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What gun violence says about our country

Kudos to Dan Rodricks and The Sun for your coverage of last month's tragedy involving innocent victims of the proliferation of guns in the U.S. You stepped forward with not only the horrific facts of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings but were unrelenting in your attack on the National Rifle Association and legislators who are determined to keep weapons in the hands every criminally insane young man bent on wreaking havoc in our communities.

For weeks you kept the subject on the front page, reminding the public again and again that America is committed to protecting the rights of gun owners but not the lives of innocent children. How many more parents must bury their children, how many more innocents must die at the hands of criminals?

Having worked with the Million Mom March in 2000, I thought we would win this battle. We organized, planned, educated ourselves, marched — and failed.

Times are different now. Inscribed on one side of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington is a powerful quote by the former president: "I am not an advocate for change in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him as a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of the barbarous ancestors."

The holidays are past, the children and teachers of Newtown have been buried and somehow their community will go on. But we as a society must not give up the fight to make our country a safer place to raise our children. The number of children whose lives have been sacrificed for the sake of the Second Amendment is unconscionable. What does it say about our society if we can't protect the children among us? What does it say about our country that our government is too busy protecting the rights of gun owners to protect our most valuable asset as a country — our children?

Emma Hayward

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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