The senseless murders in Connecticut amplify the tragedies of the 1999 Columbine shooting, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, the killings in Aurora, Colo., and elsewhere.
The perennial shrill rhetoric of ideologically blinded gun-rights groups offers an obscene backdrop to the all too familiar grief endured by victims of gun violence and their families.
I understand dangerous machine guns, large-capacity ammo clips and assault rifles. I'm a Vietnam veteran, a former Navy SEAL with more than 70 combat operations, most as an automatic weaponsman. I'm also a former federal law-enforcement ranger for the National Park Service.
For the greater good, safety and sanity of the American people, I agree with Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, when he beseeches our leaders to show courage and stand up, not only for the victims of gun violence, but for all Americans, and insist on meaningful discussion and action on gun reform and better enforcement.
As a first concrete step to significantly reduce gun violence and death in America, we must insist that Congress and the president renew the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004.