The recent school mass murder, in Uvalde, Texas, is horrifying and painful. Nineteen precious children and two brave teachers died. Others were maimed, and countless others, near and far, have been emotionally damaged for life. I will never forget the picture of that beautiful 10-year-old smiling so proudly as she showed off her honor roll certificate. Her mother took that treasured photo only a short time before her daughter was slaughtered.

The shooter, an obviously troubled 18-year-old boy, legally purchased two military style rapid-firing rifles from a local, licensed gun dealer. Although this boy pulled the trigger, there are many others who must share blame for this tragedy. Mainly, I place the greatest blame on partisan Republicans who have consistently voted against sensible gun regulations. What an outrage! Restrictions on age and on the sale of military assault weapons, in addition to establishing a waiting period between purchase and possession, would have had an effect on this happening … and possibly prevented it. Background checks of gun purchasers was a restriction that has had some bi-partisan support at times over the years, but even that safeguard has more recently been voted down by Republicans again. How can this negative vote be defended?

They are not alone in sharing blame. The dealer who sold these rifles to an 18-year-old boy should have asked some questions of this young man as to why he required a gun, let alone two military weapons. Although the sale was technically legal, and the dealer made his money on this expensive purchase, he seemingly didn’t care about the gun’s use.

The NRA and the gun lobbyists must also accept their portion of blame for this horrific event. They funnel massive amounts of money to politicians who in return feel obliged to favor unrestricted gun use. The NRA claims they are merely honoring the Constitution’s Second Amendment. Most of us are aware of the amendment’s real intent. It was adopted in 1791 at a time when there were no protective services. Each family protected its own household, and also each had to use their own arms when called upon to participate in the militia. The NRA has distorted the idea of the Second Amendment by promoting ever more private gun ownership without any significant restrictions. I could possibly understand the NRA’s stance if their efforts were in support of gun museums or private gun collections or even for use by hunters. However, I cannot understand any argument for the sale of military-style, rapid-fire weapons for private ownership or use.

Neither gun collectors nor hunters need these massively destructive guns. Additionally, what harm would result from running a background check on a purchaser? Also, I’d be remiss not to relate the strong connection between the NRA and the gun and ammunition manufacturers. The sales of these multimillion-dollar companies have substantially grown while more lives have been lost. I am appalled that the concern is for profit and not human life. They, too, must take a great deal of blame.

Last, but not least, I include myself in the list of those who must shoulder some blame for this tragedy. Why, after a period of time, did I stop pestering and pleading with our legislators following the Parkland, Florida high school massacre? Or after Columbine, Colorado or after Newtown, Connecticut? One thing we all know is that when the public is riled and angry enough to persistently fight for an issue, change can occur. Following the Parkland shooting, the public joined in with those wonderfully brave and determined high school kids, and laws even in conservative Florida were impacted. The new regulations were not as extensive as many of us would have wanted, but at least there was some change for the better. We now must force our Republican lawmakers to accept their responsibility to serve Americans, the majority of whom support sensible gun restrictions. Voting for common-sense regulations is truly a life-or-death issue.

Haven’t we and our precious children suffered enough deaths?

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