Pittsburgh and guns

Jack Bernard is a retired healthcare SVP and nationally published columnist. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party and County Commission in Jasper County.

“Along with millions of Americans, we defeated that gun control legislation!” -Sen. Cruz (after 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre)

Another semi-automatic rifle shooting, this time at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Eleven innocent elderly people dead. I have an old friend in that close-knit Jewish community and I can only imagine how he must feel.
Not long ago, it was a school in Santa Fe, Texas with nine dead, followed by a predictable, endless series of excuses by politicians who should know better, but obviously do not. The NRA is a large part of the problem. Senator Cruz has received $77,000 from the NRA, while Senator John Cornyn got $60,000.
Trump said after the Texas shooting that he will “do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat.” (5-18-18). Then, why did you encourage the NRA by speaking at their convention while doing nothing on gun control? Could it be that the NRA contributed nearly $37 million to your campaign?
I still haven’t gotten over your pious statements after the Lakeland, Florida school shooting in February. Per President Trump (2-14): “My prayers and condolences to the families”.
Every time there is a shooting, Mr. President, you ask us to pray. Our brothers and sisters in Charleston were murdered while praying. Our brothers and sisters in Texas were murdered in a church. Now, 11 worshipers in a synagogue by an anti-Semite encouraged by the atmosphere of hate that you created, Mr. President.
I am sorry, Mr. President, these families do not need your after-the-fact prayers (if someone with your morally dubious record does actually pray). Prayer alone is a cop out. At long last, do something!
They needed you to have shown some leadership after the Texas and Florida mass shootings and suggest specific measures to control firearms. Enough about second amendment rights, endearing yourself to the NRA; what about the right of innocent Americans not to be gunned down?
No one says it better than Broward County Florida Sheriff Steve Israel, “What about the rights of these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools with book bags and pencils? Don’t they have the right to be protected by the United States government, to the best of our ability?”
A Pew survey (4-4-17) illustrates measures receiving the endorsement of the majority of Americans:
– Stop the mentally ill from having guns: 88% approval;
– Background checks should be done everywhere, including gun shows (now exempt): 84% approval;
– Halt gun sales to people on “no fly” and watch lists: 83%;
– Have the Feds establish an accurate gun sale data base: 71%;
– Prohibit assault rifles like the one used in Pittsburgh, Parkland, and elsewhere: 68%;
– Stop the sale of high capacity magazines: 65%;
Many other measures could also be enacted, including: banning bump stocks, raising taxes on guns and ammunition, raising the age to purchase firearms, and making parents responsible if a teenager uses their guns to kill others. As a long time gun owner, I support all of these items.
After the 12-14-12 Sandy Hook shooting, the AMA declared that gun violence is a major public health issue. Instead of cutting the CDC budget, how about giving them enough money to research ways to reduce gun deaths? Mr. President, instead of spending $25 billion on a wall (that you said Mexico will pay for), why not spend some on popular gun control measures?
Cowardly politicians who say that there is nothing that can be done are wrong, and they know it. They simply do not have the courage to stand up to the NRA and the other rabid extremists who make even the NRA look moderate in comparison.
It infuriates me to hear politicians say that there is nothing they can do legislatively, and then hypocritically accept NRA money. Per David Axelrod: “Per capita gun deaths in the U.S. are exponentially higher than other nations. Is the difference that we, as a people, are that much more susceptible to mental illness? Or is it that we have the most liberal gun laws in the world?”
The only way things will ever change is if each of us makes gun control THE issue that determines how we vote and let our Congressmen and state legislators know they will be voted out of office unless they endorse reasonable gun control. It is up to us to stop the violence by pressuring our politicians to finally do the right thing! Now, not later.

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