What Will Our Elected Officials Do?

Photo by drburtoni via Creative Commons license.

The TriMet parking lot at Park Ave was full.

The MAX tram into Portland was full.

The North Park blocks were full.

Broadway was full and closed to vehicular traffic.

Pioneer Square was full.

The difference between the Women’s March and the March for Our Lives was the composition of the crowd, far more young people in the streets in the latter event.

For those on the sidelines, for those who failed to march, the question heard most often was: will it make a difference?

Good question.

What will our federal legislators do?

Kurt Schrader, our federal representative from the 5th Congressional District, has the second highest NRA rating of any federal elected official in Oregon. Kurt’s rating from the NRA at the last election was 71 percent. (Greg Walden has the highest at 93 percent, and on the state level, Julie Parrish and Andy Olson are tied with 93 percent, although the Republicans do have a few with 100 percent ratings.)

Rep. Schrader was a rare Democrat who recently voted to require states to recognize concealed carry law permits from other states. Thus, no matter what Oregon does to limit concealed carry, Oregonians are still vulnerable to residents from the state with the weakest laws.

The date was December 11, 2012. A young man strolled into the Clackamas Town Center carrying an AR-15 with 145 rounds of ammunition. At 3:29 standing in the food court, the gunman fired 17 rounds. Shots 1, 2, and 3 appeared to have killed Steven Forsyth, 45 of West Linn, Cindy Yuille, 54 of NE Portland, and wounded Kristina Shevchenko, 15 of SE Portland. Then the gunman began firing into the food court. The 17th shot was self-inflicted and fatal.

Retired nurse Joan Smith, a passerby, administered CPR to Cindy.

Vanessa Ogden, 29, a store manager, passed away on Feb 15 from traumatic stress disorder.

911 was overwhelmed by parents and family attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of their loved ones.

In between the lines of pages upon pages of police reports, it is easy to see the stress and strain of confronting the pure terror of the attack by both shoppers and law enforcement responders.

One witness reported the gun jamming, perhaps a contributing factor to the low body count.

Thus, we know it can happen here, it did.

The question remains, what will Our Legislators do?

The answer perhaps resides more in our own hands than theirs. If we do nothing, if we do not flood their offices every day with calls for gun control, background checks, gun show sale loophole closures, can we hold them responsible for not doing anything?

The Democratic Party of Clackamas County helps our two representatives every other year. Our volunteer Neighborhood Leaders pass out slate cards with their names on it. Why? Because many voters are not one-issue voters. Why? Because to date there has not been a viable choice. Many of the Republican opponents have had even higher NRA ratings. Reforming or altering the voting system won’t change that. Passing resolutions condemning legislative inaction won’t change that either. Unfortunately walking down Broadway along with 10,000s of other Oregonians won’t change that either.

What will change it is what we do the day after the march.

Who we call on Monday morning.

Who we call on Tuesday morning.

Who we call on Wednesday morning. That will determine if it can be changed.

The question isn’t what will Kurt or Greg do. The question is what will we do?

You’ll find the necessary addresses and phone numbers here.