Letter to Editor: Enough?


“This is not the time to address gun violence,” we were told as the recipients of millions from the NRA tweeted their thoughts and prayers. We have experienced 18 school shootings so far this year, but having the unthinkable become the predictable might mean we have nowhere to move but in a positive direction.

President Trump has revoked 14 executive orders issued during the Obama administration. It may be years before we know whether or not he succeeds in killing the Clean Power Plan, but he has signed a bill blocking background checks for mental illness from being required for gun purchases.

97 percent of us want background checks, and Parkland’s high school students are insisting we “do something.” They’re not just waiting around, either. They’re walking out of schools, meeting with state legislators, and going to Washington. Survivor David Hogg explained, “If we don’t take action, because our politicians won’t, more are going to die.”

Donald Trump Jr., the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank Aleksandr Torshin, and candidate Trump had attended the 2016 annual meeting of the NRA. They reportedly shared “gun-related small talk” as Trump’s candidacy was endorsed. The NRA would contribute over $30 million to the Trump campaign.

Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit foreign nationals from ”directing, dictating, controlling, or indirectly participating in the decision-making process” of our elections. The possible funneling of Russian funds to the Trump campaign through the NRA is worth investigation. Millions have been spent by Russians on hacking our election sites and social media, and Everytown USA has called upon the NRA to “come clean” about its relationship with Russia.

President Trump tweeted, “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.” His tweets angered survivors. He may have forgotten that his 2019 budget cut funding to states for reporting to the federal database.

The meetings with students and families were timely, but elicited observations that the high school students sounded like adults, while our president, with a crib sheet, sounded like a high school student – and one that has delivered misstatements at an alarming rate. With a bit of research we know he has not “signed more bills in his first 6 months than any other president,” doesn’t have the “biggest defense budget ever,” and has not given us “the biggest tax cut in U.S. history.”

The numbers are very clear when it comes to school shootings; and while the record number of guns sold in 2016 may have led some of us to believe we’re safer, the frequency of school shootings has increased from an average of 1 per week since 2012 according to Everytown research to 18 so far this year, or 3 per week.

Support for stricter gun laws has hit a 10-year high, and a recent survey has found that only 29 percent of Americans think our president is doing enough to prevent mass shootings. School walk-outs and demonstrations across our nation may have convinced him that doing nothing has become politically untenable.

He has called upon his Department of Justice for proposals to ban bump stocks and improve background checks, but this may be a relatively weak solution. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms sent a letter to Congress in 2013 stating, “Stocks of this kind are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms studies.”

Legislation would be more effective, but the House recently rejected yet another proposal to ban semiautomatic weapons, and prioritized declaring pornography a health risk.

“We should have a national school sit-out, where nobody goes back to school until laws are passed,” David Hogg has suggested.

Donald Trump Jr. “liked” the tweets attacking him and suggesting he was a fabrication of “the mainstream media.”

Another student offered, “That is what we do with things that fail. We change them.” The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in world, and our homicide rate is more than three times higher than in any other developed nation.

President Obama required the checks for mental illness that were revoked by President Trump, and President Obama was recently ranked among our top ten presidents.

That could matter to President Trump, who was ranked at the bottom of the list by the politically diverse group of 170 presidential scholars. He has suggested that the FBI “get back to the basics and make us all proud.” Things might work for everyone if our elected representatives were to take this advice.

Carol Voyles
Talbot County

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Sharon Mills says:

    3 times in one issue…

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