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Don't Shoot!

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Hundreds of thousands show up to encourage increased restrictions on firearms

Mothers across the country showed up in D.C. to protest and demand greater gun control after recent shootings at several schools, including a high school in Maryland. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKMothers across the country showed up in D.C. to protest and demand greater gun control after recent shootings at several schools, including a high school in Maryland. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of thousands of students made their voices heard in the nation’s capital Saturday to demand action on gun control from the nation’s policymakers, in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.

“We stand at a moment when our nation’s laws are guided not by what is right or wrong, not by what is morally sound for the many, but is instead limited by the insatiable greed of a few,” said Matt Post, one of the speakers at the event and student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “In their greed, the gun lobby and their politicians have tried to deflect and distract us, they’ve tried to twist what is so clearly a gun issue into anything else but we won’t fall for it.”

Hundreds of thousands of attendees – which included both students and adults – urged that their elected officials take legislative steps in an effort to curb mass shootings.

“Use efficient regulation that doesn’t make any exception, close the cracks and loopholes with thorough background checks and psychological evaluation, protect our schools like we do our other government establishments, use security protocol methods that are efficient, and one more request: listen,” said Sam Fuentes, a survivor of the Feb 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida., speaking from the stage.

Students traveled to the event from around the region.

“I’m protesting the fact that our government is doing nothing to help keep us safe and help us feel safe, it’s not fair,” said 14-year-old Emma Goodman from Silver Spring. “I’m proud of my generation because we’re speaking up … a lot of us are too young to vote but we’re still making a difference.”

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Survivors of Florida school shooting inspire audience at Blair High School event

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Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stand with survivors of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The survivors met with local high school students at Montgomery Blair High School Monday night.  PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stand with survivors of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The survivors met with local high school students at Montgomery Blair High School Monday night. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  SILVER SPRING — Students from various high schools in Montgomery County filled the auditorium at Montgomery Blair High School last night to welcome survivors from the Valentine’s Day shooting that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

As media waited outside during the event, a black van pulled up in front of the school at 7:52 p.m. and one by one, the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made their way into the building. Also in attendance was Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) representing the Parkland community, and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the organizer of the event. While media were not allowed inside at the request of Montgomery County high school students in attendance, Raskin said survivors would speak with reporters after the event. However, the Parkland survivors left afterwards without speaking to reporters, claiming fatigue.

Around 9:30 p.m., students began to leave the event, some deeply concerned. Sophie Holt, 16, a sophomore at Albert Einstein High School said she attended last week’s school walkout protest and attended this event at Blair because she believes the Parkland survivors’ movement is important and hopefully will change current gun laws.

“There has been so many mass shootings in the past 10 years in this country, we need a change in this country,” said Holt. “The fact that they’re [survivors] willing to stand up there and like, make a difference and get the message across to the country that we really need to make a change, I think that’s really cool,” she said.

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When is the right time to talk about guns?

 

nikolas cruz floridaThere have been multiple school shootings in the United States in just the first 45 days of 2018. Of course, there are multiple mass shootings not at schools that have occurred too.
After every mass shooting, politicians hide behind the phrase “it is too soon” to discuss what needs to be done to address this epidemic of mass shootings. “Too soon” buys them time so they don't have to address the problem and risk their A rating from the National Rifle Association.
Oh, and by the way, “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” does absolutely nothing to address the ongoing threat to every family nor does it do anything to comfort the families of the shooting victims.
In the aftermath of the most recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., at which 17 individuals lost their lives, the question is no longer whether it is “too soon” to discuss actions that must be taken; the question is whether “it is too late.”

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Enough with the prayers already

MC DC Trump on Gun Violence in America 1bSomewhere in the United States right now, as you read this, the next victims of a mass murder are going about their business of life and have no idea what’s in store for them.
They don’t know they’ll soon be victims – perhaps before the ink dries on our newspaper.
They have no way of knowing how they’ll die, or when; whether they’ll die next to their loved ones or die running for safety.
They will just be dead and the dead can’t do anything about it.

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It's never too early to talk about gun control

MC DC Wash Rinse Repeat in BW 1bIt is not too soon. Today's the day to talk about guns in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that took place just a few short weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Let's start the discussion with some math. This country averages about 90 deaths by gun per day. That is about 33,000 gun deaths per year, every year. Compare that statistic to Japan which had one gun death last year. That is one.
Want more math? The population of this country is about 320 million and the number of guns in this country is about 265 million. Of those 265 million guns about half, or 130 million guns, are owned by only three percent of the population. 78 percent of the population do not own a firearm.
Here's an even better statistic: with only about five percent of the population, the United States accounts for 50 percent of all guns in the world.
One more statistic: there have been, to date, 273 mass shootings, or shootings that take at least four lives, in the United States this year.
Now let's add up all the numbers and what do we get? It is time to do something because doing nothing is not working. In the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in our history, a record which seems to be broken every year or so, the Republican Congress said “too soon.”

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Run, hide and fight for your life

There has not been a death as a result of a fire in any of our schools across the nation since the 1950's. That is not to say that there haven't been any fires at our schools; it is only to say that there have not been any deaths as a result of those fires. I think it safe to say that we have fire drills down fairly well. In some schools the fire drills include blocking some passageways recognizing the fact that fires can be unpredictable.

As with almost anything, the "times they are a changin'". The threats we faced in years past are not the same threats we face today. How we adapt to those changing threats often is the difference between life and death.

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County residents show solidarity after Orlando shooting massacre

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MP1 1847Imam Faizul Khan addresses the audience gathered at the International Cultural Center in Montgomery Village June 13, a day after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE – The pain, anger and sadness expressed at Monday evening’s solidarity event for the people killed at a Florida nightclub on Sunday was real, even though the victims were over 800 miles away.

“These are not disconnected events,” said Gonpo Yeshe of Poolesville, “Orlando seems to be far away, but the events in Orlando and the violence that happens here are not disconnected.”

At about 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, heavily-armed gunman Omar Mateen opened fire and took hostages at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooting spree, considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, left 50 people dead and another 53 injured.

Faith, community and political leaders gathered on Monday to condemn the violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community. 

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Gun ownership should require liability insurance

It is common sense that ownership of an item brings with it a degree of responsibility to use the item both thoughtfully and safely. I can't imagine too many disagreeing with that general premise although I am sure there are some. The requirement to carry mandatory liability insurance by those who own automobiles is an example of state government acknowledging that ownership brings with it that level of responsibility.

 

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