the sake of emotional protection.  If we claim an inability to explain or understand, then we’re able to wash our hands of the problem – because how can we fix something if we can’t or won’t understand it?

A third gripe is when people/the media say that the shooter “just snapped” as if this behavior, this decision to shoot people came out of frickin nowhere.  Human behavior is very predictable.  Our past behavior informs our future behavior.  There are always warning signs before someone gets to the point of going on one of these shooting sprees and I wish that instead of applying a grossly false and simplistic excuse, that we instead ask the question: what were the warning signs, and who ignored them?

I implore you to contribute to the dialogue around all this violence, because it’s going to take all of us to stop it, to prevent it.  I hope we stop blaming only guns, and stop calling for only gun control…or gun control and metal detectors…or gun control, metal detectors, and background checks.  I hope we stop dehumanizing the shooters and see them as human beings who we failed to help when they needed help the most.  I hope we work hard to reach out to people when we see them struggling with mental health issues – depression, violent tendencies, a lack of healthy coping skills, a lack of a healthy support system.

My bottom line is that we can’t ignore this problem or put bandaids on it any longer.  This virus is festering and spreading and I’m scared.  We must look at the root causes of this systemic violence and move towards prevention.

Today, I am very sad and angry, but I choose not to be shocked.

Happiness is a warm gun (bang, bang, shoo, shoo)

I spent Easter doing exactly what god intended – shooting the shit outta some crap.

As all of my loyal readers know from my post about glorious, luscious body hair, Brian bought a gun that he picked up this weekend for his birthday (Happy Birthday Brian!) and couldn’t wait to try it out.

(For the record, I don’t approve of owning guns, and so our compromise was that his gun lives at his parents’ house and gets to haunt their lives with its danger and mystery.)

Brian got a CZ 455 FS .22LR (…which is a fancy way of saying he got a rifle, y’all). As part of my birthday present to him, I decided to get him a poster of something he really hated so he could use it for target practice. At first, I thought about painting him a large picture of a gruesome zombie like in The Walking Dead, but I didn’t have enough time or resources, and I would have had to paint it all in one go since there is no place to hide a painting-in-progress in this tiny apartment. So that was a no-go. Next, I thought about a poster of Michael Bay, or maybe Jerry Bruckheimer. Nah, too creepy. Ooh, and then I had it – the movie Brian hates above all other movies for its lack of historical correctness involving war and planes – Pearl Harbor. If you haven’t heard it, please pause this blog reading to take a listen to this song (Ok, so the video is of some random dude who made it for his girlfriend, but it was the only full version of the song I could find on short notice. Plus, it’s sweet and funny. Just like jelly beans up the nose.) That song pretty much somes up Brian’s thoughts on the matter. It was settled; a Pearl Harbor poster that he could shoot up was the answer. Funny thing was, I couldn’t even bring myself to spend twenty bucks plus shipping to get a poster of such a shitty movie, so I printed out a picture of the movie poster for free. I figured this way, the 8.5×11 picture would be way more challenging for Brian than a large, fancy real movie poster. That, and I am a total cheapskate.

Needless to say, Brian loved the shooting target and showered me with kisses. He placed an orange dot on Ben Affleck’s forehead posthaste.

On Easter Sunday I was invited to Brian’s parents’ house for a delicious meal. The weather was amazing, and so I acquiesced to giving it the good old American redneck try by shooting in the general direction of some cans, plastic bottles, and Ben Affleck’s forehead in Brian’s backyard.

Now, I had actually shot a .22 when I was teenager at this family Boyscout camp, but for that we got to sit down and the guns rested on tables. (I preferred the archery range, where I actually got a bullseye, Katniss style) With Brian in his backyard, it was quite the task for my wimpy arms to hold up a very dense piece of wood and metal and try to keep it still while maintaining a regular heartrate and breathing rhythm.

But you know what?

Turns out I’m a pretty badass shot. That’s right, you heard me.


Safety first



Just call me Annie O.


He didn't need his ear anyway.

UPDATE: And as it turns out, I forgot to mention that I am nearsighted, and I was shooting at targets 75 feet away – without my glasses. It was like I was the masked Dread Pirate Roberts sword fighting Inigo Montoya! I am not left handed. Inconceivable!

All my enemies (including that kid in 2nd grade who puked on my shoes in the lunch line) had better watch out.

The Beatles weren’t kidding, you guys.