Dear Members and Advocates,

Sadly, this past week our country experienced another tragedy that has become all too common over the past several decades. Another school massacre took place in Texas. 21 people were killed, including 19 elementary school students.

Now I understand that gun control is a very divisive topic and I’m not looking to go there in this week’s update. I just want to ask why certain tragedies evoke such an immediate and radical legislative response while others seem not as important. I also want to know why this country can’t seem to get its policies right. Are politicians in the United States basing decisions on evidenced-based practices or are they acting on what will bring them the most money and power?

Compare last week’s massacre in Texas (or the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting) to the 2013 abduction of Cherish Perrywinkle. Cherish was an 8-year-old girl from Jacksonville, Florida who was abducted from a Walmart on June 21, 2013. Eventually authorities found her, raped and murdered. Her kidnapper was appropriately sentenced to death. The year after the Cherish Perrywinkle tragedy, the Florida Legislature declared they were going to make this state “scorched earth” for registrants. In 2014, Florida lawmakers added thirteen (13) requirements to the registration statute. More offenses required registration, Internet Identifiers needed to be registered, vehicle information for everyone in the household including anyone who visits for 5 or more days needed to be registered, transients now needed to register every 30 days, and more. The 2014 amendment to statute 943.0435 saw the most increases in registration requirements ever.

We can’t say that any of the 13 requirements added to the registry in 2014 would have saved Cherish. Clearly the dozens of requirements already part of the registry prior didn’t. Similarly, we can’t say what measures would have saved the lives of the 21 people killed in Texas last week. We can only comment on the legislative response to two separate tragedies. One Florida girl is killed in 2013 and we get “scorched earth”. 17 Florida children are killed in 2018 and we get nothing. What happened to “if it saves one child…?”

I’m not a fan of knee-jerk reactions when it comes to anything, least of which is creating laws that jeopardize individual’s rights and freedoms. What I am a fan of is the scientific method. Lets identify the problems we are trying to solve, test the different theories to address the problems, identify which ones work and which ones don’t, and then apply the ones that work and scrap the ones that don’t. Oh, and while we are at it, lets let social scientists who have no concern about re-election, who are not being influenced by lobbyists and who are not reliant on financial backing from outsiders perform the testing!

This country is a nation of failed policies. Despite the “war on drugs” that began in the 80’s, the United States has the highest share of substance use disorder according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. also accounts for the vast majority of firearm deaths among children (across the 29 countries in this study, the U.S. accounted for almost 97% of the firearm deaths among children 4 years old or younger, and 92% of firearm deaths for those between the ages of 5 and 14). We already know that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world at 716 per 100,000 of the national population.

Why can’t politicians accept that they got some things wrong? Why are they so reluctant to undo some of the things they got wrong? And, most importantly, why can’t they get it right in the first place?


The Florida Action Committee


See Calendar of Events – Keep up with Meet-and-Greets in your area, Support groups, Membership Calls, and other events.  For questions, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.

Click Here for Calendar, and double click on the event to view details and RSVP instructions

June 4 – Duval Meet-and-Greet in Jacksonville

July 16 – Sarasota Meet-and Greet

July 23- Lee County Meet and Greet in Ft Myers

July 30 – Manatee Meet-and Greet

Aug 6 – Orange County Meet-and-Greet in Apopka

Aug 27 – Broward Meet and Greet in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

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