Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Need More Than Just Words.

This week so far has been a sad one here in Nevada. We saw multiple incidents of gun violence on both ends of the state claim lives and make waves in the media. And today, Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) paid tribute to Michael Landsberry, the 8th grade math teacher who died in his effort to protect his students at Sparks Middle School.

Meanwhile, Senator Dean Heller (R) tweeted a photo of the US Capitol flag being lowered to half staff to mark the lives lost at Sparks Middle School on Monday.

We now know the assailant used a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic handgun that he brought from his home. He was a 7th grader at Sparks Middle School.

Of course, this isn't the only tragedy that this state is mourning. In Southern Nevada, friends and family are mourning the loss of Kenneth Brown. He was a club promoter and stand-up comedian who recently moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to be closer to his mother. He died Monday morning in an effort to prevent Benjamin Frazier from killing any more after Frazier shot a bouncer and a security guard at Bally's on the Las Vegas Strip.

Apparently, Benjamin Frazier opened fire over a cover charge dispute at Drai's After Hours. He used a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver that was not registered in Nevada. He also had a running rap sheet before this week, including a 1997 conviction for assault with a deadly weapon at another local nightclub.

Down here in Southern Nevada, the Bally's Shooting was just one in a recent string of gun violence incidents on the Las Vegas Strip. And up in Northern Nevada, the Sparks Middle School Shooting was just one in an ongoing string of attempted (and sometimes successful) mass shootings. Yet while politicians send out the usual tweets of condolence and deliver the usual somber floor speeches, we've yet to see meaningful action on gun violence.

Senator Dean Heller had an opportunity to do so, but he was too busy catering to his "TEA" fueled base. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) also had an opportunity to do so, but... Ditto. Rep. Mark Amodei hasn't even tried to hide his allegiance to the NRA. And Governor Brian Sandoval (R) just didn't want to be bothered with reality.

Here's the problem. We regularly see politicians send tweets of condolence and deliver somber floor speeches, yet we rarely see leaders reevaluate the status quo and make a real effort to save lives. Are background checks and guidelines for safe gun storage really "too much to ask"? Are gun industry profits truly that much more important than saving people's lives?

This week, we've heard plenty of words describing the pain several families throughout Nevada are experiencing this week. But now, we need more than just words. We need actions to match those words. When will that happen?

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