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“I’ve had enough:” Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi pens editorial following mass shooting in California

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SAN BERNARDINO/OAK CREEK — At least 14 people were killed in a mass shooting incident in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday, December 2nd. As of Wednesday night, officials said two suspects had been killed, and a third person had been detained.

Active shooter reported in San Bernardino, California (Credit: KTLA Live Stream)

Active shooter incident in San Bernardino, California

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi, who had to deal with a mass shooting incident in his community in August of 2012, penned an editorial following this latest incident.

On August 5th, 2012 in Oak Creek, a massacre took place at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek — where 40-year-old Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others.

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting victims

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi

Page committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after he was shot in the stomach by a responding police officer.

Below is Mayor Scaffidi’s editorial:

“I’ve had enough.

Wednesday afternoon I was greeted by the news from San Bernardino, Calif., that at least 14 people were killed in another mass shooting incident, this time at a public facility.

I’m tormented by the stark realization that as a nation that prides itself as the voice of justice and compassion to the rest of the world, we can’t go through a week’s news cycle without hearing about another mass shooting and innocent people losing their lives, often in the most violent and brutal manner.

As a mayor who dealt with this issue firsthand at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting on Aug. 5, 2012, I’m weary of getting calls from news media asking me to comment on the most current mass shooting incident, especially when they ask me the question: What can we do about it? Controlling individual behavior is difficult, if not impossible, and trying to guess — in advance — what might motivate someone to commit an act of hate and violence will always be a challenge.

But in sharing this collective national shock whenever this happens, I would argue that we’re witnessing a fundamental and profound failure of our duty to protect our citizens from violence in any way possible, and we’ve turned over the debate to politicians, bloggers and lobbyists, all who hide behind tired clichés and fundamentally dishonest reasons why we can’t do anything about it.

The U.S. Constitution is a powerful and wise document, but with the rights it endows come responsibility, and I would argue that in the case of gun ownership, which is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment, we’ve let that right define the culture and environment in which we live to a degree that it has taken over our consciousness and made our citizens feel less safe.

As an elected official, I feel the burden of the question every time a mass shooting takes place. What should I be doing? What can I do to lessen the likelihood that it will happen again? Why don’t we as a country take actions to reduce violence?

The answer, of course, is we could, but we don’t. We use silly arguments and fall back into entrenched, absolutist positions that may make us feel better as part of a defense of our own personal agendas or political tastes. We bury our head in nonstop television coverage that progresses from eyewitness accounts, to hastily-arranged news conferences to medical trauma centers, but stops short of moving forward on any legislation, policy or social changes that could actually make a difference.

I am a gun owner. But I have to believe that one of the popular responses to mass shootings — arm everyone and encourage individual and aggressive action against a mass shooter — is at best naive, and at worst, dangerous. Law enforcement professionals are highly trained and understand through direct experience that carrying a gun is a powerful responsibility and doesn’t guarantee that a shooter will be stopped.

The shooting at the Sikh Temple was a clear example of that, with one of our most experienced officers coming within an inch of losing his life. Expecting citizens to prevent or slow down perpetrators of violence seems logical, and in some cases might actually be possible, but it could result in the gun owner losing his or her life when mistaken for the shooter. As a country, we’ve lived through the “wild west” mentality of frontier justice. It didn’t work. It only made the weakest members of our society less safe.

And it won’t work now.

What can we do?

Why not start with researching and funding programs that have been proven to reduce violence? We live in a country of tremendous resources and brilliant minds who tackle difficult and complex problems every day. Why would we not care as much about this epidemic of violence as we do about all the other ways people die every day?



  • Opinion8d

    Dear Steve, please see the examples of cities with very strict ‘gun control’ (i.e. DC and Chicago) -how are they doing? Second, we are a nation of almost 300 million people. The ‘violence’ that you highlight here is actually minimal compared to many countries around the world and you simply are reacting to ‘what the news is covering’ versus reality. You would prefer the daily terror that Israelis deals with? How about Brazil, Mexico, and many Middle Eastern Countries were violence, murder, corruption run rampant??? Furthermore, many of the mass shooting are due to mental illness -Colorado PP, Colorado movie theater, Newtown, and many more. The everyday gun violence is primarily attributed to the poor inner cities throughout America. Unfortunately, the politician won’t address the true issues to solve the problems. There are millions of responsible gun owners and to focus on them is a huge mistake!

  • Reasonless

    I realize and respect the trauma both you and your community went thru as a result of the Sikh Temple shooting.

    I realize that all individuals involved, related, and impacted from that terrible day will be forever changed.

    What I disagree with, is the fact that you think that your communities incident makes you an expert on every shooting that happens in the US.

    Your solution is always to have more gun control. You are too tunneled visioned to accept the fact that the real problem goes much deeper than taking guns away from the people.

    If your wish was granted, and America was disarmed, do you really think that the mass killings will stop? The mentally disturbed, the hateful, the terrorists, will just find a different means. You can take out more people at a large gathering with a large vehicle. Do you plan on taking everyone’s vehicles away and getting a trolley in every city? There will always be the means and resources to make deadly bombs, that again, and just like a vehicle, can efficiently kill many more people than a gun can.

    I think that you are a great man that truly felt and lived the pain that your community went thru in 2012, and still to this day. I’m certain that your pain will never leave you for the rest of your life. However; I think because the hurt is so close to you, and deeply embedded into your soul, you are unable to see the trees thru the forest.

    You have this deep obligation to fix this problem. I get it. The problem being that your solution is deeply flawed. You would only be hurting the good citizens of this great country and solving nothing.

  • Mark Deprez



    Pipe bombs are already illegal and these guys were leaving them behind like breadcrumbs. This was not a gun violence issue. This was a carefully planned and executed strike against a group of unarmed people. And considering how insane CA’s gun laws already are, no additional laws would have prevented this. I mean, they even had no gun signs! But hey, as Rahm Emmanual used to say, never let a good crisis go to waste.

  • Robbie

    The most enlightening thing about this page is not the opinions piece above, it’s the comments by people perfectly illustrating exactly what he’s just said.
    People, please read the piece again, then read through your own comment again.
    You are doing exactly what he’s just pointed out, proving the validity of his opinions.
    Lets not be children here, this man knows a lot more than any of you commenting here about gun violence, gun control laws, self defense, criminality, etc.
    For those of you too thick-headed to understand what I’ve just written, all you’ve done in these comments is prove him to be absolutely right. The ignorant, politically extreme, selfish NRA cheer leaders have held the reins of this debate in check for far too long, it’s time for the adults to take over.

  • C.k. Dexter-Haven

    Leftist statists will say anything to gut the 2nd amendment and never say what the problem really is > the islamic war to destroy/convert western, white, christian civilization.
    In a sense they are worse than our actual enemies because they are facilitating our destruction from within. For all intents and purposes they are traitors committing cultural treason.

  • Reasonless

    Scaffidi is in over his head.

    He has that same “Deer in the Headlights” look as Milwaukee Mayor Barrett.

    No clue what so ever.

Comments are closed.

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