Celebrating another day of gun violence in America

T.A. Barnhart

Celebrating another day of gun violence in America

Robert Yuille, Cindy's Yuille's husband, and Jenna Passalacqua

Earlier this week, I met Jenna Passalacqua for the first time. I’ve heard Jenna speak several times but had not gotten the chance to introduce myself and let her know how much I admire what she is doing. I got that opportunity this week because she and I were both in Salem doing the same thing: advocating for gun legislation to save lives in Oregon.

If the name is not familiar to you, Jenna is the daughter of Cindy Yuille, and Cindy was one of three people who died at the Clackamas Town Center last December. I’ve been thinking a lot about Jenna today because, like me, her mom is not here on Mother’s Day. My mom’s heart lost a battle to 55 years of cigarettes, so her death was not shocking. I cannot say the same for Jenna: her mom was at the mall doing some holiday shopping, and a young man with a stolen rifle ended her life with a single shot through the chest.

I can only believe this is a horrible day for Jenna.

Meanwhile on this Mother’s Day across America, eight children will die by gunfire. Twenty to thirty people will be murdered with guns (somehow, in New Orleans, that number did not increase dramatically). A handful of people will by “accidental” gunfire. Worst of all, sixty men (it’s almost entirely men) will celebrate this day by using a gun to end their lives (the real mental health issue when it comes to guns).

And the big lie that the Second Amendment cannot be regulated in anyway will ensure that this bloodbath on Mother’s Day is but an ordinary day in our country of liberty and weaponry for all.

What angers me about the efforts to pass even the weakened bills now languishing in the Oregon Senate is the stupid “argument” that none of these bills would have prevented Clackamas or Newtown. Were we looking at bills that would have stopped Clackamas — legislation to mandate locking up all guns unless in use, for example, given that Jacob Roberts stole the gun from a friend’s closet — we would be told that you cannot stop a crazy person desperate to do evil. In other words, no matter the tragedy and no matter the legislation, instead of action, we have excuses.

I am sick of the lies and rationalization. Shame on those elected to our Legislature who repeat those lies. Every piece of legislation proposed would save lives. Some bills might save a few; others have the potential to save many over time. Legislation to mandate gun safes, gun locks, etc, will protect children and even a number of suicides. Forcing criminals to go deeper into the black market to get guns allows law enforcement to focus their efforts and interrupt gun supplies. Reducing the lethality of weaponry in the hands of civilians obviously saves lives, as we know from both Sandy Hook and Tucson.

The time has come for Sen Betsy Johnson, Sen Bruce Starr, Sen Ted Ferrioli, Rep Sal Esquivel and so many others to stop arguing against any and all bills, repeating the lies and propaganda from the NRA and the even more repellant Oregon Firearms Assn. The time has come for them to stop opposing laws that the vast majority of Oregonians support and the absence of which ensures that guns will continue to slaughter thousands of our fellow citizens each and every year. The time has come for them to serve the people who elected them to office and not the gun manufacturers. Their oath of office is to the people of Oregon, not the stockholders of Smith & Wesson or the Board of the NRA.

On Jenna Passalacqua’s worst Mother’s Day — not to mention the moms of Newtown, and of Chicago, and down in Texas, and across America were 80 lives are lost to gun violence each and every day — can we not, for the love of mothers and their children, begin to do something about the endless bloodshed?

Or do you have yet another heartless excuse for Jenna?

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