As Marysville mourns the loss of a second Marysville-Pilchuck shooting victim overnight, backlash may be building against anti-gunners who quickly exploited the tragedy in an effort to push for passage of Initiative 594.
Overnight, 14-year-old Gia Soriano passed away at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett despite valiant efforts by doctors and nurses to keep her alive. Her family has reportedly donated her organs to save the lives of others in need. Her classmate, Zoe Galasso, died in the shooting, and their killer took his own life.
High on that list of offenders are venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, whose “sarcastic” Facebook post got the attention of KUOW’s Isolde Raftery late Friday afternoon, failing Democrat congressional candidate Jason Ritchie, and Dan Gross, president of the anti-gun Brady Campaign. A check of Hanauer’s Facebook page this morning shows no sign of the alleged “sarcasm,” but Ritchie’s remarks (quoted by KIRO’s Jason Rantz) are available to hear, and Gross’ comments may be read on-line.
With just eight days remaining until Election Day, the attempts to capitalize on the Marysville-Pilchuck school shooting just might backfire. Today, according to the Governing website and McClatchy News, some families who lost children at Sandy Hook will be in Seattle today to “join Initiative 594 supporters, as the campaign enters its final push.” To what end remains a mystery because I-594 would not have prevented either tragedy and they know it.
According to KUOW’s account, Hanauer posted, “We need more school shootings!!! Vote yes on Initiative 591.” His comment is being excused as sarcasm, but one can bet that had a proponent of rival Initiative 591 tried to capitalize on the Friday tragedy, it would have been the lead news item on all three local network affiliate news broadcasts, and probably made Page One headlines above the fold in local newspapers.
Observed Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the I-591/Protect Our Gun Rights(POGR) Campaign, in an exclusive e-mail to Examiner: “Nick Hanauer tweeting that we need more school shootings in his sick push to get his anti-gun rights initiative passed is disgusting. Dancing in the blood of children for political gain should be rejected even by his own supporters.” Gottlieb also heads the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is part of the POGR coalition of sportsmen and women, collectors, competitors and law enforcement professionals.
Voters are now deciding on the fate of the two initiatives, and many have decided that the exploitation of Friday’s high school shooting has been nothing short of despicable. They know that an 18-page so-called “background check” law would have had no impact at all on last Friday’s events, and that the 14-year-old shooter in this case already violated several existing laws.
The teen was not old enough to carry a handgun concealed anywhere. He violated the law by bringing that .40-caliber Beretta pistol into the school. He violated the laws against murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He could not possibly have bought that gun legally under existing statues.
Yet here was Gross in his Friday statement: “If school shootings and other violent incidents at schools are to be stopped, the effort must begin at home. It starts with parents, who need to recognize the risks of guns in the home and make safer choices about gun access and storage. In addition, Washington voters can help make their state safer by voting for ballot measure 594 that will extend background checks to all gun sales and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.”
As for Ritchie, who is running a long-shot campaign against Congressman Dave Reichert, his comments caused KIRO’s Jason Rantz to refer to the Democrat as an “ideological opportunist.” Rantz further asserted that Ritchie “exploited what happened so he can push a political agenda.”
All of this comes on the heels of the recent sign theft caper involving a former Bellevue city councilwoman who not only supports I-594 but contributed more than $200 to the campaign. She was spotted by an attentive Examiner reader who called Bellevue police. No sooner had Gottlieb appealed for leniency in her case than did some I-594 supporter vandalize I-591 campaign signs on Mercer Island; so much for trying to be magnanimous in the midst of a campaign that has suddenly turned very ugly, but only on one side.