Nearly 1500 moms, educators, and families march in DC to demand Congress pass the federal assault weapons ban in the wake of recent mass shootings on Monday Apr. 17, 2023 in Washington. Credit: Joy Asico / AP

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This eulogy memorializes Cynthia Peak, substitute teacher and victim of the mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. Every sub knows the routine: rushing off to cover for a teacher suddenly taken ill; running up and down stairs trying to find the classroom; and struggling for control of a disruptive class. It’s part of paying the price for keeping kids educationally on task as they build a life for themselves. In this case, her heroic sacrifice bought time for law enforcement.

But Republicans in Tennessee and in Congress have yet to pay an electoral price: Cast from office by voters disgusted with their refusal to ban body-destroying assault rifles and to institute universal background checks on all gun purchases. The key issue is survivability: Shot by a handgun, Peak and the others might have recovered. But many in the GOP choose to allow criminals to equip themselves with the most lethal weapons apparently if it means cash from the NRA in its members’ campaign coffers.

Reasonable people know it’s possible to respect the Second Amendment and still outlaw weapons of war.

Dave Witham

Substitute teacher