I got an email sent at 9:36pm Wednesday by Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) asking me to sign a Change.org petition asking for universal background checks in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not only does this come less than 15 hours after a TV reporter and cameraman were murdered in Virginia but it explicitly ties the appeal to that.
The crime scene is still fresh and this blood dancer is reveling in it. Because the killer doesn’t fit the usual constructs, instead of blaming the person or even a broken mental health system, Del. Hope blames the gun. That is, the totally inanimate object that the killer appears to have purchased at retail after a FBI background check. While neither the killer nor the method in which he purchased the gun fits the narrative, this doesn’t stop Del. Hope from conflating this tragedy into a call for universal background checks.
Mr. Hope seems to be a person willing to abandon principles for political gain. According to his biography, he grew up in San Antonio, Texas, attended a Baptist high school, attended Catholic-run St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and then moved to the DC area seeking fame and fortune. Along the way, he picked up a Masters and law degree from Catholic University while working on Capitol Hill. In the latest news from his website, he is proudly proclaiming he was given a major award from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Pardon me if I am suffering from a little bit of cognitive dissonance. Less surprising is that he is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health where much of the so-called scientific gun control research originates.
Rather than blaming the object used, I humbly suggest that Del. Hope look at both the role that the media played in setting this man off and the broken mental health system. Either one or both of these are more at fault here than the inanimate object that seems to have been legally purchased.
You probably woke up this morning and saw the news just like I did: another terrible shooting occurred – this time in my home state of Virginia. From Newtown to Aurora to Charleston and now Moneta, Virginia, horrific acts of gun violence are becoming the norm in local communities across the nation.
We lost Alison Parker and Adam Ward today – two young journalists who were gunned down on live television. Their heartbreaking story mirrors so many others nationwide, where people who’ve been going about their lives – attending church, going to school, watching a movie, or just doing their jobs – have lost their lives to senseless acts of gun violence.
As a Virginia State Delegate, I’ve supported common sense gun safety measures like background checks in the legislature – only to see them stall because of political gridlock, undue influence from the gun lobby, or just sheer apathy. We’ve seen tragedy in our backyards before with shootings like in Virginia Tech, and now again today in Moneta, but haven’t acted. We can’t let another one pass without collective action.
Polling shows that more than 92 percent of voters in Virginia support background checks for all gun purchases. And in the wake of today’s shooting, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe reaffirmed his commitment to pass universal background checks because he knows how important it is for my colleagues and I to pass this measure if we are truly going to call ourselves “public servants.”
Many people feel powerless in these situations because of the political climate that holds us back from real change. I’m asking my colleagues to put people first to get this done once and for all. I know we can’t end all acts of gun violence, but that doesn’t need to stop us from advancing common sense solutions like background checks that can help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Del. Patrick Hope