The vigil held on the Village Green in Camden on Thursday set the exact right tone for the situation we are in when it comes to school shootings and other mass murders in public places.

The speakers at that event and Camden School Superintendent Maria Libby, who provided a letter for it, spoke not in terms of hopelessness and helplessness. Instead, they talked about what we can do, about the hope we can cling to and the change we can create. Our local members of clergy and Rep. Vicki Doudera deserve credit for organizing the event and setting that tone.

For too long, we have allowed the politics of hopelessness to rule on this issue. However, the road ahead is not easy and it is not short, and we will lose more lives while we slowly work to make progress.

The first step we need to see is public outcry. We need vigils and protests, marches, letters and columns in newspapers, social media pushes. Do not remain silent on the need for gun safety measures. Take to the streets and make some noise, but do so peacefully and without violence.

We encourage young people especially to organize, to make yourselves heard. Take these events and these challenges as a call to action.

Young people, who had grown up having to do “active shooter” drills in school, have the same opportunity as every other citizen in this country to seize political power. Vote whenever you are able. Protest, walk out, debate your friends and neighbors and loved ones. Major in political science and public administration and journalism and study the law. Run for public office. Organize grass-roots efforts. Create change. It will take years, but it will be worth it.

We must be vigilant in our communities. Students, teachers, parents, community members, employers need to say something when they see that disturbing post on social media. We need to reach out to the people we see in our midst who may feel like outsiders, like no one cares about them.

The “slippery slope” approach that gun advocates have taken will not work in the future. They have decided that any legislation regarding guns is bad legislation.

However, there are examples of other freedoms that most enjoy that are regulated. Everyone agrees that they have to go through a certain process to earn a driver’s license. We understand as a society that automobiles are dangerous and those who do not drive safely and follow the rules may lose their privileges. No one sees this as curtailing the right to transportation.

The approach to guns must be the same.

It is time to stop the cop-outs and the tired arguments that you can never regulate guns or that doing so would not solve the problem. Every other nation that has restricted and limited access to guns has fewer mass shootings than the United States. If there was nothing we could do, it wouldn’t be happening just here. We are sacrificing 10-year-olds to violent deaths so that someone can enjoy owning an assault weapon they have no use for.

With responsible legislation law-abiding citizens and especially hunters could continue to enjoy their Second Amendment freedoms, but laws are needed requiring universal background checks, closed loopholes for gun sales, requirements for guns to be locked up appropriately, age restrictions for anyone under 21, and strong red-flag laws.

These measures are not gun “bans.” They are gun safety laws.

As was stated at the vigil, creating the community we want is a matter of shared work. We must toil on continuing to press the argument and demand accountability. The first step is to embrace the hope that change can happen.

Our children’s future is worth the hard work ahead.

Don’t get discouraged, get to work.

Periodically, the editorial board from The Camden Herald and The Courier-Gazette collaborate on an issue of importance.