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A Comment on Yesterday’s Mass Shooting at Douglas High

So, I thought that I would opine on the mass shooting at Douglas High School. As many of you know, I was raised in Broward County. Douglas opened the year after I graduated from Nova High. For the record, yesterday’s massacre was the 18th mass shooting in the United States in just the first 45 days of 2018.

I spoke earlier with my sister, who resides within about 30 minutes from Douglas. She wept — her friend’s daughter, all of 14-15 years old — was murdered at Douglas. She wept over the fact that this good kid would never get married, never have kids, never experience the continued wonderment of life. I, myself, came to some tears.

Sadly, once again, nothing will happen — there will be no official action outside of a call for prayers and a convenient line not to “politicize” the issue. Yet, as we all know, there should be a real response, with strict gun control being enacted, the removal of the prohibition on lawsuits against the gun industry being enacted, and an official call for formal investigation of the nepotistic, likely criminal relationship, between the industry, the NRA and state/federal lawmakers.

The gun lobby, inclusive of gun manufacturers and their paid ‘special interest’ group, the NRA, control the Republican Party and, sadly still, at least a few Democrats. I honestly believed that the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the past 5 years, of small children would finally force the GOP-controlled Congress (and, separately, FL Legislature) to take real action. I was wrong — since that time, I have remained cynical that any subsequent mass shooting would result in the creation of progressive public policy on guns.  I hate my cynicism in this matter — fifteen years ago, I served as regional counsel for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence; at that time, there still remained some sense of cautious optimism that we could maintain the gun control laws enacted early during the Clinton Administration and, hopefully and slowly broaden them.

As a former Professor of Constitutional Law at UCF, let me set the record straight for those who “love their guns:” there is no constitutional right to own a gun — the plain language of the Second Amendment effectively allows for the modern equivalent of the National Guard to own weapons. Also, even if there were such a right, such rights are normally subject to limitations — public safety being one of those limitations often argued by Government to limit those rights.

So, my sister told me that I made the right decision to move to Canada, and to remove my child from the mania. As I have stated since my relocation to Nova Scotia, one of the reasons impacting our decision to move was the inundation of gun violence — violence which I observed first-hand every time I attended an officer-involved shooting in my role as private labour counsel for the Police Benevolent Association.

In closing, Douglas High has generated a direct impact on me, occurring in a high school in the county where I was raised, where I attended grade school, and where my mother taught school. The shooting at Pulse — occurring a two-minute drive from my former home in Orlando — left me with the same numb, dumbfounded sense. I am an American; and, yet, I do not recognize my country and former home. And, I do not perceive how there will occur a departure from the current insanity.

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