“It was Mark Twain who said, “Politicians and diapers need to be changed often, and for the same reason.”
One issue that can help all voters temporarily set aside political party loyalties and ideologies is what to do about the growing threat of school and mass shooters in Georgia. I have talked with many Republicans and the faith leaders of 26 different churches over the last eight months. Most of them quietly agree with me that we need to do something before, not after, something terrible happens that brings us to our knees in grief and despair. They also know we are not giving up our guns. No responsible gun owner has to or needs to. So this is really a simple decision on Nov. 6. You either want the kind of common sense gun legislation other states have already put in place to protect our children and public safety or you don’t. My opponent, the incumbent Rick Jasperse, is a seasoned politician. He’s got lots of signs, lots of money, and plenty of big corporate donors who want him to remain in office. His campaign is a paean to the status quo. I get that. But I think he is wrong not to want common sense gun legislation that dozens of other states have already enacted to help reduce the growing threat of school and mass shootings and the alarming rates of teen and veteran suicides. Rick co-sponsored Georgia’s campus carry law which was and still is reviled by most college professors and administrators. College students worry about their gun-toting peers who may be angry or emotionally unstable or under the influence. Please do not be distracted by “study committees” and declarations of “enhanced school security” and financial pledges to “harden” schools. To discuss such stuff without owning up to the undeniably essential role of guns in school and mass shootings is intellectually dishonest. In fact, there is much we can do that other states have already done. We can impose a waiting or “cooling off” period for all gun purchases. We can require universal background checks and close the so-called “gun show loophole.” We can prohibit teenagers from buying semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. We can restrict gun magazine capacities. We can put in place “red flag” laws that enable law enforcement and local judges to separate threatening individuals from their guns, including suicidal teens and veterans. We can prohibit convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms. We can require gun owners, especially parents, to store unattended guns safely and securely. Now is the time for all of us to set aside our political differences and unite for the common good. We have a common humanity. We have common values. Please join me in rejecting “the new normal.” It doesn’t have to be this way. What are we waiting for really?