Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who represents the city of Binghamton, said that the people who are behind many mass shootings in the United States actually turn out to be Democrats.
While speaking on an Albany-area radio show, Tenney said, “Yeah, well, obviously there is a lot of politics in it, and it’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but the media doesn’t talk about that either.”
Not only was her comment somewhat irrelevant in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as it touched on a trivial aspect of the event, but she also clearly did not consider the aftermath of one of the other deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history — the one in her own backyard at the American Civic Association on Front Street in the city of Binghamton that occurred almost 10 years ago. The shooting is still the deadliest mass shooting to occur in New York state’s history.
In the same radio interview, Tenney expressed concerns for the legal gun owners who would potentially be affected by the Florida shooting. She stated, “What scares me most is that a lot of these legal gun owners are going to be targeted now. In their demographic, they have the least amount of crimes of virtually any other demographic.”
It is inappropriate and completely ignorant for Tenney to say that what scares her most is how gun owners will be affected, rather than saying what scares her most is that innocent people are being murdered as a result of gun violence every day and the United States has yet to do something about it. Tenney is wholeheartedly ignoring the tragedy that took place in her own district and how it changed the community — both the people who were directly and indirectly affected by the shooting at the American Civic Association. It’s hard to believe that Tenney, among other politicians, cares more about Second Amendment rights than finding ways to prevent more innocent people from being murdered.
After the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in October, we wrote an editorial about the tragedy. We recalled Tenney’s support of the National Rifle Association, and the organization’s tandem support of her. In the wake of both the Las Vegas tragedy and the shooting in Parkland, Claudia Tenney has reminded us that she is more interested in the rights of gun owners than the safety of innocent people.
Although Tenney’s comments were unwarranted, her ignorance is unsurprising. The congresswoman has a track record of ignoring constituents’ concerns. In fact, exactly a year ago on Feb. 22, 2017, the Binghamton Homepage reported that constituents were planning to hold a “Where’s Tenney?” town hall meeting after she failed to schedule meetings, even after constituents requested she do so. Her failure to schedule town hall meetings demonstrates her unwillingness to listen to the people she is supposed to be serving, and it also explains the current disconnect between her and her constituents. Tenney’s alternative to holding town hall meetings was to hold them via phone instead of in person, which was, frankly, far from adequate to address citizens’ concerns.
Tenney is blatantly disrespecting and ignoring the people she was elected to listen to. Although it should go without saying, serving as a congresswoman requires one to understand and be receptive to the people you govern. She certainly does not acknowledge that community members are still suffering from what occurred almost 10 years ago.
According to an article published in The Boston Globe on Nov. 11, 2017, Binghamton community members are still constantly thinking about the bloodshed at the American Civic Association. The article highlights David Stark, a retired Binghamton teacher and principal who used to play piano at the organization’s annual Garlic Festival. The article states, “Now he can’t drive down Front Street without thinking of murder and death.” Tenney must acknowledge how her own citizens must be feeling in light of yet another mass shooting.
The Editorial Board wholeheartedly denounces Tenney’s statements following what occurred in Florida. If she wants to fulfill her congressional duty to serve citizens of her district, she first needs to prove she actually cares about the people who elected her, the place in which they live and the history tied to it.