Rama Schneider: Crisis, priorities and guns

Editor's note: This commentary is by Rama Schneider, of Williamstown, who serves on the local school board and is an announced candidate for the Vermont House's Orange-1 District (Chelsea, Corinth, Orange, Vershire, Washington and Williamstown).

[I] used to say that we don't need to wait for a crisis regarding our modern day relationship with guns, but the crisis has been here for some time, and now I say there is no decent rationale that allows us to wait for the next count of children's bodies.

On Valentine's Day, murderous violence descended upon Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community in Parkland, Florida. The lives of children and young adults, parents and school staff were brutalized in a truly horrifying and terrifying manner. Yet one more school massacre. We will not, however, be shown the images of the dead and wounded children and thus the reality of what occurred. Politicians, the media and most of us will sanitize the discussion so as not to make anyone squirm or rethink personal priorities.

I will not look away no matter how much I want to.

What I find truly pathetic is that we as a nation have a historical pattern of moving right on past the latest school shooting in the comfortable knowledge we can tweet and Facebook our prayers and condolences; beat our breasts over missed signals; discuss the finer points of distinction between firearms; talk about further bunkerizing our nation's public schools; and make up fantabulous theories as to how the Second Amendment is to be viewed in some biblical gun-protecting context.

I will not walk by and allow this to pass.

I have a simple proposal that will move us forward in a commonsense manner by bringing to bear nothing more than the same standards we apply to bartenders.

Let's make weapons manufacturers and those who make a living selling and trading them legally responsible for the use of the firearms they deal with. The reality we face regarding these weapons is that there are too many and too much firepower, and nobody is willing to accept or assign responsibility.

Vermont is not an island immune to the rest of the world’s ills, and we need to protect ourselves from gun violence. This proposal will not be a cure for everything, but it will help by requiring individual people take responsibility for their actions -- in this case flooding the market with weaponry.

I used to say that we don't need to wait for a crisis in this matter. The crisis has been here for some time. Now I say there is no decent rationale for waiting for the next count of children's bodies.

I've got my priorities straight.

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