COLUMN: All Of Us Deserve To Feel Safe

Posted On February 19, 2018

Column by Lane Siekman, Democratic candidate for Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District 

I use the hashtag #Allofus on my social media posts. The tag grew out of a local discussion about what is important to remember when discussing public issues.  I try to run this simple phrase through my thoughts when addressing a problem or a situation.

#AllofUs  – All of us deserve …

  • a level playing field,
  • a good education, and,
  • to feel safe.

Last week’s news shocked the nation when a 19-year-old former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and opened fire, killing 17 and injuring multiple others. The incident has been ranked as one of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.  This comes on the heels of an anther school shooting last month in Kentucky, where a 15-year-old student brought a handgun to Marshall County High School and opened fire in the school’s atrium, leaving two dead and 17 injured.

One parent’s anguish particularly stood out when I watched the news coverage from Florida. Her daughter’s name was Alyssa Alhadeff and she was 14 years old when her life was tragically cut short. Rest in peace. Her mother cried out “President Trump, please do something. Do something! Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!”

There is an epidemic of mass shootings in America and each time the response is to send our thoughts and prayers to the victims. I doubt that these words come as little comfort to the parents, families, and friends of the dead and injured children whose lives have been devastated by the inhuman action of these killers. Even worse, the psychological impact of these events is tearing at every student, parent, and teacher in America. Our children do not feel safe at school anymore.

Our children do not feel safe because our leaders will not take the actions that they need to protect them. We need leaders with courage… courage to do the right thing… courage to put country above party.. courage to put people before politics.

I have not accepted any donations from any gun lobbying organizations nor do I intend to accept any in the future. I support the Second Amendment but I believe that we must find an answer to the horrendous gun violence epidemic in this nation that is putting our children in danger. We have to do the research and ask the hard questions to find real solutions to gun violence.

The time for talk is over. Congress must change its policy that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from studying gun violence as a public health issue. The Dickey amendment, an annual appropriations provision, states that “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” We must use the power of this great nation to find real answers even if they upset the gun lobby and their big campaign dollars.

I will support authorizing an immediate study of gun violence by the CDC and I will call for strengthening background checks, outlawing bump stocks, reinstituting the ban on military-style high capacity magazine weapons, and doing whatever else it takes to protect our children.

#AllOfUS deserve to be safe. Especially our children.