"Those Who Cannot Act"

by Jane Hirshfield

" 'Those who act will suffer,
suffer into truth' –
What Aeschylus omitted:
those who cannot act will suffer too.

The sister banished into exile.
The unnamed dog
soon killed.

Even the bystanders vanish,
one by one,
peripheral, in pain unnoticed while"

Response to "Those Who Cannot Act" from
US Senator Chris Murphy, Connecticut

"How can Congress continue to sleep at night when, five years after the murder of twenty first-graders and six educators in their school, nothing has been done to stop the cascading waves of gun violence across America? We cannot accept the daily carnage in our streets. Getting shot while worshiping in church or watching a movie with loved ones cannot be the new normal.

"Silence from Congress in the wake of gun violence has become complicity. We don't even try to make our communities safer – and that's what's most offensive. Last year, over thirty thousand of our brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers were gunned down. And Congress has done absolutely nothing. Instead, we keep sending a loud signal that we just don't care about this epidemic of preventable murder in our country.

"The only way we change this reality is if people speak up, consistently and loudly. Ask yourself: what can you do to make sure that Orlando, or Aurora, or Sandy Hook never happens again? It can't be solely thoughts and prayers buried in tweets or in moments of silence. We must continue to speak out – to tell the stories of loved ones lost and to push for action to save lives."