By Setti Warren, Candidate for MA Governor
Following the lead of the survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week, young people around the country are doing their best to shake America out of our complacency on gun violence.
A lifelong resident of Newton, Setti lives with his wife Tassy and their two young kids, Abigail and John, in the home where he grew up. (from settiwarren.com)
I am so grateful for these young and determined activists, because the truth is, our nation has grown used to the status quo when it comes to gun violence. I worry the same is true in our Commonwealth.
Across the nation, mass shootings have become easy to shrug off. Here at home, we hear the names of those gunned down in Massachusetts on the morning news, and we forget them by lunch time. Sure, we have the predictable arguments about gun safety and the 2nd Amendment, but nothing happens in Congress.
When our Attorney General Maura Healy started fully enforcing the assault weapons ban, I rallied my fellow mayors to support her. As a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (which is now called Everytown for Gun Safety) I worked with other mayors across the country to pressure Congress to make our federal laws stronger. I’m proud of the work Maura and our Congressional delegation is doing to stop the carnage in our streets.
These young people have given me a jolt. They’ve gotten me thinking more about what we can do to end gun violence, and they are filling me with hope that we can actually get it done. The best way to honor these victims here in Massachusetts is to pass good laws like the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill currently proposed on Beacon Hill. This simple bill would allow judges to temporarily take guns away from people who are threats to themselves or others. Other states already have this law and it’s saving lives.
In addition to passing new laws and fully enforcing existing ones, there’s something else we can do to honor gun victims: We can remember them.
I want to share with you some information about 17 people who have recently been gunned down in our own neighborhoods. Here is my request to you: please take a few minutes and look over the names on this list. Every person has a story and a family. Every person was a neighbor and a friend. Every person was a life extinguished by guns that are too easy for murderers to get their hands on.
21-year-old Shaquille Browder
Upon his death, Shaquille was described as a “son, brother, and friend” who was “loved dearly by his family and friends.”
22-year-old Alexander Mervin
Alexander has a young daughter.
42-year-old David Carroll
According to his friends, “David Carroll was there for his friends at all times – whether it was a call at 3 a.m., or a good morning message hours later.”
25-year-old Jamal Bannister
Jamal was shot in his car outside of a restaurant in Back Bay with his brother, who survived.
17-year-old Chad O’Connor
Chad was a Boston resident.
65-year-old Janice Houston & 68-year-old Jeffrey Houston
The Houstons were long-time and beloved residents of Montgomery Massachusetts.
41-year-old Jermaine Taylor
Jermaine was an East Falmouth resident.
33-year-old Ian Hunter
Ian was a Boston resident.
20-year-old John Colon
John was a Dorchester resident
27-year-old Dwayne Nelson
Dwayne was a Haverhill resident.
48-year-old Benny Flores
Benny was fatally shot in home invasion.
24-year-old Maurice Timberlake
Maurice was shot on his way from a court house.
37-year-old Tarek Mroue
Tarek got lost while trying to deliver a washing machine, and was killed in a road rage incident.
34-year-old Marc Devoe
Marc was also killed in road rage incident.
24-year-old Anthony Luna
Anthony was a Lowell resident.