Letter: Vote for comprehensive gun control

To the Editor:

In the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, consider the difference between `reaction' and `response.' A reaction is our first knee-jerk action - words, perhaps, or something that attempts to diffuse (defuse?) one's immediate pain or shock. A response is more thought-out, considered, and careful, and is usually more long-lasting.

The February 14th shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School was the 18th school shooting since January 1st. Only a month and a half into the new year! Seventeen people, most of them students, were killed yesterday, and 14 wounded or critically injured. The alleged shooter was apprehended, is 19 years old, and carried a single AR-15 rifle.

As I listened to the news reports yesterday, one commentator actually asked a guest if the suspect was `emotionally disturbed.' Insert my own sarcastic tone here: Well, yes! Of course! Anyone who kills school children is emotionally disturbed!

Of course, the airwaves and news reports were full of officials and politicians spouting the usual `we must do more to enhance treatment for mentally disturbed people.' Apparently they have already forgotten - I certainly had - that Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress EXPANDED ACCESS TO GUNS FOR THE MENTALLY IMPAIRED LAST FEBRUARY!

So I ask, in all sincerity, who is the more `mentally impaired'? The young shooter in this case, or the Republicans who passed such legislation, or the NRA and gun lobbyists who fund Republican politicians with, effectively, hush money? Or is it us, the collective body of the electorate who keep voting these people in? I suggest it is all of us. We are all complicit.

Thoughts and prayers are fine, but they're too easy and don't go nearly far enough. As Americans, we like to think of our country's exceptionalism. Since Columbine 20 years ago, since Sandy Hook - and Virginia Tech and the Las Vegas and Pride shootings, and far too many others - we have become exceptional in one regard: such massacres have become what Mike Finnegan of the Sun-Sentinel.com calls `the uniquely American experience.' No other country in the world today can claim such horrors, nor would or do they want to.

Have we learned nothing since Columbine? Apparently not. And our children and our families - and our society - are dying as a result. It is time to respond: to get our complicit heads out of our complicit you-know-whats and vote for comprehensive gun control.

Genie Rayner



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