Letter: Others must share blame for Florida shooting

Rally for Gun Reform
Protesters rally against gun violence on the steps of the old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018. Students at schools across Broward and Miami-Dade counties in South Florida planned short walkouts Wednesday, the one week anniversary of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

From: Rev. Jane Sims


Once again the attention of our nation is focused on an unspeakable tragedy involving a mass shooting at a public school. On Feb. 14, a heavily armed 19-year-old former student, Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15 assault rifle against unarmed and vulnerable students and teachers in a Florida high school. He is now charged with premeditated murder for his coldly calculated plans that resulted in 17 deaths and 14 injuries.

According to statistics (from Every Town For Gun Safety) there have been 290 school shootings since 2013 and 18 so far this year. These numbers represent countless lives, families and communities that will continue to suffer in the aftermath of these horrific events.

How long? How many times? How many children and their teachers have to die before we will summon the moral courage and the moral outrage to responsibly address the issues of gun violence and the open availability of assault weapons? How long will we be content to ignore this threat to peace and safety in our schools and communities and remain silent?

While Nikolas Cruz is being directly charged with this unconscionable act of violence, there are others who must share residual blame. Too many of our state and national legislative and political leaders who have been entrusted with the responsibility to govern and protect have not done enough to stem the sales of military assault-type weapons. And too many of our fellow citizens have been irresponsible in acquiring and handling these weapons designed for war.

If we can mandate and enforce the licensure of everyone who drives a vehicle in this nation, surely we can enact legislation to register and regulate those who manufacture and those who gain access to such weapons of warfare.

It’s not that we are unable to do something about this, we are unwilling! And that makes this an even more outrageous moral travesty.