UNION, NJ – A candlelight vigil was held Friday evening outside Town Hall in remembrance of the victims of the rent Las Vegas shooting.
“I stand here before you quite speechless,” said Mayor Suzette Cavadas. “From natural disasters to international conflicts and now this, the worst mass shooting in the United States’ history. Across the nation people are going through a spectrum of emotions – sadness, grief, confusion, anger distrust and fear.”
Cavadas told the audience about her six-year old daughter overhearing the news that one of the victims of the shooting was a kindergarten teacher. Cavadas, emotional as she relayed the story, said her daughter asked, ‘Mommy, why would someone want to kill a kindergarten teacher?’ “And I was at a loss for words,” said Cavadas. “I didn’t know where to start to try to explain this to her.”
"I’ll be honest with you, I’m frightened," continued Cavadas. "Frightened for the future of our children. I’m so glad you all came together tonight. As I look out on all of you, I am reminded that peace starts right here.”
“Tonight we’re gathered together to console our children, our families, our communities, while we face some harsh realities,” said Reverend Samuel Wright of the Human Relations Committee.
“Tonight is about peace,” said Wright. “It’s about unity and it is about a return to a genuine respect for life.”
Reverend Robert Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action and Ceasefire New Jersey, the state’s leading gun violence prevention group, said, “someone who had no respect for human life created a warzone right here on our own streets. There’s nothing else to call it except a warzone."
Moore said combat veterans witnessed the scene and reported that they hadn’t seen anything so horrible even on the battlefield. “And yet it’s happening on our streets. The weapons the shooter used to kill or wound those 600 people were assault weapons – the weapon of choice for most mass killings. Weapons of war do not belong on the streets of America because they are used in mass killings, over and over.”
Moore said New jersey banned assault weapons in 1991, the strongest assault weapon ban in the country. Moore described his organizations successful efforts to keep the NRA from getting the ban repealed.
“We are here tonight to grieve for the 600 sisters and brothers killed or wounded,” said Moore, “and to honor their souls. But we need to do more than grieve. We need to act. We need to be mindful when we go into the voting booth.”