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To the editor:
As we celebrate the 2019 graduates, we need to remember that all over the United States, there will be seniors not graduating. And some, by choice, but others because they are part of a grim statistic.
Every year in this country nearly 2,900 children and teens (ages 0 to 19) are shot and killed. In fact, “gun violence is now the second leading cause of death for American children.”
A vivid reminder of this can be seen at the June 3, 2018, Commencement exercises held at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This should have been a joyous occasion for the seniors and their parents.
It was a bittersweet occasion as parents, students and faculty were in mourning for Joaquin Oliver, Meadow Pollock, Carmen Schentrup and Nicholas Deworet killed four months earlier by school shooter Nicholas Cruz.
In an emotional ceremony, parents and other relatives were given their diplomas. As a mother and a teacher, or for that matter a human being, I am unable to forget the faces of murdered children in the epidemic of school shootings that have occurred since Columbine. How can anyone forget the slaughter of 20 first graders and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut, December 14, 2012?
Sandy Hook was a safe school with reinforced and locked doors. They were no match for Adam Lanza, who used an assault rifle, to shoot his way into the building where he started killing. Each of the victims was shot multiple times. Can you imagine the damage that high caliber bullets fired from an assault rifle does to the body of a small child?
Law makers offered “thoughts and prayers,” and nothing else, citing the Second Amendment.
Revenue from the manufacture of guns and ammunition is $13.5 billion annually with a $1.5 billion profit. With that much money at stake, I suggest our nation and our lawmakers are motivated, not by defense of the Second Amendment but by GREED!
The gun lobby spends millions, $5.8 million on campaigns and lobbying Congress. And with campaign costs soaring, contributions from large contributors can play a decisive role in an election.
In 2014, the NRA spent $3 million dollars getting Joni Ernest elected to the Senate. The amount of money that these special interests can throw into a campaign can be decisive.
Any legislator who receives large sums from any large donor is, of course, beholden to the donor who expects to be rewarded with favorable votes.
Looking at the role of special interests, I am reminded of Mark Twain’s remark, “We have the best government that money can buy.”
Mary Kathryn Gepner