Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter: It’s time to stop the slaughter

March for Our Lives was an important first step
(Annabelle Tocco/ Daily Collegian)

All too many of us in this country have asked when the violence will stop. Turning on the TV, we’ve seen young children shot, like in Sandy Hook; teachers throwing themselves into a hail of gunfire to defend their students, like in Parkland and church-goers begging for their lives at the hands of a gunman instead of singing high praises for their God, like in Sutherland Springs.

Schools should be a place for learning, not for hiding under a desk. The pew is for prayer, not for dodging bullets. For these people’s deaths, we marched to demand our elected representatives commit themselves to the cause of ending the era of gun violence.

Background checks would be a start, banning suspected terrorists from gun purchases would be fantastic and stopping assaulters from getting their hands on a shotgun would be a godsend. Nearly all Americans agree: 97 percent back universal background checks. Yet, at the federal level, such policy is unconscionable.

There is no use mincing words. In the United States, killers with their legislative enablers are given free rein to unload their frustrations and their clips onto innocent people. Backed up by the beefy campaign donations of merchants of mass murder, these representatives sell not only their own souls, but the souls of countless victims of gun violence. This fight isn’t with reasonable gun-owners, 85 percent of whom support universal background checks, but with the industry that insists on selling weapons of war to those that commit civilian slaughter.

Heather Egeland Martin, a survivor of Columbine, told her story of that fateful day. There were 60 kids at choir practice, trapped in a small room for hours with fire alarms blaring; she told of the students taking “turns writing [their] names on the wall because [they] thought [they] were gonna die in there.” But the gun industry is unmoved by stories like these. It’s an industry which puts profits before people.

On March 24, Our Revolution UMass Amherst and other organizations participated in the Northampton March for Our Lives rally, where we heard stories of people’s experiences and showed our commitment to stopping further tragedies. We must march, and we must elect candidates un-beholden to merchants of mass murder — candidates like Casey Pease, a former University of Massachusetts student now running for State Representative in the 1st Franklin District. Unlike some elected officials, Pease has pledged to never accept campaign donations from the National Rifle Association, and he also supports reasonable and strong regulations to ensure safer gun ownership and public safety. Banning bump stocks, raising the age requirement for assault weapons and greater mandatory training were all cited as policies he supports. Importantly, he also raised the importance of maintaining effective background checks, an issue all the more important due to the millions of missing cases in the FBI’s gun background-check system, which precipitated the church shooting in Sutherland Springs.

We need people like Pease who are committed to making sure our schools no longer have such violence visited upon them. People who are committed to standing up to those who value the faces on a bill more than our faces and our lives. People who are committed to enacting the people’s will to stop the slaughter.



Will Harmer

Treasurer of Our Revolution UMass Amherst

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  • N

    NITZAKHONMar 27, 2018 at 9:30 am

    That’s right. Be a good genocide enabler.

    You demonize the NRA without grasping that it’s power comes – not from money – but from it’s 5+ million members. Yet every year Planned Parenthood sacrifices 300,000 infants to the deity of “convenience”.

    You want to save lives? Start there.

  • J

    John aimoMar 26, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Ignoring the fact that gun control doesn’t reduce crime, that human beings commit crime and that school shootings are actually very rare; the most common victim of gun homicide are black men and 90 percent who are killed by other black men and that a more common sense solution is metal detectors or armed police school officers in school, I would normally be for some gun control.

    I don’t think anyone should own guns and the government should have power over everyone including liberals and people without guns are weaker and it’s much harder for them to defend themselves from a powerful government. Government is ultimately good because it controls human beings who need to be controlled.

    However since liberals are so dishonest and manipulative in the gun control debate and are just using this the teenage victims of the parkland shooting to push their agenda, I am against gun control.

    On the surface it would appear that liberals are doing very well in this debate, there is almost no counter-debate against gun control, the parkland victims who are against gun control have received little attention, there was a huge protest in Washington, and there is alot of pressure on lawmakers to do something. However, the reality is that gun control legislation has not been passed in a long time, even while obama was president, he did not pass a single bill of gun control legislation.

    I don’t think anything will happen here; you’ll see zero gun reform. If anything we need to talk about prison reform in our country, I would like to see more people be thrown in jail for being criminals. Maybe for example if a felon has a gun, he should be put in prison for 10 years, drug dealers, the sentences need to go back up, sentences for drug possession back up, and by putting more criminals in prison, we will keep our cities and towns much safer and the result of that will be less violence and less gun violence.

    Liberals don’t’ want that, they paradoxically hold two contradictory positions at the same time. They are both pro-criminal(they want more leniency for criminals) and gun control. They take a position that increases crime and then they complain and think taking way guns from the problem they created is going to achieve something.

    • N

      NITZAKHONMar 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      The NRA once did a study of the MINIMUM time, per “mandatory minimum sentences”, that a person would accumulate if a felon went to a gun show, handled 2-3 firearms, and then asked someone to straw-man purchase them for them.

      It was impressive.

  • E

    Ed Cutting, Ed/.D.Mar 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    ENOUGH — It is time to stop they hysteria.

    Yes 14 students died in Florida, and 5,699, 986 weren’t.
    The odds of dying in a school shooting is 0.15 per *million* — or 0.0015 per 100,000
    Compare that to 13.2 Opiate deaths per 100,000!

    Kids are dying from drownings, bicycle accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. Let’s talk about the hazards of texting while driving and drunk driving — THAT kills way, way, WAY more kids.