Commentary: Why my definition of ‘pro-life’ also applies to gun control

I am “pro-life.”

Believing in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death is a commitment to humanity that my fellow Texans have proven time and again they do not fully support. Being “pro-life” is more than just being anti-abortion.

I valued the life of my son in my womb. I value his life now. I value his life when he is out of my hands — at school, learning to be respectful, cooperative and kind. I feel the same way about your life, the lives of your children and the lives of all those walking among us, imbued with the individual soul that God gave them when they were conceived — and that they continue to harbor.

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Gun rights advocates with the “people kill people” line argue that we can live in a world where individuals own tactical assault rifles but where there are no mass shootings. We do not live in that world anymore. Because gun rights advocates obtusely refuse to accept this, it becomes clear that we are at a point where individuals value their right to own a gun over the life of my 3-year-old son. They value the right to own an assault weapon over the life of your grandchild, spouse, neighbor and friend. We’ve reached a breaking point. The capacity to value human life has diminished in the face of a desire for possessions that were created to be murderous.

Those who are truly “pro-life” believe that there is no place for tactical, semi-automatic weapons in civilian hands. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran told Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Alondra Gittleson that he would not be in favor of a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 because they are used in boar huts. Does our need to more conveniently slaughter vermin supersede my 3-year-old’s right to life? According to Mr. Corcoran, it does.

The Sandy Hook massacre was a breaking point for me. Politicians did nothing. The NRA did nothing. Gun rights advocates send death threats to the parents of Sandy Hook victims who now advocate for change. These depths have been going deep for a while. Former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson was famous for saying that, in Texas, we define gun control as “aiming with two hands.”

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In the days following the Florida school shooting, Kathleen Wall, a congressional candidate in a Texas primary, ran a commercial on television in which she proudly gives viewers a lesson on the proper way to shoot a gun.

The depths are getting deeper.

I am going to go to Washington, D.C., and will walk in the March for Our Lives on March 24 because I am despondent and frightened. I feel as a Texan I have no option for change. I feel my child is always in danger. Will marching in a mob of people change anything? Perhaps not. But I will be present. My son will be present. We will have stood witness to the hypocrisy of so many who claim to be what we actually are: “pro-life.”

Children in schools, worshippers in churches, and people on the street have a right to life. They are now vulnerable people we need to protect. We should not consider ourselves finished until the morning we wake up and are not concerned that our children will end the day perforated with ammunition from semi-automatic weapons.

We’ve read some of the text messages that came out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas between students and their families. “If I don’t make it, I love you.” Children whose minds should be exploding with the possibilities of life and contemplating only brilliant futures were instead contemplating mortality — they were instead addressing their imminent death with their mothers over cellphones.

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Perhaps we’re at the point of of devolution — and now the lives of our children are no more valuable than the need to expediently butcher boars en masse. Maybe that’s true for Richard Corcoran and Kathleen Wall. Maybe to some of my fellow Texans. But not to me.

I am “pro-life.” I will march.

Richardson lives in Magnolia.

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