Santa Fe: The Students of America Deserve More Than ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Mike Pence and all the Republican members of Congress – your ‘thoughts and prayers’ platitudes are a slap in the face to America’s students and their parents.

Ten more dead today, May 18, in Santa Fe, Texas after 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire on his classmates at 7:45 am. This is the 22nd school shooting in 2018, and it’s only May. It’s the third school shooting in a week. And yet Donald Trump and his Republican political colleagues have zero interest in passing gun safety laws to protect the precious lives of innocent students and children. Instead, Trump, who pocketed $30 million from the NRA during his 2016 election campaign – the most ever given by the NRA to a single candidate – has vowed to protect expansive gun rights. Despite the entreaties of Parkland, Florida students, and parents of dead victims, who begged him in a White House meeting to pass tighter gun laws, Donald Trump will put NRA money ahead of the wishes of 66 percent of Americans who want better gun safety legislation, according to a February 20, 2018 Quinnipiac University poll.

“You have a friend and champion in the White House. […] No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedom as Americans,” Trump told the NRA at its annual convention on May 4, in Dallas. “As your President, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Never ever,” he promised. Sadly, for the 10 dead students and teacher at Santa Fe High and the 17 dead from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, their right to live doesn’t compare to the NRA-backed demands for complete and unfettered rights to own any and all guns, including assault weapons. This is NOT acceptable. America’s students and their parents deserve more. They deserve to know that a day at school will not become a death trap. They deserve the right to not live in an America that is a killing field. They deserve sensible gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of minors, the mentally ill, people identified as domestic abusers, convicted felons and people on the terrorist watch list. Plus, we can do background checks on every person before they make a purchase of a gun. And do regular citizens really need to own military-style assault weapons and bump stocks? There’s no way that our Founding Fathers ever envisioned the Second Amendment being used to justify the right to own high-tech guns which have turned schools, malls, churches, concerts and movie theaters into slaughterhouses.

No, I stand with Emma Gonzalez and the Parkland survivors and I hope you do too. As Emma tweeted, “Santa Fe High, you didn’t deserve this. You deserve peace all your lives, not just after a tombstone saying that is put over you. You deserve more than thoughts and prayers, and after supporting us by walking out we will be there to support you by raising up your voices.” Parkland dad of slain student, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, slammed Trump and company. “This has been my fear since February 14th (date of the Parkland massacre), that another mass casualty shooting would happen before we did anything. Now, we have eight more children dead and our leadership in Washington has done nothing. We do not need thoughts and prayers, we need action and we need it now.”

Yes, we do. Forget the hollow thoughts and prayers! More children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook than US service members in combat since 9/11, reports the Department of Defense. That’s insane. It’s time to vote for the lives of our kids in the 2016 midterms! Make sure you register here and vote for candidates that support gun safety laws!

 

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