Del. Marcus Simon on Jamycheal Mitchell: “This makes me incredibly sad and...

Del. Marcus Simon on Jamycheal Mitchell: “This makes me incredibly sad and angry at the same time”


How can this lunacy happen in the United States of America in 2015? I agree 100% with Del. Marcus Simon: “This makes me incredibly sad and angry at the same time,” and we “need to get serious about fixing our broken mental health system in Virginia before more people die!” I’d add that nobody – let alone someone with severe mental illness – should be in jail for stealing a Snickers bar and a 2-liter Mountain Dew – let alone for months “while awaiting trial on the charges.” Add this one to the outrageous case of Natasha McKenna, and yes Virginia, we’ve got a major problem here that needs to be addressed ASAP!

P.S. Virginia ACLU Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastanaga writes: “This is outrageous. Deinstitutionalization has resulted in reinstitutionalization in jails because community programs non-existent. And, no bail?”

  • lowkell

    The senseless loss of the lives of two young journalists was absolutely heartbreaking on so many levels. Once again a gun-related tragedy has taken place in Virginia. We now find ourselves at a crossroads where we can try to replace inaction with common sense gun legislation or once again keep the status quo. Universal background checks should be a reasonable first step.

    Too often after gun-related violence, discussion about how to tighten our gun laws is met with charges of politicizing the issue. However, after a tragedy occurs, it makes sense that we would do whatever we could to limit the possibility that the same type of incident might happen in the future.

    In the House of Delegates, I have been involved in a number of issues where opposing viewpoints came together in discussion and compromise to pass legislation. Sadly however, this has been impossible when the discussion turned to guns.

    As a legislator, I have introduced, co-patroned and supported countless bills that would prevent senseless gun violence in the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, for example, I introduced House Bill 2045, which would prohibit a person who is subject to a protective order from possessing a firearm. Common sense, right? Not an extreme concept. What happened to my bill? It was killed quickly and quietly in subcommittee. Even when it comes to reasonable legislation such as background checks, those on the other side of the issue have refused to even talk, let alone find a path toward compromise.

    Polls consistently show that the public overwhelmingly wants reasonable gun safety legislation. The only way that legislators on the opposite side of the issue will listen is if the public weighs in and tells them to find a way to compromise. If there is no room for compromise then it is up to the public to take it to the ballot boxes and elect individuals that will discuss, listen and be open to a path toward common sense gun safety.

    My hope is that this latest senseless tragedy, the loss of the promising young lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward will not be forgotten. I sincerely hope that both sides can come together in a shared resolve to take steps to pass common sense laws to keep guns out of the hands of those that should not have them. We cannot continue to watch tragedies occur while we do nothing to prevent needless loss of life. I have always been and will always be committed to work for common sense gun safety laws.