Governor McDonnell’s outrageous and irresponsible comments in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy cannot go unanswered. As the head of our Commonwealth’s government, he should be setting an example of thoughtful reflection upon this event which has become the recent focus of our entire nation. He should be proposing serious measures that our state government can take to lessen the likelihood that such a school killing spree will happen again. Particularly because Virginia has the very sad distinction of being the site of the worst school shooting in history, our governor should be prominent in the current sober national discussion–not increasing the chances that we will become fodder for The Rachel Maddow Show again.
Yet while speaking on his regular ‘Ask the Governor’ radio show, he suggests that we should be arming teachers and administrators. He wants more guns in schools–not less! He says that handgun and rifle training ought to be part of required teacher training and that armed police should be stationed in our schools. Instead of reducing violence in schools, he is setting the stage for a show-down-at-the-OK-Corral in your very own neighborhood school. Now that he has signed legislation repealing Virginia’s one-gun-a-month law, our teachers should have no trouble stockpiling guns in their classrooms as he recommends.
I know without a doubt that the Virginia General Assembly will not pass any gun safety legislation in the upcoming session, and no amount of protesting or shaming will change that. I also know that the Governor will not demand or even encourage us to make Virginia a truly safer place for students and their families. But knowing that legislative failure awaits should not prevent us from bringing the issue to Richmond and spotlighting the lack of responsible action there. We should not settle for defeated silence. We should not settle for ‘now is not the time’. If this is not the right time to bring sanity and gun safety to Virginia, I cannot imagine the horror that would finally be the ‘right time’.
Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at [email protected]