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LETTER: Don’t be silent about potential for gun violence

Apparently, Minnesota State Rep. Kelly Fenton has taken Abraham Lincoln's advice when he said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

For the past eight months, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get Fenton to explain her policies on guns in our society. In the past two weeks I have sent her seven requests, asking her to answer a very simple question that any Woodbury resident who is concerned with the safety of family and friends would want answered:

Dear Representative Fenton: What actions are you prepared to initiate and/or support in the state Legislature to protect the children and citizens of Woodbury from gun violence?

Sadly, she answered with complete silence. I informed her that 400,000 Americans have been killed by guns since 9/11. I explained that the death total exceeded American combat deaths in World War II, the Korean War, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

I told her that the murders in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the 20 children slaughtered at Sandy Hook, the nine Christians killed while praying in their church in South Carolina, and the 49 people murdered in Orlando, Fla., could all happen right here in Woodbury. Silence was my answer..

After eight months of trying, I can only speculate what her policies are, but, I must admit, I have a very dark feeling about this. Silence on gun safety is not a wise thing, not for a state representative or for the good people of this community. Silence often precedes tragedy.

I have made a personal commitment to do what I can to prevent a gun tragedy, and I intend to do it before it happens, not after. Kelly Fenton has demonstrated to me that she does not represent the good people of this city in the state Legislature. I believe she actually represents the National Rifle Association, and that she has a personal agenda on guns that is a danger to this community.

Consequently, I will vote against Fenton, and will encourage all with whom I come into contact with to do the same. Her silence on this life-and-death issue is reprehensible and unforgivable.

But I have a word of warning to all who read this letter: There is a pattern that takes place after each terrible gun tragedy. Good people gather together for a moment of silence and a few moments of prayer. People bring flowers and pictures. Then someone is certain to say, "I didn't think it could ever happen here. I wish I had done something."

Don't let that take place in Woodbury. Don't be silent.

Tom Hammond