LETTER: Let’s root out our culture of violence

We are mourning another horrific school shooting. It’s time to demand that our elected representatives refuse donations from the National Rifle Association. How can one powerful lobby hold us all hostage as potential victims of under-regulated guns? Without NRA money, our representatives can begin listening to constituents and their consciences to protect us all.

Students from the Florida high school are speaking out admirably. I thought the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School would tilt the laws, but no changes occurred. When I was a teacher at Gig Harbor High School, our back-to-school training after Columbine in 1999 was a police officer teaching us how to run from an active shooter, and the lockdown drills began. I’ve been in multiple lockdowns and had students with loaded guns in backpacks nearby, but fortunately nobody on campus was hurt. Specially trained dogs and robots searched for weapons on the campus. I never imagined such circumstances when I began teaching.

Let’s dig deeper and begin rooting out our culture of violence. American policies and weapon manufacturers have seeded the world with death, destruction and destabilization. The U.S. trillion dollar budget for “fighting terrorism” in the last decade has shriveled budgets for education, health, infrastructure and other vital areas. And now we’re being exhorted to insanely “modernize” our nuclear arsenal, when we need to abolish nuclear weapons. Let’s stop acting as if violence solves a problem.

Find a group or way to contribute to ending violence and building peace: staying passive or silent only delivers more destruction.

— Julia Lakey

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