Steve Scaffidi, the mayor of the Wisconsin city where a Sikh Temple was target of a mass shooting in 2012, penned an impassioned op-ed imploring lawmakers to enact policies that will end an “epidemic” of gun violence after the most recent mass shooting Wednesday.
Fourteen people were killed and 21 injured Wednesday when suspects Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik stormed a county banquet at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Saffidi said reporters ask him to weigh in on mass shootings because in August of 2012, Wade Michael Page fatally shot six and wounded four worshippers at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek.
Scaffidi wrote that he has “had enough,” and is “tormented” by the thought that “as a nation that prides itself as the voice of justice and compassion to the rest of the world,” mass shootings have become common occurrences.
“[I]n sharing this collective national shock whenever this happens, I would argue that we’re witnessing a fundamental and profound failure of our duty to protect our citizens from violence in any way possible, and we’ve turned over the debate to politicians, bloggers and lobbyists, all who hide behind tired clichés and fundamentally dishonest reasons why we can’t do anything about it,” Scaffidi wrote.
“The U.S. Constitution is a powerful and wise document, but with the rights it endows come responsibility, and I would argue that in the case of gun ownership, which is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment, we’ve let that right define the culture and environment in which we live to a degree that it has taken over our consciousness and made our citizens feel less safe,” he continued.
Scaffidi, who pointed out he is a gun owner, said as a nation, we can take action but we don’t.
“We use silly arguments and fall back into entrenched, absolutist positions that may make us feel better as part of a defense of our own personal agendas or political tastes,” he wrote. “We bury our head in nonstop television coverage that progresses from eyewitness accounts, to hastily-arranged news conferences to medical trauma centers, but stops short of moving forward on any legislation, policy or social changes that could actually make a difference.”