What do America’s gun laws and the latest senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas have to do with divorce?
Echoing the words of Tina Turner, “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”
As I write this piece, I feel a lump in my throat as tears well and sadness overwhelms me. My heart breaks for the innocent people and families caught up in “America’s Deadliest Shooting Massacre.”
So why am I talking about this tragedy today, here, on DivorceMoms.com? I mean, haven’t we been bombarded enough by the media coverage and disturbing videos of chaos, being circulated around social media?
The reason I need to be talking about this recent massacre is that the solution to both circumstances (that is, gun violence in America and in divorce and domestic violence), are the same.
Below are a few statistics on suicide/homicides during divorce or domestic abuse. Women by and far are at greater risk of being killed by a gun if they are estranged from an abusive husband. We may not want to hear this, it may be easier to not think about BUT, don’t we owe it to women in danger to make sure they can escape an abusive marriage without fear of death?
Think about the following statistics if you believe the 2nd amendment right to bear arms is more important than protecting everyone in our society.
- Of the 282 murder-suicide events in the first half of 2014, 261 (93 percent) were known to involve a firearm.
- Of the 72 percent of murder-suicides that involved an intimate partner, 93 percent were females killed by their intimate partners. Among the incidents where females were killed by intimate partners, 94 percent involved a gun.
- Most of the killers in murder-suicides were men. Of the 285 suicides, 254 (89 percent) were male, 30 (11 percent) were female, and one was of unidentified gender.
- Most of the murder-suicide victims were women. Of the 332 homicide victims, 252 (76 percent) were female, 79 (24 percent) were male, and one was of unidentified gender.
- Forty-five of the homicide victims were children and teens less than 18 years of age.
- Of the murder-suicides involving a male murderer and three or more victims, 46 percent were perpetrated by family annihilators – murderers who kill their intimate partners and their children before killing themselves.
Identify the gun problem, then take meaningful action.
In Australia, where I reside, gun laws are strict. When Australia experienced our deadliest mass shooting in 1996, 35 people were killed. Tough laws were introduced to prevent further atrocities. Anyone caught with an unregistered firearm could be slapped with a hefty fine or an extensive jail term.
In 20 years, we have not seen gun violence anywhere close to the scale of the mass shooting in 1996.
In contrast, crossing over to the other side of the globe, focusing on America, it’s a very different story.
According to Gun Violence Archive, each year gunfire kills over 33,000 people in the United States. In 2017 alone, 273 mass shootings have already been recorded to date. Yet still, nothing has been done. The brief comparison on gun violence between these two countries speaks for itself.
Having said that, I’m not here to ignite a debate over gun laws.
The message I do want to bring home though is that: Change can only be accomplished with meaningful action.
Unless stronger gun control laws are introduced in America, nothing will change. America will continue to see hundreds of mass shootings each year. Tens of thousands of people will continue to take their own lives by firearms. Hundreds of children will continue to be injured or killed by guns. Women will continue to die yearly at the hands of an abuser who owns a gun.
Although we cannot singlehandedly change laws within our own societies, we can identify problems within our own households and take effective action to make life better and less dangerous for ourselves, and our children.
Therefore, I’d like to invite you to reflect on your own life by asking yourself:
What problems are you struggling with that affects your health or relationships, or both? Problems, which keeps you stuck, wastes time or money?
- Are you secretly or unknowingly self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, or gambling?
- Are you still fighting with your ex, either behind or in front of your children?
- Are you calling your husband a narcissist and shifting the blame for everything, solely onto him?
- Are you suffering from fear, guilt, anger, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, sadness, depression, or even suicidal tendencies?
- Are you letting divorce dictate what you can or can’t have, do or be?
If your answer to any of the questions above is “Yes”, then like me in the past, you may have temporarily stepped into the shoes of a “victim”.
It’s time to release that victim mentality. Take responsibility and control of your own life.
These problems are your own and only you can fix them – with meaningful action.
If certain people/circumstances/events are currently weighing you down, using the formula below can help you move forward in a positive direction:
- List those “problems/stressors” in your life that require change or attention.
- For each problem, come up with a follow-up action. (A “meaningful” action is an action that improves or enriches your life.)
- For each problem, list some helpful resources that can assist you in finding solutions or solving your problems.
Here is an example of how this would work:
- Problem– Experiencing symptoms of depression (including but not limited to low mood, unable to concentrate, sleeping problems, headaches and muscle pains, negative thoughts)
- Follow Up Action– Seek professional support
- Helpful Resources– Physician/call a Helpline
At times, life may feel hard post-divorce. However, we must remember that how we got to where we are, is no longer relevant. The only thing that we have power over is what we do today.
Identify the problem, then take meaningful action.
God Bless America.