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Defeat politicians who enable this carnage
More than 20 died in Texas at the hands of an alienated, angry man wielding a weapon of war. The NRA and Republican politicians claim this is the price of freedom. That our Second Amendment gives us the unalienable and unlimited right to bear arms. That we should just harden the “targets” and arm more citizens. This is insane.
Our constitutional freedoms have limitations. We do not allow virgin sacrifice in the name of religion. “Hang Mike Pence!” is not free or protected speech. The schoolhouse slaughters in Uvalde, Parkland, Columbine and Newtown were committed by violent sociopaths, not well-regulated militiamen.
NRA propaganda has created a sick and radical subculture of gun fetishists, and NRA cash has bought Republican politicians lock, stock and barrel. Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-Point Plan “will defend our gun rights always, at all costs.” Sen. Marco Rubio believes “gun laws are ineffective.” Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes “constitutional” carry. Rep. Byron Donalds, endorsed by the NRA, admitted “guns are just tools used for mass violence.” None is in favor of background checks for private gun sales or the banning of assault rifles — the weapon of choice for mass murderers. Their fealty is to the gun lobby, not their constituents. They are not pro-life.
Reducing gun violence will be the work of a generation. We must defeat politicians who enable this carnage and call it freedom. No one is free, until America enacts common-sense gun control. Vote as if your life depends on it.
Connie Holzinger, Fort Myers
Sickened by ceaseless mass murders
More senseless killings of innocent children. Shootings happen every day with all kinds of targets: black people, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, country music lovers, Muslims, gay people, grocery shoppers, moviegoers, children. Every shooting a devastating numbing horror story. But for some reason school shootings seem the worst to me. I have children who have grown up with this reality. My daughter has suffered panic attacks during active shooter drills. She called me on her cellphone once from the school bathroom because she'd heard an eighth-grader on her bus had a kill list. She thought the shooting would happen that day. The deputy on site told us what she'd heard was true, but "Had been handled." Before she went to school today, I asked if she'd heard the news and how she was doing. She shrugged and said, "I'm OK. This is just what it’s like to live in the United States." And finished tying her shoes. I've heard arguments on all sides of the gun debate. One thing I believe is true: We are all sickened by ceaseless mass murders. Should we also be resigned to them? Or can we imagine a future where this doesn't happen every day? If we can imagine that future, what would it take to get there? We all need to grapple with that question. We owe it to our kids.
Jennifer Boddicker, Naples
This is the crisis in democracy
In our nation the young are better protected in the womb than in the classroom. In today's America the "Right to Life" ends at birth, giving way to the right to bear high-powered semi-automatic assault-style rifles with large ammunition magazines. And to sell them to young males at the most violence-prone time of their lives. The fact that almost every mass shooter is a young male between 18-25 may be true, but don't tread on our 2nd Amendment rights, so suck it up!
You can't drink until you are 21 because it is unsafe for you and those around you. But go ahead and accumulate an arsenal and while you are at it, some body armor. Nobody really cares, not about you and certainly not about what you're up to. Even if you broadcast you violent intentions online no one seems to pay much attention to you.
But you'll make them care, right?!
Are all these victims of the same sort of depressed suicidal person using the same sort of weapon to do the same sort of thing over and over again merely collateral damage in an obsession to get elected and re-elected? If there's a crisis in democracy, it's from this, not from some blustering old gas-bag.
Bruce Diamond, Fort Myers
Legislators must take action
God -- forgive us!
Once again we have allowed people to acquire firearms and kill your people! Children!
Help us to carry the message that killing isn't the answer -- that we must control weapons of destruction, and that we MUST have our legislators take action to prevent this continuing breaking of your commandment! Thou shall not kill.
Franklin Warner, Fort Myers
Sane people have got to stop this
Another mass shooting. I’m not going to bother to say which one. By the time this gets to the paper it will be old news. “They” will say it’s not the time to discuss it. Our hero here in Florida wants everyone and their crazy cousin Eddy to carry whatever they want, wherever they want. Us sane people have got to stop this stuff. I’m afraid us sane people are getting to be few and far between. That’s what we get for not playing dirty. I’m getting tired of them making the rules as they go.
Charles Perkins, North Fort Myers
At least outlaw assault weapons
After another mass shooting in this, the only country to experience these on a regular basis, what may or probably won’t happen to our federal gun laws? With most citizens agreeing with universal background checks and the outlawing of assault type weapons, the right side of our Legislature won’t consider any significant restrictions for fear they may get primaried and possibly lose their power. How is that for representing their constituents?
The second constitutional amendment was written at a time when the weapons were muskets which required reloading with powder each time a shot was fired. Now, not only do we have way more guns than any country, the assault weapons employed in most mass shootings are the type of weapons used by our military. For God’s sake, at least outlaw these weapons. Texas, where the latest attack occurred, has the most lax gun laws in the country including open carry, no training and they lowered the age to purchase to 18.
If ever there was a time to eliminate the filibuster, this along with voting rights should take precedence over any other legislations.
Glenn Chenot, Cape Coral
Write to your senators and demand action
Why is it so hard to figure out what's behind all of the shootings in this country? It seems we turn a blind eye to the obvious solution because it is not politically expedient for the forces in charge. Yet a basketball coach has the "guts" to say it like it is. Let's stop pretending that we are working on the issue and do it. Write to your senators and demand action. That's the only way it will stop.
Thank you Coach Kerr for telling it like it is.
Carolee Drotos, Fort Myers
Responsibility lies with voters
So, who’s responsible for the recent Uvalde TX or Buffalo NY, or El Paso TX, or any of this year’s 200-plus mass shootings? The easy answer is the 50 (mostly Republican) senators who block sensible gun legislation.
Actually, the responsibility lies with voters who elected these senators. In Florida, anyone who voted for Marco Rubio is responsible. Rubio claims “gun laws are ineffective.”
Rubio received over two million dollars from the NRA in 2016 and nearly that much from other pro-gun organizations. Rubio received an A+ to B+ NRA rating and continues to take money from the NRA and votes accordingly.
He refuses to consider banning semiautomatic rifles, says criminals don’t buy guns at gun shows, and voted no on banning high-capacity magazines.
Rubio says he’s pro-life but he’s really pro-gun which is another way of saying, pro death or pro-gun lobby cash. He claims that background checks “would not have prevented any of these shootings“ and says “gun control legislation won't stop mass shootings.”
If you’re concerned about mass shootings, vote to replace Rubio with Val Demings, a former police chief who supports sensible gun regulation and is tough on crime.
Tom and Mary Ann Donahue, Fort Myers
NRA money over children's safety
Like so many, my heart is broken by the loss of 19 innocent schoolchildren in Texas. Nineteen sets of parents have had their lives changed in the blink of an eye. They will never forget how they sent their child to school in the morning and will never see them again. Like so many politicians, I do have thoughts and prayers tonight.
These are my thoughts: HR8 needs to be passed in Congress. It calls for universal background checks. It’s been sitting for two years and over 50 senators refuse to do anything to pass it. It seems they are too indebted to the will of the NRA. Does money from the NRA mean more than our children’s lives? Marco Rubio, who is fond of quoting the Bible on social media, (his post today ironically was “You shall not kill” ), is one of the highest beneficiaries at $3 million while over 2,500 Floridians die by gun violence yearly. Mitt Romney got over $13 million and Mitch McConnell also took millions. Apparently, the safety of our kids doesn’t matter as much as that money. They are satisfied with the status quo. I’m not. And, I doubt very much the parents of the children killed are either. Let’s get assault weapons off the streets. No reputable hunter needs them. They are used on people, not for hunting. Let’s make universal background checks really work. Let’s raise the age to buy a gun. If you’re not responsible, old enough to drink, how are you responsible enough to have a gun? Let’s eliminate armor-piercing bullets and get rid of the ability to buy body armor. And finally, just as training and insurance is necessary to drive a car, let’s make them necessary for gun owners as well. Both are needed as a means of insuring safe use and for restitution to those that might be a victim whether by plan or accident.
Guns are the leading cause of death in children in America today. The Second Amendment refers to a the right to a “well regulated” militia. For the safety of our children and all our citizens, it’s time to listen to that part of the amendment and regulate!
So, yes, my thoughts and prayers are definitely there tonight. I pray that our political representatives have the backbone to stand up for the safety of our children. I pray that they will stand up and carve out the filibuster to pass HR8 and ensure that no more mothers and fathers have to mourn the untimely death of their child by this scourge.
And I pray for the many parents who have lost their children, for the shoppers in NY, the churchgoers in California, and so many others. May they have the strength and comfort needed to endure this horrific tragedy.
Joan Fanelli, Fort Myers
Had enough of this killing
This needs to stop! We all have children, Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We have babies, grandbabies, great-grandbabies, nieces and nephews. This is happening because of blood money in pockets of greedy congressmen. These men want to take away a woman's right to choose but can't keep those babies safe when they go to school to be happy, learn and have fun doing it. They can't keep the poison out of the baby food and the formula on the shelves to feed our babies because of the blood money in their greedy pockets. They need to pass laws for mental health programs and gun laws. There is so much mental health in this country now due to COVID long haul and the love ones they have lost. We are not a throwaway country. We the people are the backbone of this country. We put them in office and we can take them out. Think about the value of your life and the worth of your family when you go to vote. If you haven't planned to vote, I would think twice about yourself, your future and the future for your children. I have had enough of this killing and taking away our freedoms. My freedom to love and hold our beautiful children without having to worry I may never see them again.
Kara Sparrow, Fort Myers
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Texas school shooting: Opinions about gun control in the U.S. are passionate