Flags lowered in wake of Florida shooting. Hatch urges continued discussion of solutions

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Following the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which has left 17 dead, President Donald Trump has issued a directive to lower flags to half-staff at all federal facilities in honor of the victims.

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert has ordered the flags of the United States of America and the state of Utah to be flown at half-staff at all facilities for the same duration. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly flags at half-staff until sunset on Monday.

The offices of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch released a statement Thursday offering condolences but also emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship in the wake of a tragedy that Hatch called “the kind we’ve grown far too accustomed to.”

“My prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Florida,” Hatch said in the statement. “I’m grateful to the brave law enforcement officers, students, and teachers who acted heroically in the face of terrible violence.”

The Florida incident represents the nation’s deadliest shooting in a school setting since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 that left 28 dead, including shooter Adam Lanza.

Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the suspect – identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz – was taken into custody without a fight in a residential neighborhood about a mile away, according to a report from The Associated Press. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.

In Hatch’s statement Thursday, he went on to say that these types of tragedies “lead us into unproductive, partisan foxholes.”

“But I believe we can find common ground as we address the underlying problems at the root of these horrific acts.”

Hatch cited the bipartisan Fix NICS Act, which he co-sponsored with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in November 2017, along with support from Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

“This commonsense proposal strengthened the background check system, preventing future acts of violence. It was supported by everyone, including the Senate’s staunchest supporters of gun control and the National Rifle Association.”

Hatch said:

Just as we did with the Fix NICS Act, I hope we can continue working together to make our communities safe. I’m also preparing to introduce bipartisan legislation in the coming weeks to curb violence in schools by investing in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens. This proposal has been endorsed by law enforcement, education, and mental health organizations.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Brian February 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Here’s a crazy idea: Pay for teachers to go and get trained (on a volunteer basis) to know how to safely handle and discharge a firearm. This training would be far more than is required for concealed carry, more along the lines of Front Sight, where they teach you when AND how to shoot and you actually fire 500+ rounds in various tactical situations.

    Then pay teachers $250 per year to actively carry on campus, with random inspections to make sure they’re doing so, and doing so safely. When a teacher has any sort of negative review or discipline problems the stipend and right to carry are the first thing revoked.

    The ONLY way to stop an active shooter is with more, bigger, or better-used guns. Period.

    The idea that some legislation is going to prevent this is sheer fantasy and lunacy. At least without completely changing the nature of America, which none of us want (the ones who say they do haven’t thought it through or don’t realize the risk that actually comes with that; hint: 150 – 250 million unarmed citizens were killed by their own governments in the 20th century).

    If we really want to prevent these we need to change our culture. This killer was a full on Antifa fruitcake and everyone (including the FBI) knew it.

    • Pheo February 15, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Okay. Now imagine you are the police officer showing up at the site of an active shooter. How many of your armed heroes get shot by the officers in that scenario? Or put yourself in the Aurora theater when someone starts shooting. The hero stands up with his concealed weapon in the darkened theater, sees someone else with gun drawn, and shoots him dead only to find it was another would-be hero with a concealed weapon.

      I accept that there may be situations where an armed citizen could stop a shooting from getting out of hand, but this theoretical benefit pales in comparison to the actual cost of dead children in our schools. I think gun advocates like you keep this little bit of self deception alive so you don’t have to face the guilt of what happened yesterday.

      The warning about governments killing their citizens is laughable. There are plenty of stable democracies that restrict guns without being slaughtered by their governments. In any case, you think you and your militia could stand against a determined US military if they decided to come after you? Australia gave up their weapons and what did it cost them? A declining murder rate and elimination of mass shootings.

      Nothing will come of this. We decided after Sandy Hook that murdered kindergartners was a small price to pay for our freedom to bear arms. Our freedom to buy bump stocks is more important than hundreds who died or had their lives destroyed in Las Vegas. We could protect our homes with shotguns and our persons with handguns, but that is just not enough. Because of this cultish devotion to the Second Amendment, we can’t bear the thought of any restriction, even if our children are subjected to school massacres.

      So all we really have to offer is thoughtsandprayers.

    • comments February 15, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Asking/requiring teachers to acquire and maintain the training and firearms skills of police or SWAT I’d say is a bit much

    • Chris February 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Antifa fruitcake?? Hardly. He was a member of a right-wing militia group, the Republic of Florida, that espouses white supremacist views.

    • Death Valley February 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      If you think teachers should be armed in school, might I suggest something?
      Seek professional help as soon as you can. When teachers have to arm themselves to give our students an education, we have failed as a nation. More guns are not the answer. People like you scare the living crap out of people with brains. MORE GUNS… MORE GUNS…!!!! Lunacy at it’s finest, right here in Utah. Pathetic.

  • Pheo February 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm


  • bikeandfish February 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    There is no verifiable evidence he was a member of antifa. On the other hand, there are accounts with massive bot influence that are spreading that rumor. The bots constantly amplify such dubious accounts and claims.

    Please learn to fact check before spreading such gossip.

  • MSLL February 15, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Yeah! Let’s have more people with guns! That will solve the problem… OMFG… As long as people are allowed to have guns, this will never stop. Get used to it!! This is the country you live in, this is the way you like it, don’t complaint when people go gun crazy. It’s amazing it doesn’t happen more often actually…

  • hiker75 February 15, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Stop selling automatic weapons.

    • bikeandfish February 15, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Automatic weapons have been banned for decades, except under extremely rare circumstance. The AR-15 is not an automatic weapon, its semi-automatic. And there are semi-automatic weapons that are regularly used for hunting.

  • An actual Independent February 18, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Let’s stop wasting our breath on “thoughts and prayers”. Just lip service requiring nothing and achieving nothing. They haven’t stopped this stuff and they’d certainly haven’t brought any of the victims back. They never will. It’s time for “thoughtful action” instead. As for “moments of silence”…..what good has that done? It’s more than time for “moments of outrage”. And honestly, I’m a little tired of flags flying at half mast constantly, to demonstrate that we are a nation of hopeless victims.
    Stop telling me that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. There are obviously a lot of people who should not have access to guns. We require a license to drive a car, give a massage, sell insurance or own a dog. The People’s Theocracy of Utah sees no Constitutional problem with infringing on the right to publicly have a glass of wine with dinner, or to dance joyfully in an open, public forum. That Constitution was written on parchment, not engraved in titanium. It gave us options and processes for correcting errors and fixing problems. We can sure as hell do something to stop lunatics from carrying weapons of mass destruction around on their hips or in a backpack.

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