t TIME, we’ve been in the business of words for nearly a century. But it is hard to think of a task more challenging for my colleagues and me than finding the words to convey the horror, despair, and senselessness of America’s epidemic of gun violence. This year alone, there have already been 213 mass shootings in the U.S.—and 27 shootings at schools. Thoughts and prayers will not be enough to stop this terrible record that no country anywhere in the world can match.
Angel Garza was the father of Amerie (10 years old), who was among 21 people killed during the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde Texas. “How do you look at this girl and shoot her,” he said, while clutching his daughter’s picture. Or the eloquence and passion of Golden State Warriors basketball coach Steve Kerr this week: “When are we going to do something? I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.”
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Over the decades, TIME’s message after tragedies like this has often been offered in the form of the covers that we have found ourselves publishing with painful frequency, particularly in recent years. The word that Steve Kerr used, “Enough,” is one that we too have used several times on the cover, most recently after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 and in 2019 after a week in which 35 people were killed in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, Calif.
Illustration by John Mavroudis in TIME
Today, echoing Kerr’s words, we use it again. In the aftermath of three major mass shootings in just 11 days—from Buffalo, N.Y., to Laguna Woods, Calif., to Uvalde. D.W. Pine was the creative director. John Mavroudis is an artist who drew the U.S. list of cities which have experienced each of the 213 mass shooters this year. It was based on data from Gun Violence Archive. These incidents are defined as at least four persons being injured or killed. Mavroudis, who wrote the names of all 253 cities affected by mass shootings during that year for his TIME magazine cover on Aug 19, 2019, used an identical approach.
“So many familiar places to draw again. Chicago. Baltimore. Las Vegas. Louisville. Houston. Jacksonville. Stockton. And so many new places,” says Mavroudis. ”In the time it took me to carefully write the words ‘Uvalde, TX,’ that gunman extinguished so many beautiful lives. I could feel the sadness and fear and horror overwhelm me again.”
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The bigger question of course—far more important than what words we use—is what we as a society do. The gavel shape formed by the word “Enough” on our new cover is meant to signify the need for action. And that’s what the vast majority of Americans want, with 81% supporting universal background checks and 87% supporting a ban on gun purchases by those with mental illness, according to a Pew survey conducted last year. This week many people have noticed that 18-year-olds who are not allowed to drive or drink should not be permitted to own two AR-style rifles, and 375 rounds, of ammunition, in three days.
Unconscionable to do nothing in the face routine slaughter is. As our cover says, “When are we going to do something?”
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