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Break the Chains 

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Really, it's happened again?

How many times do we have to see

Families torn asunder

Friends ripped away from friends

Communities burying their young

Places of business, schools, churches

Turned into memorials for the fallen

Like they were sites of war battles

The new Gettysburgs are Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland.

How many lists of names

Do we need to see scroll on the evening news?

How many more tears of those left behind

Do we have to see before we fill a dam?

How many more times

Must we listen to the inept

Tell us it's not time for the conversation

That it's too complicated to solve

That it was a lone terrorist act

That it would restrict our rights

As if life, liberty and pursuit of happiness

Weren't really guaranteed for the dead

Only for the gun lobby that puts

Dirty dollars in their pockets

So that they can pretend to care

So that nothing really changes

While their fat cat aristocrats

Bathe in blood of the innocent

All in the name of the Constitution

As if it were never amended or changed

How long will they make us all slaves to the almighty gun?

When will we rise up and break the chains?

John Koetzner lives in Healdsburg.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write

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