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Monday, June 13, 2016

Memorial Planned for Tuesday

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future

Pic of the MomentMemorial Service for Pulse Massacre is being planned for Tuesday, June 14, from 6-8pm. Location to be determined.

The service is being co-planned by RI Pride, the Religious Coalition for a Violence-Free Rhode Island and others.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) has issued the following statement:

“The  tragedy in Orlando, Florida is  just the latest reminder that   access to deadly weapons of war  like  the AR-15 has irreversible consequences. The families and friends of the 103 victims will be forever affected and forever wondering why.  Our lax gun laws  turned hatred into horrific violence in Orlando last night.

“Once again, our Senators and Congressmen send out their tweets, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this horrendous act in ______________________(fill in the blank).

“The RI Coalition Against Gun Violence is demanding that instead of offering “thoughts and prayers” to the 103 victims of the recent Florida shooting, the general assembly starts voting bills out of committee to make all Rhode Islanders safer.

“Many States including Massachusetts and Connecticut have laws to prevent domestic violence abusers from access to guns. Many States including Massachusetts and Connecticut have banned High capacity magazines. Almost every State including Massachusetts and Connecticut do not allow concealed carry of firearms on K-12 School property.

“Yet, for 3 years in a row, these bills are being “held for further study” here in Rhode Island.  You can study your way through law school in three years.

“How much more study do we need to pass common sense legislation to keep guns away from domestic violence abusers (HB 7283, SB2730)? Do we need to wait any longer to ban high capacity magazines over 10 rounds (HB 7199/SB 2835)? Do we need to wait for a tragedy at our K-12 School grounds before we pass HB 7243/ SB 2761)?

“We are urging the Governor, the Speaker and the Senate President to do everything necessary to have these bills voted out of committee.  It is time for the Judiciary Committees to stop hiding behind a pretext of study. In a recent poll, the vast majority of Rhode Islanders said they want a vote.  It is time to respect not only their wishes but their health and safety as well.  We want a vote.

“The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence is an organization that was created by concerned citizens of Rhode Island. The organization came to be in 2013 after the Rhode Island General Assembly failed to pass common sense gun legislation. We recognize gun violence as a public health issue. Using common sense means and methods, we seek to reduce injuries and deaths from gun violence.”

Representative David Cicilline‘s statement on the Pulse Tragedy:

“Like all Rhode Islanders, I am keeping the people of Orlando, the victims, their families and loved ones in my thoughts and prayers today.”

“It’s outrageous that LGBT Americans continue to be the targets of such horrific hatred and violence in 2016. Don’t let anyone tell you that we have full equality in this country. LGBT people are not political wedge issues – we are human beings and we are entitled to full equality under the law. I hope that, in the aftermath of this horrific shooting, our country will move towards greater love and acceptance of all Americans.”

“Lastly, it is absolutely infuriating to read reports that this shooter used an assault weapon to murder 50 innocent people and wound 53 more. It just should not be this easy for someone to walk into a gun store and walk out armed with a weapon of war that is designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible.”

“As we saw in Charleston last year, lone wolf terrorists are a threat to all of us. We simply cannot continue to live in a country where it’s easier to buy an AR-15 than it is to buy cold medicine.

“Access to these weapons is a threat to our public safety, and it’s time for Republicans in Congress to come to the table and restore some sanity to our nation’s gun laws.”

EDITOR’S ADDITION. Rep. Jim Langevin released this statement:

"We awoke today to another headline about senseless violence, and yet we are astonished and heartbroken once again with news of the worst mass shooting in United States history. We can never understand or explain the hate that drives someone to commit an atrocity such as this. What we need right now is to reach out to those affected and show our support, because while we mourn as a nation, we cannot allow hate to invade our own hearts or minds. America is better than that.

"This is a tragedy beyond comprehension, and I join the chorus of prayers for both the families of the victims and also the injured who continue to suffer. I pray that no more lives are lost in the wake of this attack.

"My heart breaks for Orlando, and for the LGBT community nationwide. We recognize Pride Month in June, and last night's shooting was an attack on the very values for which Pride Month stands. The victims were gathered in what should have been a safe space for them to be true to themselves and celebrate our shared belief that all people should be treated equally, and no one should be subjected to violence or discrimination."

"The details of the case continue to unfold, but I have every confidence that local law enforcement, in conjunction with the FBI, will fully investigate what is believed to be an act of terrorism. As a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I will monitor the investigation closely and in the coming weeks and months I hope my colleagues will come together and take action to ensure we no longer have to wake to headlines of violence. For now, we pray for Orlando, but prayers alone are not enough."

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member. and Twitter: @SteveAhlquist