Graffagnino: What role does money play in mass shootings?


The recent mass shooting in Maine is directly related to money. How? you ask. Let me give you an example that is logged into my consciousness. Shortly after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting took place, a student rally was broadcast on national TV. Student David Hogg turned to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who attended the rally, and asked him to pledge, at that very moment, not to take any more campaign money from the National Rifle Association. The camera focused on Rubio, who remained silent with a look of a deer caught in a headlight on his face. Another event involving members of Congress playing a friendly baseball game between rival parties resulted in individuals being caught in the crosshairs of a shooter. One would think that members of Congress who were attacked by a shooter would be sympathetic to their position on gun control in this nation. Not so! I do not fault NRA. I fault elected officials who let their political donations and where those contributions come from influence how they vote.

It’s time we all learn where campaign money is coming from and who is, literally, buying political votes! Any politician who takes more than $1 in campaign contributions should be forced to document where that money came from ... to the voting public. Further, this information should be sent to every registered voter. Not possible, you say? Oh, yes, it is. Maybe these politicians haven’t yet learned about spreadsheets and how helpful they can be! Likewise, those members of the (not so) Supreme Court, who take millions of dollars worth of perks from millionaires on the sly and never report same should be forced to resign for their abuse of the system. Remember, justices: No one is above the law, even Supreme Court justices!

It doesn’t matter if we are Republicans, Democrats, independents or members of another political party. We have a right to know who is buying our politicians’ votes with their dollars!

Likewise, the gun lobby screams “Second Amendment” whenever the topic of gun control is spoken. Let’s look at some particulars. The Second Amendment was added to the Constitution on Dec. 15, 1791, well over 200 years ago. Its primary purpose, as decided by the Supreme Court of that era, was for self-defense in individuals’ homes. We no longer live in 1791. The sale of assault-type weapons like the AR-15 should not be in the public domain. How many more mass killings will it take to ban these weapons?

Not too long ago, I saw an advertisement that showed a political figure, his wife and two children all proudly holding assault-type weapons. I came to learn that a company is now making a smaller version of the AR-15 for children. What are they planning to do? Go hunting? And for what? If there is one thing America has learned since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of Dec. 14, 2012, it’s the following: Guns don’t kill people; people kill people (as the gun lobby likes to say). Yes, they do, and they do so because of the availability of assault-type weapons, which makes mass killings so easy.

I am no stranger to firearms. I hail from New York, where many high schools had or probably still have professional-grade rifle ranges in their buildings for “Rifle Clubs.” It teaches children how to use firearms safely. No one is suggesting that learning to “shoot” is a bad thing. It becomes a very bad thing when weapons of war are in the hands of individuals who have no or little regard for human life. Likewise, if you are a proud owner of an assault weapon, maybe you should rethink what purpose this weapon serves.

For what it’s worth!

Peter Graffagnino


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