On behalf of all of Duke Dems, I’d like to say happy holidays to all. We were so happy with how involved and impassioned so many Duke students got with the election, and pleased to get to know so many of you through phonebanking, canvassing and seeing you at our meetings. We also couldn’t be happier to see President Obama reelected for a second term, and congratulate all of you on your hard work in accomplishing that.
I don’t think it would be just, however, to end any holiday message this year without acknowledging the tremendous suffering in Newtown, CT as a result of Friday’s shooting. Our hearts go out to everyone impacted in this time of tremendous grief.
This shooting—the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the VA Tech shootings in 2007—brings to light, once again, our nation’s dire necessity for gun control. When Obama spoke in Newtown Sunday, he articulated a call to action concerning gun control laws. I urge Obama and anti-gun members of Congress to be hard-line in their efforts to curb gun violence through increased control, and specifically for Obama to start outlining specific methods for how he is going to achieve his call to action. If you missed it, watch Obama’s speech here.
Several legislators are making moves in the right direction. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, for example has announced that she will introduce a new assault weapons ban on the first day of the Senate’s session next year.
In the meantime, I hope that on a local level, students on Duke’s campus and Americans all over don’t let themselves forget about this event—or any of the other several incidences of gun violence that have happened this year, and in the past several years. Our continued discussion of this issue, and our continued support for gun control laws will be what will make Congress finally pass these much overdue laws. In addition, I urge you all to read an excellent piece on the issue by senior Mike Shammas, which was picked up by the Huffington Post. Shammas does a wonderful job of conveying just how senseless many of the arguments pushed by gun advocates are.