Sen. Richard Blumenthal won’t let his Senate colleagues forget about gun violence.
Thursday, he gave the latest of at least 16 speeches he’s made on the issue on the floor of the Senate since Newtown, urging his colleagues to take action.
Thursday’s speech memorialized New Haven high school senior Javier Hernandez, 18, who was shot and killed Dec. 28 as he walked from his house to a friend’s house.
Martinez was a student at Common Ground High School, an environmentally focused charter school that has gained national recognition.
Blumenthal said Martinez was “absolutely thriving” at Common Ground. He had spent the summer interning with the Nature Conservancy, and had worked with West River Stewards to identify and document sources of pollution along the river. And last spring, he planted trees with the New Haven Urban Resources Initiative.
“He planted trees that he will never sit under, but the world will be better for all that he did,” Blumenthal said. “By all accounts, he was dedicated, hard-working, and had a good heart. He stayed out of trouble, he worked hard on his studies, and … he had a growing dedication to protecting the world” he lived in.
“Unfortunately, our society failed to protect him from gun violence.”
Blumenthal said shooting deaths like Martinez’ have become “the mundane evil of our time, accepted with indifference as another news item.”
But they should be “as repugnant, abhorrent and unacceptable as the deaths of 20 innocent children and six great educators” in Newtown.
As he did in a recent speech about another Connecticut gun-violence victim, Erica Robinson of West Haven, Blumenthal urged his colleagues to remember the victims, “not only in words but by actions.”
He praised administrative actions by President Barack Obama and the actions of some states, like Connecticut, that have passed tougher gun laws.
“But this body and this government needs to act,” he said. “We know that stolen and illegally bought guns are trafficked across state lines, and no single state can put a stop to it.”