When Does It End?

Thomas F Campenni
4 min readMay 28, 2022

It has become an unpleasant practice for me to write something in every edition about either racism and or a gun massacre.

Two editions ago it was about “white replacement theory” fears. While grocery shopping in Buffalo, Black Americans were mowed down by a deranged young white man who was all of 18. Last edition we had six middle schoolers spelling out the “N” word and taking a picture to post on social media right at our very own Hidden Oaks Middle. That little incident even made “Saturday Night Live.”

This week’s story is about 19 children and 3 adults being murdered. One of those who died was the 18-year-old shooter. It appears that on his 18th birthday and a few days thereafter, he went to a gun dealer and legally purchased two assault type weapons along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He cannot buy a beer or a cigarette in Texas until age 21, but a weapon of mass destruction is no problem.

What does that tell us about our culture? We will protect an 18-year-old from possible cancer and COPD in old age, but we won’t protect little kids from being mowed down in classrooms. That is freedom run amuck!

Both the shooter in Buffalo and the one in Uvalde were wearing body armor. A retired police officer in Buffalo, who acted as the armed security guard at the TOPS supermarket, was unable to stop the well-protected shooter and ended up giving his life as well.

As I write this the facts about when and how law enforcement intervened or did not are fluid. It is beyond dispute that they were not following the current nationwide policy on how to confront a shooter. It is true that the shooter had better weaponry compared to the officers, but how about the nine- and ten-year-old kids along with their teachers that were being mowed down while it appears law enforcement waited.

Parents and other concerned citizens gathered outside urging the police to act. Calls were coming in from kids trapped in the same room as the shooter. Apparently, the shooter fired over 100 rounds in about a minute before entering classrooms 111/112 which are connected by a bathroom.

Yes, law enforcement that arrived on the scene in the first fifteen minutes were woefully outgunned. I remember when regular cops traded in their 38 Smith & Wesson revolvers for 9 millimeters because they were being out matched by the bad guys. That was about 20 years ago. Should patrol officers begin to look like they are patrolling Fallujah instead of towns in America?

This is not a problem that our officers could possibly solve. Our schools should not look like prisons. Our groceries, movie theaters, churches, and synagogues should not become places where people die because they showed up to partake in American life. Ask anyone from any other nation about our obsession and they just say Americans are bonkers.

How much do we need to spend on security before we are a police state? Or because we allow an unlimited supply of fire power to anyone who can purchase it, have we created a perfect economy for gun manufacturing, with our craven elected officials yelling everyone should be toting a firearm to protect themselves against everyone else?

This is not freedom but tyranny.

We live in a tyrannical state when one must be afraid for our children’s safety in school…any school. It is a logic patented after that of Orwell’s 1984 to think it is rational to have armed teachers, principals, or janitors. If regular officers need backup, what about Mrs. Smith, the 5th grade teacher with her Glock?

We have just seen that even trained law enforcement professionals apparently can’t always stop a well-armed malevolent individual. Guns are not sacramental and the unfettered possession of them is not part of our Second Amendment. The state can have reasonable controls as was determined by the Supreme Court.

I own guns and most of my friends do. We know that ownership of weapons is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Most gun owners also realize that there is a need for background checks, education, and perhaps mandatory range training. Only craven politicians that are beholden to irresponsible lobbyists cannot understand that.

In order to drive a car, people must take a written and a road test. Shouldn’t we have the equivalent with another dangerous apparatus before placing it in the hands of Americans. Our schools do not need to look and feel like prisons. Nor are we safer as a society by all of us carrying firearms. When the leading cause of death for children is being shot, we have a serious problem.

In the last few days, statistics have been thrown around about most Americans believing in sensible gun ownership regulation. Why aren’t elected officials listening? Because most voters who want some commonsense measures are not telling their state and federal elected representatives that they will not vote for them without tangible results on this issue.

Voters need to be loud, persistent, and mean what they say on this issue. Party affiliation should be left aside…. losing young lives, old lives, and middle-aged lives by the use of assault weapons and body armor in the hands of domestic terrorists should no longer be acceptable to any American regardless of party.

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Thomas F Campenni

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manager in New York City.