Once again we have come face to face with the killing of innocents. They did nothing wrong, but they died in their youth. They were doing what most young people do -- going to school, playing in sports, singing in the choir, attending church and, well, just being youthful. Now, despair has replaced hope for their families and friends as well as for most all of us. What shall we do?
We can, as seen in recent letters to the editor, blame President Trump. After all, he has created a culture of hate, so they say. Well, if he is the cause, I wonder if former President Obama was the cause when 27 children were killed at Sandy Hook in December of 2012; and was he to blame when 12 people were shot and killed in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., in July of 2012; and was he to blame because he and the Congress did nothing to curb gun violence back then? Unfortunately, laying blame at the feet of this current or former president simply doesn't work. Just study America's history of gun violence.
However, what may work, somewhat, is that Mr. Trump has had a series of "listening" sessions with youth from Parkland School and members of Congress on Feb. 28. During these sessions the president and many of us who tuned in learned of the despair of the students, but also heard a series of constructive ideas, both from the students and many members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, including our own Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
To me, the most constructive ideas presented were:
- In-depth background checks, including mental fitness evaluations on would-be gun buyers.
- All gun sellers must be lawfully licensed.
- No gun permits for domestic abusers.
These specific suggestions put forth by members of Congress and endorsed by President Trump would go a long way, in my opinion, in reducing gun violence.
Now, it is up to both Democrats and Republicans to see if they can overcome their animosities toward one another, and the pressures put on them by the NRA lobbyists to actually do something about reining in gun violence. To be sure, there will always be black markets for illegal purchase of guns, and thieves will continue to steal guns. But, please members of Congress and Mr. President, let's do something right for all of us. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. It is our issue as Americans.