Knopf: When it comes to mass shooting, when is enough, enough? (guest column)
February 15, 2018
When is enough, enough? We are barely through the second month of 2018 and already there have been 18 gun incidents on school campuses in America. On Wednesday, 19-year old Nicholas Kruz, a young man expelled a year ago from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, walked onto campus with an AR-15 and took his revenge. Seventeen innocent souls lost their lives and 14 others were wounded.
How could this possibly have happened? The FBI was reportedly alerted to a YouTube video six months ago in which Kruz stated, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." But it did happen. The FBI in Florida claims they couldn't confirm the identity of the person who posted the video. Really? According to credible news sources, a bail bondsman saw the video and reported the name "Nicholas Cruz" to the FBI.
The problem we face as a society is these shootings will continue to happen, unless we start taking the problem seriously in every state and in Washington, D.C. The rhetoric about mental illness being at the root of school shootings may be true, but as long as it continues to be easy for someone to obtain a semi-automatic weapon, history is doomed to repeat itself over and over again.
I have shared with you in previous columns that I am a gun owner and responsible hunter who refuses to join the National Rifle Association. If you really want to know why any problem we face in society occurs, all you have to do is follow the money. Millions of dollars flow from the major gun manufacturers to the NRA and into the pockets of people we elect in state and national government. These are people we elected to make laws that are supposed to protect us. I found it oddly perplexing to read a story about Florida Governor Rick Scott, who received an A+ rating from the NRA's Political Victory Fund.
If you listened to Governor Scott speaking to reporters after the Parkland shootings, it is crystal clear why we have a gun violence problem in America.
Governor Rick Scott: "Then you think about … you're furious. How could this ever happen in this country? How could this ever happen in this state? This is a state focused on keeping all of our children safe."
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Well, Governor Scott, considering your state of Florida has had 18 shootings on school campuses since the year 2000 and 11 of them since Sandy Hook in 2012, I truly wonder if you are focused on keeping your children safe. Your state now has the distinction of having the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook and exceeding the number killed at Columbine in Colorado.
Governor Rick Scott: "This is absolutely pure evil. This state does not tolerate violence. We have law enforcement that will always show up to defend our safety."
Are you starting to get the level of hypocrisy in the statements of the esteemed governor? The pure evil is not the shooter. We already know all of the shooters on school campuses are evil. The "pure" evil ones are those lawmakers who continue to take money from the NRA to turn a blind eye on the real problem.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks money in politics, in 2016, the gun lobby gave $4.2 million dollars to members of Congress. The majority went to Republicans — 222 in the House of Representatives and 42 in the US Senate. Nine Democrats in the House and five in the Senate received $78,528 of the $4.2 million.
I'm looking forward to the day when the NRA has to pay the families of mass shooting victims at least that much money in restitution for all those who have lost their lives.
Jonathan Knopf is a full-time resident of Silverthorne and a broadcast news professional for the past 40 years.
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