Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Thoughts and prayers just aren’t enough | Roegner

The violence must stop. And our elected officials have the ability to stop it.

In the first 130 days of 2021, there were 232 mass shootings.

President Joe Biden has lowered the national flag to half-mast five times. We now have more guns than people. And sharing our thoughts and prayers with the families of gun violence victims is no longer enough — and it never will be again.

Every public official — state and national — needs to be held accountable for not doing enough to change the laws and stop allowing guns to get into hands that they shouldn’t be in. We know the killing won’t stop unless our elected leaders stop it.

From Boulder, Colorado, where 10 people lost their lives, to Atlanta, Georgia, where another eight people were murdered. Then Houston, Texas, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Then nine more people at a transit yard in San Jose, California, including the shooter, who committed suicide. The problem has only gotten worse.

There was a time we thought schools were immune until the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School showed us families grieving the loss of 20 first-graders and six adults. Then in case we forgot, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, followed with 17 killed and 17 injured. Every child in those two schools had parents and grandparents, and some may have had brothers and sisters. We feel a kinship with those families because their days will never be the same again. We endure their pain as any parent would.

The madness is everywhere. Almost 300 children have died from gunfire in our schools. We think it will always happen somewhere else.

Not all are mass shootings. But the common denominator is guns and the ease with which they are available. In 2020, 6.5% of U.S. adults or about 17 million people bought guns, which is up from 5.3% in 2019. Since only about 20% were first-time buyers, which is the same from the previous year, it is hard to blame the pandemic.

Mass shootings are defined as those involving the deaths of four or more people. It used to be easy to blame the National Rifle Association because they hid behind an amendment that was fashioned when the one-shot musket was popular, as opposed to the repeat-fire weapons that are available today.

The NRA was formed over 150 years ago and has been the one of the most powerful pro-gun special interest groups for most of that time. The NRA used political pressure on candidates to vote its way, and donated to candidates to retain its influence. But the NRA may be as vulnerable now as it has ever been. The combination of attempting to claim bankruptcy while spending lavishly for its CEO has undermined its credibility in an attempt to move to Texas. But high living has finally caught up with the NRA. Politically, now is the time to say “never again” will we allow a special interest group with a goal of less regulations for guns to have that much power. Our children and grandchildren and our neighborhoods are more important.

Now is the time for the public to demand President Biden and Congress, including both Democrats and Republicans, to require stronger background checks before someone can own a gun. More money needs to be spent on mental health because someone always knows when a person they know or work with has mental health issues. That is why we have Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), which came after Sandy Hook. In November 2016, thanks to two legislators and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and passage by public vote, the “Extreme Risk Law” passed with a 69.4 % majority, which included many rural areas.

In 2017, 75% of gun deaths were by suicide. Rather than spend their time trying to advance gun rights, Republicans need to join with Democrats and put the lives of our young people first and tighten gun control laws, not weaken them. According to Pew Research Center, about 60% of Americans support stricter gun laws. Yet we don’t see passage of laws to implement that goal for the public.

Even in blue Washington state, a recent editorial called out legislators who passed legislation to not allow open carry on the Capitol Campus, and in some permitted protests, for not doing enough. This comes despite the most progressive session in years.

Between 1966 and 2012, one-third of the world’s mass shootings occurred in the United States. The violence must stop. And our elected officials have the ability to stop it! Or do we need another citizen initiative?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial
Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, Seattle Weekly and the rest of Sound Publishing’s King County… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful
To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about homelessness and the climate
Gov. Jay Inslee talks about homelessness and the climate

During an Editorial Board interview, he also discussed a wide range of other issues on the state agenda.

We need to, but how do we talk about race?
We need to, but how do we talk about race?

Racism is still an issue in this country. How can we have constructive conversations to move forward and heal?

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Despite ruling on Public Records Act, we need to keep a close eye on Olympia

Washington Supreme Court upholds that state legislators are subject to the Public Records Act.

Mind over miles: Thoughts from the Seattle Half Marathon
Mind over miles: Thoughts from the Seattle Half Marathon

Reporter runs the 13.1-mile race in 2:01:40.

Professionals in a second language | Windows and Mirrors
Professionals in a second language | Windows and Mirrors

What is it like to pursue a career in a language that is not your first?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
U.S. Supreme Court: One right, one wrong | Roegner

Here’s a tale of two United States Supreme Court decisions — one… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Silver lining from Washington’s brutal heat wave | Brunell

How about some good news coming out of our record-breaking (extreme) heat… Continue reading