February 15, 2018 • BLOG ENTRY


The 2018 school year is 35 days old. Since January 1st, there have already been 18 school shootings.  I am so sick of thoughts and prayers. I want action. I want my elected officials to say enough is enough. I want schools to be places of learning, not ground zero for mass shootings.  

The only way this is going to happen is to break the stranglehold that the NRA has on our elected officials.  

And guess what.  We have the power to do that.  We can vote.  We can change the face of our state legislatures and United States Congress.  I’m all for a good protest or march.  There is power and comfort in numbers.  But State Senator Tom Kean Jr., Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, and Rep. Leonard Lance are never going to change the way they vote.  They cannot afford to - they are bought and paid for by the NRA.  They’ve earned that A rating and they are not going to do anything to jeopardize it.

We can debate the role of mental illness in these shootings, but when the Republicans continually vote to cut access to mental health services, it’s hard to take them seriously.  Medicaid is the single largest provider of mental health services in the United States, but President Trump’s budget calls for cutting Medicaid by $250 billion.  These draconian cuts are, of course, necessary in light of the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that he and the GOP gave to corporations and the ultra-rich.  

Nobody is coming for your great grandpa’s shotgun that has been passed down through the generations. You can go to your gun shows, shooting ranges and you can hunt (animals; not people).  The Second Amendment is not being repealed.  

But no right is absolute.  Common sense gun violence prevention laws exist and work.  Not perfectly, but they work.  90% of all Americans favor universal background checks and closing the gun show loopholes.  Law enforcement officers know that these laws not only keep citizens safe, but protect those who protect us.

What about teachers?  We spend precious classroom time practicing active shooter drills.  Hide in a corner.  Cram into the closets.  Stay quiet.  Don’t make a sound.  Don’t frighten the six year olds. This might not be a drill next time.  These drills save lives, but maybe there’s a better way.  Maybe we can, as a nation, say that our children’s lives are precious and valuable. That their lives are more valuable than any right to own a weapon. We can demand that our elected officials enact sensible gun violence prevention and gun safety laws.  And if they fail to do so, we can vote them out of office.