Tag Archives: gun control

Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of the Columbine School Shooting

20 years ago today, millions of high school students around the country (myself included) walked through the front doors of their high school as they did every school day. By the time the school day ended, 12 students and one teacher were dead in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

It was America’s first school shooting in what was then recent memory. Sadly, as we all know, it would not be the last.

Looking back, I can’t help but feel anger. One mass school shooting should have been enough to galvanize the nation and our leadership to change our gun laws. If New Zealand can change their gun laws after the Mosque shooting last month, why can’t America do the same? If we had, we might have prevented the shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland.

May the memories of the students and the teacher killed be a blessing and may we finally learn from the past.

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Thoughts On the New Zealand Mosque Shooting

I’m not particularly religious, but I believe that our religious texts can speak to us. One of the most important quotes, from my perspective is the following from the Talmud:

“Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.”

Yesterday, 49 worlds were destroyed when 49 innocent people were killed in two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Another 20 more were injured. The only reason these people were targeted and killed was because of their faith.

I am sick with disgust and sad at the same time. We are all human beings, regardless of who were are, what we believe or where we come from. This animal who shall not be named in this post, decided that because the worshipers are of the Muslim faith, that they were beneath him and had to die. No one deserves that fate.

The one good thing (if there is truly such a concept in this horrible news story) is that the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, vowed to change her country’s gun laws. American lawmakers should be taking notes from Ms. Arden as how to deal with gun violence.

My prayer is two-fold. First, may those who were injured heal quickly. Second, may the memory of those killed be a blessing.

Z”L.

P.S. You know who’s reaction to the shooting was not unexpected. We need to get this man out of office, now.

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The Real National Emergency is the Epidemic Of Mass Shootings

A year and a day after 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another 5 innocent lives were stolen.

Yesterday, a gunman killed 5 people in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter (who will not be named in this blog post), was on the verge of being fired. The authorities have not released all of the details to the public yet.

Just before this shooting happened, you know who proclaimed that there was a national emergency on our Southern border. The only way to solve the problem was to bypass Congress and waste tax dollars on an unnecessary border wall.

The real national emergency is not on our Southern border, it is the epidemic of gun violence in this country. When it comes to the point of being afraid to go to work, school or live our lives because of the fear of gun violence, something has to be done. We cannot completely abolish the 2nd amendment, but at the same time, we need to make sure that those who have guns are doing so legally and are of sound mind. While authorities have not yet confirmed or denied that the gunman had mental health issues, it is one of the key components that have been the cause many of the mass shooting in recent memory.

I’ve spoken in the past of my memories of the day of the Columbine shooting. At that time, it was an anomaly that should have shocked the nation and our lawmakers into action. But it didn’t and twenty years later, we are paying the price in the blood of innocent Americans.

 

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Thoughts On the First Anniversary Of the Parkland Shooting

One year ago today, the students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started the school day like any other school day. By the time the sun had set, 17 people were dead and many more were injured.

I’ve spoken in previous posts about my memories of the day of the Columbine attack. If only we would have done something back then. If only the gun laws would have been strengthened. If only our treatment of mental illness would have been different. Parkland and the other mass shootings that have occurred might not have happened. But we can only say “if only” in hindsight.

My heart still breaks for the families of those killed, the community at large and for the survivors whose lives were forever changed.

We need common sense gun control laws. While we cannot step on the rights of gun owners who follow the law and are of sound mind, we cannot continue to allow our children to be massacred in their classrooms.

May the memories of those who died one year ago today be a blessing and may we never forget the toll that gun violence takes on all of us.

 

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You, Sir, Have Blood On Your Hands

A mass shooting these days is like old news. As soon as the dust has settled from one, another one takes its place.

Today, there was a mass shooting in a hospital in Chicago. As of earlier this evening, four people are dead. While the suspected gunman is among the dead, so is a policeman who stepped into the line of fire.

As of last Monday, there have been over 314 mass shooting in 2018 so far. While there are always a number of factors that come into play when it comes to mass shooting, I can’t help but think that a certain person in Washington D.C. has played his role in this gruesome and heartbreaking statistic.

You sir, have blood on your hands. These shootings have happened your watch and you have done little to stop them. You have yet to enact national legislation that would force anyone purchasing a gun to go through a background check. You have not worked with mental health professionals to stop those who are determined to kill and have easy access to guns. After the shooting at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, you stated that there should have been armed guards at the entrance.

You sir, are not just tone-deaf, but cold. You only hear what you want to hear, what makes you feel good. You don’t care about this country, you only care about yourself.

Yesterday, you stated that you give yourself an A+ as President. I give you an F and I hope that one day, this country wakes up to realize the kind of man whom we have elected to lead us.

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Another Day In America And Another Mass Shooting

Up until a few years ago, a mass shooting of innocent civilians was much more than the average news headline. The Columbine shooting was the first mass shooting in modern American history to shock the country and the world. These days, it is rare that a week a or a month can go by without hearing about a mass shooting.

Last night started as an ordinary night for the patrons and staff of the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. Then a man walked in with a gun and started shooting. As of tonight, there are 13 dead. Among the dead is the accused gunman and a police officer who lost his life while trying to save the lives of those inside the bar.

 

According to news reports, the man who opened fire was a former marine who struggled with PTSD after leaving the military. Another news report states that some of the victims in this shooting survived the shooting in Las Vegas last year.

As with previous mass shooting, the same issues will arise: gun control and mental health.  How many more innocent lives will be taken before we do something? What will it take for the politicians to stop taking money from the NRA and listen to the citizens who want reasonable gun control?

I am not against the 2nd amendment. I never have been. If someone wants to buy a gun, I have no right to stop them. But when will come to our senses and realize that there is a way to respect the 2nd amendment while making sure that those who are not of sound mind cannot buy a firearm? What will it take to enact national legislation to ensure that background checks when it comes to purchasing guns?

When someone wants to drive, we don’t just hand them the keys to the car. We make sure that they are capable of driving. We give that person a license with the full knowledge that the license can be taken away if said person does not adhere to the rules of the road. If we can do this for drivers, why can’t we do this for those who want to own a fireman?

It’s another day in America and another mass shooting.

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The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Hits Too Close To Home

This morning started off like any morning for the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. At approximately 10:30 am EST, a gunman walked into the synagogue and killed 8 people with at least 4 more injured in the shooting. He stated the following as a reason for the shooting: All Jews must die.

This shooting hits too close to home for me. Other than attending services on the high holidays (and perhaps for a special occasion), I haven’t attended Saturday morning services regularly since high school. But I come from a Jewish family where attending regular Saturday morning services is a just part of the weekly calendar. I count my blessings that none of my loved ones were in that synagogue, but it also hurts like h*ll.

I am scared, angry and on the verge of tears.  Antisemitism is alive and well in America. The people who were killed were only killed because they are Jewish and happened to attend services at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

This should not be happening in 2018. We should be able to go about our business without being afraid of being killed for who we are. Religious institutions should not need to hire armed guards or security so their members can attend services and feel safe in doing so.

According to news reports, the accused gunmen was found with an AR-15 and a handgun. An AR-15 was also used in the shooting in Las Vegas and Florida.  What will it take for our government to enact reasonable gun control laws? How many will die before we come to our senses?

Of course, you know who sounded Presidential, be we all know that he is part of the problem. His antisemitic dog whistles has allowed those who believe as shooter did that they are right.

This should be classified as a hate crime and if convicted, the shooter should receive the harshest legal penalty possible.

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we all see each other first and foremost as human beings.

I am going end this post with Shylock’s speech from The Merchant of Venice. Though this speech was written hundreds of years ago, it feels relevant today.

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.-Act III, scene I

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A Year Later & Nothing Has Changed

A year ago today, hundreds of fans gathered for a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas.

A concert is normally an event to savor. It is a few hours to sing along with your favorite artist(s) with thousands of other fans.

Most concerts end with fans going home tired, but happy to have seen their favorite artist(s) perform live. This concert ended with the death of innocent people.

Even though it is a year later, nothing has changed. Our gun laws are still being debated. Innocent people are still being killed. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida happened only months after the shooting in Las Vegas.

To the rest of us, one year is just 365 days. We lived through that night. For those who survived and those who lost loved ones, one year may still feel like one day.

May the memory those who were needlessly killed be a blessing to those who knew and loved them.

 

 

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Another Shooting In America. What Else Is New?

A wise person would say that logic plays a part in politics and how we view our fellow Americans. But a wise person would also say that logic and American politics are like oil and water.

There was another shooting in America today. This latest shooting was in Jacksonville, Florida at a video game tournament. As of 7:45 PM, EST, four people, including the shooter are dead. Nine are injured from gunshot wounds.

We have midterm elections coming up. The question is, do we as citizens, want to elect someone who cares more for their career than the country? Do we want to elect someone who takes donations from the NRA and other pro gun lobby groups while innocent civilians are killed by guns? Or do we elect someone who puts country over party and career, who understands that we, the American people are their employers, not the lobbyists?

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we finally elect a politician who ensures that real world, logical gun control laws are enacted.

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Thoughts On Betsy DeVos Allowing Federal Funds To Buy Guns For Teachers

When you know was running for President in 2016, he promised to hire the best people to fill out the many positions in his administration.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in my opinion Betsy DeVos is far from the best person to ensure that American children receive the best education possible.

Her latest proposal to is allow schools to use federal funds to pay for guns and gun training for school personnel.

If all previous signs have pointed to her being completely under qualified for her job, this new proposal is akin to large blinking red light flashing danger.

According to a report last year from the Pew Research Center, American children lag well behind their peers worldwide when it comes education.

What our children (and their teachers by extension) need is not guns on campus. They need books, computers, school buildings that are not falling apart, etc. Many of our students may reach high school or college and need remedial classes to catch up academically to their classmates.  A brand new high school student should not be starting 9th grade with a reading level of a fifth grader, but the reality is that many students walk into high school academically unprepared to succeed.

This inane proposal also bring the issue of gun control back into the spotlight. We should not spending tax dollars on arming teachers, we should be writing laws that protect innocent civilians while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners.

From my perspective, the idea of spending federal tax dollars to arm teachers is just another reason why you know who and his administration are taking this country down a path that I fear we may never come from.

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