Maine Voices: It’s Republicans’ turn to take action on gun violence

Gun Rights

Republican voters, speak up.

Your senators care for political power, not your lives. If they cared for your lives, they would vote in significant gun legislation.

Republican voters, your children are as likely to be killed as Democrat children. Do you not care? How can you sleep knowing three 9-year-olds were blown apart in Nashville, just “a few” shootings ago?

Whatever virtue you think guns have, how can it stand against the 163 mass shootings we’ve experienced in the United States to date in 2023? Oops! Old fact. That was as of April 17. I am typing this on April 18, so the number is actually 164. On April 18, Maine joined the club with its own mass shooting: four people shot dead in Bowdoin, three others injured by bullets on a little stretch of road in Yarmouth that I drive daily.

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There was a shooting incident at Colby College, where I teach, earlier this year. No one was hurt, thank goodness, and it was a personal scuffle rather than somebody out to kill legions, but that didn’t stop students (who saw the gun and didn’t know the situation until hours later) from sprinting across campus, sheltering in their rooms, dressers against doors, cell phones in hand, texting and calling parents to say goodbye.

That this should be routine in our country is (as we keep saying, and saying, and saying) shameful. Perhaps the National Rifle Association, the people who benefit (financially) from the gun horror in this country, should join hands with the mental health counselors that my school called in to support the students? More money for two sectors of the economy.

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The desire for power and the desire for money over the lives of children. That is what this is.

And Tennessee Rep. Andy Ogles sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims but no apologies for his 2021 Christmas card, in which he and family members were pictured proudly holding guns. Instead, Ogles said: “Why would I regret a photograph with my family exercising my rights to bear arms?” As if the answer were not self-evident.

A note to Rep. Ogles: I am Jewish, but explain to me what is Christian about such a Christmas card? Would Jesus pose this way? And, how is it that the right to bear arms trumps the right to send a child safely to school? The right not to feel traumatized while educated, while going to work, while dancing in a club, or going to a movie?

I am a writing professor not a philosophy professor; still, I know a faulty syllogism when I see one. I have the right to bear arms; these are arms, so I have a right to bear them. No. “Arms” when the Constitution was written are not the same “arms” that gun legislation would ban. The word is the same. The object is not.

Republicans, please, start a group now and call it Republicans for Gun Control. Members of Moms Demand Action have done what they could. The Parkland kids – I was at their Washington, D.C., rally – have done what they could. It’s your turn. Do what you can and do it now.


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