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We must be proactive, not reactive, after tragedy

Conversations on America's gun culture have become more pronounced in the news, such as "Republicans and NRA shift ground, say they will consider limiting firearm 'bump stocks'" (Oct. 5), but to what avail? Whether it is the Las Vegas massacre, whether it is the Columbine shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting, the Orlando shooting (2016), whether it be the storm ravaging effects from the Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria which plummeted Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico — the response to these tragedies has been very predictable. People rally around the people. People quickly rise to the situation doing everything they can to help the victims of these horrific events.

During the Las Vegas mass shootings, the goodwill of people was clearly evident. Strangers acting as shields for other strangers, strangers carrying wounded strangers to hospitals, strangers waiting in line to donate blood for injured strangers. This is the goodness of 97 percent of people in Maryland and America. However, it is the three or four percent of the population, such as the Las Vegas madman or gang members in the cities who cause the havoc and devastation.

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In all of these disasters, our response is a reaction. Our actions are reactive when they should be proactive. The tragedy occurs, and then people react. What needs to be done is to take measures which could help to prevent or at least lessen the pain resulting from these disasters. All of the goodness in people cannot bring back to life the people murdered. All of the goodness in people cannot remove the pain and suffering of those adversely affected by the wrath of the storms pounding their areas. The question is, where does the blame lie? In large part the blame lies with the career politicians — be they liberal, conservative, Republicans or Democrats. It is their desire for power, fame, and money that propels them to put their own needs above the needs of the people they are supposed to serve. That accounts for Congress not taking action on banning assault weapons from being sold to the public. It explains why President Donald Trump took so long before the military was called to come to the aid of the people in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

How do we go from being reactive to proactive? First, we need to elect politicians who are ethical and who will make a commitment before they are elected to be a real, true public servant rather than becoming a career politician. Agreeing to serve one term only would be the best way to bring this about. Second, we need more educators like Reverend Watters — people who are committed to helping the poor and needy in the community. We need fewer educators whose primary focus is promoting their own careers as administrators or professors who like to author books for selling. Third, we need to come to the realization that there is a supreme being over all of us. We need to learn how to emulate what our maker stands for.

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Ralph Jaffe, Baltimore

The writer is a Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election.

Send letters to the editor to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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