Sharing Our Sorrow And Outrage
While we hoped to devote our Ink Drops this edition to highlighting things in our community we should be thankful for, The Newtown Bee is instead expressing solidarity with Newtown Action Alliance and Sandy Hook Promise — and the growing number of agencies, officials, members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who love them locally and globally — expressing sorrow and outrage over the latest mass shooting in this country, which took place last Saturday evening at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
Our outrage springs from the fact that this senseless, heinous act may have been prevented, given the shooter’s recent history. According to the Associated Press, just last year, the shooter allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb and multiple weapons. After negotiators talked him into surrendering, no bomb was found, but the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office report mentioned nothing about firearms or ammunition that were reportedly leveraged in the threat, which resulted in two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Despite that report, the AP and gun safety advocates pointed out there is no public record that prosecutors moved forward with charges against him, nor that law enforcement or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law that would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons and ammo the man’s mother says he had.
Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, reminds us that this latest tragedy comes during the deadliest year for mass shootings on record. More than 600 have been reported so far this year.
We share Hockley’s sorrow that our LGBTQ+ communities are all too familiar with violence targeting them. Saturday's deadly event was especially traumatic, happening just ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The painful reality is, as Hockley noted, members of LGBTQ+ communities are targeted by hate crimes every day, and the Club Q shooting compounds the fears these communities have been forced to live with.
Po Murray, chair of Newtown Action Alliance, noted that her organization and its supporters have called on President Biden to meet with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and other lawmakers to make voting on HR1808 a priority during the remaining time in the 117th Congress.
After military-grade weapons were used to kill innocent Americans in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Highland Park, the House of Representatives passed this legislation to freeze the importation, sales, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Sadly, as Murray states, this life-saving bipartisan gun legislation has been languishing on Schumer’s desk for months, while dozens of loved ones of those killed in these incidents, including this latest one in Colorado, will be devastatingly facing empty places at Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings forever more.
We could not agree more with Hockley when she says these devastating national traumas and our related fears must not stop us from participating fully in life — and should inspire our resolve to take action to end the epidemic.
The Newtown Bee supports Hockley as she calls upon us all to “rise up to reject the notion that gun violence is inevitable and, instead, demand immediate action to rid our country of this scourge.”