September 27 is a significant date. On that day in 2012, a man with a handgun murdered 6 and wounded 2 of our fellow citizens in Minneapolis.
And on Long Island, December 7 is also a day to remember. On that day in 1993 another man with a pistol and 160 rounds committed mass murder at the Merillon Avenue Long Island Railroad Station. Forever lost were Mineola residents Amy Federici, James Gorycki and Dennis McCarthy, along with Maria Theresa Tumangan Magtoto of Westbury, Richard Nettleton of Roslyn Heights and Mi Kyung Kim of New Hyde Park. Nineteen of our fellow citizens were wounded, including Kevin McCarthy, Dennis McCarthy’s son.
There is a blood chilling sense to the way that we view particular dates and locations in the context of rampant gun violence in our nation. At times, a span of a mere mile and a half can be the difference between life and death.
Even short distances can become brutally consequential as we recoil in horror and outrage to learn that the National Rifle Association has decided to hold a fundraising event this September 27 at, of all places, the Inn at New Hyde Park, just a few minutes’ walk from the Merillon Avenue Station.
The event invitation entices with the prospect that attendees can win a Colt Cobra revolver or a Weatherby Vanguard Camilla Women’s Rifle. With a special NRA grip, the Colt comes with a 2-inch barrel for easy concealment. The rifle is advertised as having a “slender forearm, a slimmer grip with a gentle palm swell: ‘I am a huntress, and my time has come.’”
Dollars raised at the event will be used to fund efforts in Washington and in state legislatures to oppose every bill addressing reasonable weapons control and to further pay for NRA owned politicians.
Newtown, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and on and on and on. How many lives must be slaughtered at NRA’s altar?
I know Carolyn McCarthy, Lois Schaffer, Joyce Gorycki, Rita Kestenbaum and Linda Beigel Schulman. Carolyn and Joyce’s husbands were murdered at Merillon Avenue. Rita’s daughter was murdered while away at college. Linda’s son was killed at Parkland.
I consulted with Mark Barden when I worked on the initial draft of New York’s gun violence restraining order. Along with 19 precious little children and 6 outstanding educators, Mark’s beautiful seven-year-old, Daniel, was murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
I sat next to Rita Kestenbaum at Dejah Joyner’s Going Home Ceremony at Hempstead’s Union Baptist Church in October of 2015. Another beautiful child, 12-year old Dejah was the victim of a so-called stray bullet that found her as she slept in her bedroom.
But the NRA zealots insist that we should not take their weapons fetish personally. Sorry, but I do take it personally and so should every American of good faith.
Those of us who love our children more than the “gundamentalists” love their little guns must take a stand against the National Rifle Association, the largest single obstacle to the passage of common sense weapons legislation.
Sadly, too many of my legislative colleagues collude with the NRA. So deep are they in the NRA’s pocket that you won’t be able to find them without having to brush aside copper pennies and ancient lint.
A prime example is Republican Louisiana Congressman and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Nearly killed last year by a shooter not far from the White House, he remains a steadfast NRA lackey and a major recipient of NRA cash.
Holding a fundraiser in the heart of Nassau County is an outrage. Holding it on September 27 is another outrage. Holding it at the Inn at New Hyde Park, a short walk from Merillon Avenue is another outrage. We are long past the point when “enough was enough.”