By Adam Garber, CeaseFirePA Executive Director

I’m lucky that my son, Elon, is only two. He doesn’t yet ask about what is happening in DC where angry mobs are using force to violently undermine our democracy.

One day he will. Here’s what I’ll say: the seed was planted years ago by an ethos that might makes right. It grew in the fertile ground of angry individuals who lost a battle of opinions and chose to force their views on the country.

This seed grew in 2020 as people gathered at the Pennsylvania Capitol to oppose life-saving COVID-19 measures. Gun-wielding individuals stormed the Michigan Capitol and attempted to kidnap Governor Whitmer. And extremists have appeared at hearings on efforts to curb gun violence through Extreme Risk Protection Orders, background checks and training programs.

And I will tell Elon when this radicalized group used firearms to intimidate individuals expressing their beliefs, they wanted to stifle free speech.

If you’re talking to your kids today (grown or not), I’d love to hear what you’re telling them as well.

I want to be clear that not everyone with a firearm believes in this or acts this way. Gun owners I’ve talked to today, whether they use them for hunting or protection, are disgusted by this anti-democratic display.

It is a moment hard to imagine for me and the rest of the CeaseFirePA team. We believe in a democracy responding to the will of the people, struggling to become a more perfect union.

So then I will tell Elon what I hope, and believe, will come next. That our democracy grew stronger. People gathered together to advocate for change. Elected officials saw the danger of fanning the flames of anger and violence affecting our country.

And as the country shifted, it became safer. We found new ways to save lives from the violence and enacted new safeguards. We found ways to work together for a common purpose. Our democracy became stronger. Violence and force as a tool receded again.

You may call me naivete in moments like this, but I believe still in the future. And that hope starts with you and with kids like my son.

Facing the truth about gun violence in PA