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Legislature Chair’s Statement Decries Nation’s Ongoing Mass Shootings

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Legislature Chair’s Statement Decries Nation’s Ongoing Mass Shootings

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Tompkins County Legislature began its meeting mourning of the lives lost in this year’s U.S. mass shootings, including the most recent, two that occurred only hours apart, in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  Before asking that all observe a moment of silence, Legislature Chair Martha Robertson offered the following statement:

Today is the 218th day of 2019. So far there have been 253 mass shootings in our nation this year, more than one a day, according to Gun Violence Archive. This number does not count incidents with fewer than four people, including the murders of Chantel Grant and Andrea Stoudemire, who were part of a group called Mothers Against Senseless Killings. They were gunned down on Friday in Chicago on the corner where moms have been gathering for five years to try to curb gun violence.

There is almost nothing new to say, but nevertheless, we must stop business as usual and speak about these things. Words matter – the words that are said, and the words that are left unsaid.

Gun violence and hate affect every one of us. Just before this meeting we had an active shooter training. In a few minutes we will honor another American whose life was cut short way too soon, by the longest war in our history.

None of these shootings was inevitable, especially the one in El Paso. These did not have to happen. That means that the next one is not inevitable, nor the one after that or the one after that.

These assassins were not born hating. What in our society moved them to do this? In other countries people don’t kill each other so easily and so often.

Tonight we will accept a grant to “prevent the cycle of abuse and violence in young families.” And tomorrow there will be another naturalization ceremony here, welcoming 34 immigrants from 16 countries as they become full citizens. We are not powerless.

We need to hold our leaders accountable for this epidemic of hate, and for the tools of hate being so readily available. We need to hold ourselves accountable as well. Words matter, but they’re not enough. This has to change.