Local elected officials, advocates, and community members yesterday demanded real gun reform in the wake of four mass shootings this past week.
Shootings in Ohio, California, Texas, and Brooklyn’s own Brownsville put both the borough and the country in mourning. Borough President Eric Adams held a candlelight vigil in response at Prospect Park last night.
The evening’s solemness quickly gave way to anger.
“We are sick and tired of prayers and vigils. Enough is enough, we have been here before we should not be here again,” said State Attorney General Letitia James. “What we need more than anything else is no more vigils, we need action. Thoughts and prayers will never be enough when innocent people are killed.”
“I’m so tired of these vigils and these candles,” said Public Advocate Jumanee Williams. “This is a plague in this country and it is the most preventable plague that this planet has ever seen. It is one hundred percent preventable. How stupid do you have to be to not understand that guns are a part of gun violence in this country? Access to guns in this country is the problem. From the handguns in Brownsville to the AK 47’s in El Paso.”
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Greenpoint, Manhattan, Queens) noted there are more guns in America than anywhere on Earth.
“So believe me if guns made us safer we’d be the safest nation on earth. And are we? No. So let’s get the guns off the street, that’s what we have to do. There are so many problems in this country for which we don’t have an answer. We have the answer to gun safety: ban them, regulate them, take action,” Maloney said.
Adams claimed President Trump’s rhetoric regarding minorities and immigrants has galvanized white supremacists to commit acts of violence. The El Paso shooter vowed to kill “as many Mexicans as possible,” according to Vanity Fair.
“There’s something we learn in law enforcement called a sleeper cell,” said Adams.“It is when a body of people who think of hate and destruction lay dormant until the opportunity presents itself to bring about destruction. It is clear that’s what is happening on a national level, particularly from the white house, it is an alarm clock that has given rise to the sleeper cells throughout this country who have long had in their hearts the violence that they want to inflict on innocent people.”
“I’m tired of questioning if the president is racist,” U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-Queens, the Bronx) added. “He is.”
There were many calls during the course of the evening on Washington leaders to take action.
“It’s not enough to say enough is enough, at this point we’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take anymore,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay). “It’s about sacrifice, it’s about knowing nothing we do in our daily lives will help us win this battle if we don’t set the time aside to confront this. We have got to make our way to Washington D.C. and confront Mitch McConnell. Whatever we have to do; we have to sacrifice our time because indeed our lives depend on it.”