Tag Archives: Tom Buglio

School Shootings – An American Tragedy

by Tom Buglio

In light of the recent horrific Parkland, Florida school shooting, once again Americans are faced with the stark reality of gun violence happening in a place that should be among the safest for our children: their schools. The shooting by a disturbed young man with an AR-15 is just the latest mass atrocity involving guns in school, as there have been 18 shootings this young year, and over 200 since Sandy Hook in 2012!

Nowhere else in the developed world is there this kind of carnage. What is to be done? Do we have to accept the need for making our schools into secured fortresses with metal detectors, and armed guards? Do we need to put more $ into identifying emotionally challenged children? Do we arm teachers and administrators, as we surely will hear calls for from the gun rights side. Should we ban the semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 which caused so much bloodshed in such a short amount of time in Newtown, Aurora, Parkland and Las Vegas?

All of these ideas and more need consideration, but more than that, they need ACTION! How can any responsible school teacher or administrator not think about the next school shooting, which is surely coming.

Many school districts have spent a vast amount of time and $ fortifying their schools, as communicated by Dr. Scanlon, Superintendent of West Chester Area Schools in a recent news article. It is truly impressive, and disturbing what schools have to do to create a sense of security today. Parkland School practiced many of the same safety measures, including a drill on the same day of the shooting, to no avail.

I submit that, while we need to do everything we can with our schools to protect children, the crux of the problem is that we live in a society where it is too easy to get a gun. And the reality is that with the current makeup of Congress, nothing at a national level will change. For those politicians who feel it is more important to protect gun rights and the 2nd amendment than it is their children and grandchildren, or to protect their current status collecting money from the NRA, shame on them!

Real change will happen when we give these politicians the boot, and vote into power courageous legislators unafraid of the NRA, willing to plug the many gaps in our system that enabled a troubled young man to fantasize about becoming a famous school shooter, acquiring an arsenal of deadly weapons, and then making his fantasy into a terrible reality.

The aftermath of Parkland is depressingly familiar, as we see the agony and grief of families trying to make sense of the senseless. But it feels different: there is a wave of anger in the survivors and families of the victims that is palpable, demanding their government do something NOW!

If we want to truly make progressive change in terms of reducing gun violence, we all need to get angry and hold onto this anger through the next election. Make sure you vote, and that the person who gets your vote will protect our children, and not the gun industry. For only when we have elected officials truly committed to gun safety will we see real change.

Ban Dangerous Guns Now!

by Tom Buglio, West Chester

America is reeling from a man-made disaster of unspeakable violence: the Las Vegas gun massacre.

How do we come to grips with a man who stockpiles more than 40 high powered guns with the intent of killing as many people as possible with a shower of automatic gun fire? 59 dead, 527 injured in 10 minutes of terror….how does something like this happen?

As far as we know, the shooter bought the guns legally. Some of the guns were automatic weapons, which fire like machine guns. Some of the weapons were semi-automatic rifles that were modified to shoot like a machine gun. Although heavily regulated and not manufactured since 1989, automatic weapons are legal, as are modifiers for semi-automatics to make them shoot like automatic weapons.

Why? How is it than any citizen needs to own firepower that is so dangerous in the wrong hands? This disturbed man was able to get off thousands of rounds in the space of 10 minutes. THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR MILITARY-STYLE WEAPONS TO BE LEGAL!

Australia suffered its worst mass shooting with a semi-automatic weapon at Port Arthur in 1997 with 37 killed. Within 3 months, Australia banned semi automatic rifles and paid the public to give up these dangerous weapons, destroying over 500,000 guns. Since then, there have been no mass shootings in Australia.

Will our country have the will needed to overcome the gun lobby and do what is necessary to do the same thing? We can’t even pass Universal Background Checks on all gun sales, including private sales, which even 80% of gun owners agree with. The gun lobby will say it is not the gun, it is the shooter. I say that our country does not have a monopoly on dangerous people. At the very least, we can ban the most dangerous of weapons, including confiscating automatics and banning semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47, along with their modifiers like bump stocks that make them fire like automatics.

Unless the vast majority of people in this country rise up and demand serious change to save lives, the next mass shooting is right around the corner.

Charlottesville inevitable in the Age of Trump

letter in the Daily Local News, 8/16/17

The violence that happened in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12th, at a White Nationalist rally is shocking and disturbing, but really not surprising.

A young woman was killed and 19 others injured by an avowed Neo-Nazi sympathizer who plowed into a crowd of people with his car. The surprise to me is–with all of the armor and open carry firearms brought to the demonstration for White Supremacy full of hate groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others–that gunfire did not break out and more people were not killed and injured. This rally represents the ugly, dark side of a small, but fervent group of supporters of President Trump emboldened by his language of division, scapegoating immigrants, Muslims and our first black President.

Donald Trump has fed the paranoia of white supremacy and bigotry throughout his campaign and term, and has alt-righters like Steve Bannon, Steven Miller and Sebastian Gorka working in the White House shaping his world view every day. No wonder the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others see this presidency as bringing their abhorrent views into the mainstream.

On the day of the violence, Trump called out ‘hatred and bigotry on all sides’ but refused to name White Supremacy or the many hate groups that espouse this corrosive philosophy.  As President of the United States, he has a moral obligation to denounce in the strongest terms all vestiges of the ugly hatred and racism that are part and parcel of the alt right. But Trump cannot bring himself to denounce these bigoted groups by name who strongly support his presidency.

There are so many episodes of instability and chaos related to our President.  Here is hoping that this very important inflection point will expose Donald Trump’s support for racism and division, and will be given the full attention and exposure for the travesty it is, causing more responsible Republicans to distance themselves from his failing Presidency.

More importantly, it is an opportunity for the Republican party itself to stand up to the alt right and separate themselves from its ideology of hatred and influence on their party today.  Marco Rubio, Orin Hatch, and even Ted Cruz stood up and denounced white supremacy. Will our President ever do the same? If not, just one more reason this man is unfit for office.

— Tom Buglio, West Chester
(n.b.: DLN letters are no longer online there)

Road Rage Tragedy Raises Questions about guns in public

by Tom Buglio

Gun violence incidents happen so often in our country, they can lose their power to shock. That is not the case with the tragedy that befell the Roberson family last week when their beautiful 18-year-old daughter, Bianca, was killed in a fit of ‘road rage’ when a young man lost his cool with a loaded pistol in his car. It was so shocking, that the story made national news.

The outpouring of support from the community has been great.

However, I have not seen any story covering the question: “How can we prevent a tragedy like this from happening again?”

Road rage is something that almost every driver has experienced. An AAA study in 2014 concluded that half of the drives surveyed had experienced road rage in the previous year, such as purposely tailgating, yelling at another driver, or honking in anger. And road rage firearms incidents are on the rise. According to Trace.com, there were 247 road rage incidents in 2014 that involved firing a gun. In 2016, the number rose to 620. Over that span, 354 people were wounded and 136 killed, including a 3-year-old who was traveling with his grandmother!

Who is asking the question, “WHY ARE WE PERMITTED TO DRIVE WITH A LOADED GUN IN OUR VEHICLE?” The current law in PA gives permission to anyone who has a concealed carry permit to have a loaded gun in their car. Those who don’t have a permit must have the gun in the trunk unloaded. Does this distinction make any sense?

In addition, gun permit holders are allowed under law to enter a private place of business or private home with their concealed weapon on their person without asking permission of the owner, unless there is a clearly stated sign on the premises stating ‘Guns not Welcome.’ Why should the burden be on the private citizen, rather than the gun owner?

In summary, guns have their place in society, so long as the owner practices responsible gun ownership. But when the rights of the gun owner intrude on the rights of the public to be safe, things need to change.

The young man who killed Bianca Roberson not only snuffed out the life of a young woman in the bloom of her life, but has ruined his life as well. No doubt, he realized what a terrible thing he had just done, probably 10 seconds after he pulled the trigger. His life is absolutely ruined by shame, guilt and possibly a life sentence, with his own family suffering almost as much as the Roberson family. And for what? So he could carry a loaded weapon in his car and feel macho?

The worst kind of tragedies are the ones that could have easily been prevented, like this one.