Rob Horowitz: Newtown- One Year Later

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

 

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This past weekend marks the one year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where one deranged and disturbed gunman killed 20 children and 6 school personnel. In the year since, there have been more than 11,000 gun deaths (excluding suicides), according to Slate Gun Tracker.

Many observers including me believed that what happened in Newtown was so horrific it would serve as a galvanizing force in our politics, propelling common sense gun control measures forward. Unfortunately, with the exception of some states, most prominently New York, Connecticut and Colorado all of which passed comprehensive gun control legislation, even widely popular initiatives such as closing major loopholes in our national background check system failed to advance. And the National Rifle Association (NRA),---briefly on the defensive right after Newtown-- emerges from the past year’s gun control battles appearing more powerful than ever.

As the Washington Post reports, The president and first lady lit 26 candles in the White House Map Room on the anniversary on Saturday—one for each of the victims. President Obama also made a call for action on gun control the subject of his weekly radio address.

Speaking of the Newtown parents, Obama said, “Over the past year, their voices have sustained us. And their example has inspired us – to be better parents and better neighbors; to give our children everything they need to face the world without fear; to meet our responsibilities not just to our own families, but to our communities. More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered”.

Obama continued, “And on this anniversary of a day we will never forget, that’s the example we should continue to follow. Because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.

On Fox News Sunday, Carlee Soto, sister of one of the teachers murdered that day, recalled how she felt the day gun control advocates came up 6 votes short of the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster of a stripped-down, bi-partisan background check compromise bill advanced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey( R-PA).. "It was extremely hard to watch these members of Congress come in and vote no on something so sensible," she said, noting background checks only take roughly 90 seconds. "It is hard. There is definitely days where I don't want to do this.”

The short-term prospects for any progress for common sense gun control measures at the national level are remote. It will take building a much more robust grassroots movement—one capable of really battling the NRA.

On the other hand, there is still the potential to make important advances in some states and Rhode Island should be near the top of the list. The resounding defeat of the NRA and its allies this past weekend in the Exeter recall election, as all 4 Council members targeted for recall easily retained their seats, should serve to puncture State House conventional wisdom about the overwhelming power of the gun lobby in the Ocean State. In fact, as one would expect in a Northeastern blue state, polling consistently shows that common sense gun control measures are very popular in Rhode Island.

It often takes several years to pass controversial legislation. Advocates should not be discouraged by the failure to adopt a wide-ranging gun control package introduced in the wake of Newtown in the 2013 General Assembly session--the first session in which the package was considered, Rhode Island remains fertile soil for a focused effort by local gun control advocates buttressed by resources from national supporters such as Mayor Bloomberg. Let’s truly honor the memory of the victims of Newtown and their parents by adopting a comprehensive package of gun control measures in the 2014 session. Rhode Island can help show the nation the way.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.

 

Related Slideshow: Top 25 Most Dangerous Workplaces in Rhode Island

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#25

Microfibres, Inc.

Location: Pawtucket

Business Type: Broadwoven Fabric Mills

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 2

Areas of Violation: Industrial trucks, personnal protection, respiratory protection, hazard communication

Initial Penalty: $6,800

Case Status: Closed

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#24

K & J Construction, Inc.

Location: Cranston

Business Type: Residential Remodelers

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 4

Areas of Violation: General requirements, training

Initial Penalty: $8,400

Case Status: Payment Plan

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#23

Manchester Tree And Lanscaping Service, Inc.

Location: Middletown

Business Type: Landscaping Services

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 3

Areas of Violation: Work platforms, head protection, foot protection

Initial Penalty: $8,400

Case Status: Closed

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#22

Colonial Mills, Inc

Location: Pawtucket

Business Type: Carpet and Rug Mills

Number of Initial Violations: 4

Number of Serious Violations: 2

Areas of Violation: Machine requirements, hazard communication

Initial Penalty: $8,470

Case Status: Payment Plan

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#21

Green Tech Assets, LLC

Location: Cumberland

Business Type: Non-hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal

Number of Initial Violations: 7

Number of Serious Violations: 7

Areas of Violation: Guarding floor, industrial trucks, wiring

Initial Penalty: $8,800

Case Status: Closed

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#20

Nursing Home Services Inc.

Location: Riverside

Business Type: Commercial Laundry, Drycleaning, and Pressing Machine Manufacturing

Number of Initial Violations: 9

Number of Serious Violations: 9

Areas of Violation: Exit routes, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communication, eye and face protection, medical services and first aid

Initial Penalty: $9,200

Case Status: On payment plan

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#19

Grinnell Cabinet Makers, Inc.

Location: Cranston

Business Type: Millwork

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 3

Areas of Violation: Tools and equipment, wiring design, hazard communication, industrial trucks

Initial Penalty: $9,800

Case Status: Closed

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#18

Albaco Realty

Location: Cranston

Business Type: Industrial Building Construction

Number of Initial Violations: 9

Number of Serious Violations: 8

Areas of Violation: Scaffolding, ladders, training

Initial Penalty: $10,400

Case Status: Closed

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#17

Mouldcam

Location: Bristol

Business Type: Composite Digital Fabrication

Number of Initial Violations: 10

Number of Serious Violations: 9

Areas of Violation: Scaffolding, medical services and first aid, respiratory protection, wiring design, hazard communication

Initial Penalty: $10,800

Case Status: Abatement pending, on payment plan

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#16

Veolia Water North America Operating Services, LLC

Location: Cranston

Business Type: Non-hazardous Waste Treatment and Disposal

Number of Initial Violations: 11

Number of Serious Violations: 2

Areas of Violation: Respiratory protection, medical services and first aid, machine requirements, wiring design, exit routes, occupational noise exposure, hazardous waste operations, control of hazardous energy

Initial Penalty: $12,750

Case Status: Closed

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#15

Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Inc.

Location: Bristol

Business Type: Fresh and Frozen Seafood Processing

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 3

Areas of Violation: Control of hazardous energy, hazard communication

Initial Penalty: $12,870

Case Status: Closed

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#14

Barlo Signs

Location: Warwick

Business Type: Sign Manufacturing

Number of Initial Violations: 6

Number of Serious Violations: 1

Areas of Violation: Wiring design, fall protection, training

Initial Penalty: $14,630

Case Status: On payment plan
 

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#13

Kindred Healthcare DBA Chestnut Terrace Nursing And Rehabilitation Center

Location: East Providence

Business Type: Nursing Care Facilities

Number of Initial Violations: 6

Number of Serious Violations: 6

Areas of Violation: Eye and face protection, hazardous energy, training, personnel protection

Initial Penalty: $14,854

Case Status: Abatement pending

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#12

Gem Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

Location: Providence

Business Type: Plumbing, Heating, and Air-Conditioning Contractors

Number of Initial Violations: 4

Number of Serious Violations: 2

Areas of Violation: Training, asbestos

Initial Penalty: $15,000

Case Status: Closed

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#11

Richard Mayo, Sr.

Location: Westerly

Business Type: Roofing Contractors

Number of Initial Violations: 11

Number of Serious Violations: 11

Areas of Violation: Fall protection, training, and ladders

Initial Penalty: $16,000

Case Status: Abatement and payment pending

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#10

New Providence Properties, LLC

Location: Providence

Business Type: Residential Remodelers

Number of Initial Violations: 11

Number of Serious Violations: 11

Areas of Violation: Fall protection, ladders, asbestos

Initial Penalty: $16,920

Case Status: Abatement and payment pending

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#9

Lincoln Construction

Location: Portsmouth

Business Type: Roofing Contractors

Number of Initial Violations: 7

Number of Serious Violations: 6

Areas of Violation: Ladders, training requirements, fall protection

Initial Penalty: $17,920

Case Status: Abatement and payment pending

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#8

H & R Builders and Renovation, LLC

Location: Providence

Business Type: Residential Remodelers

Number of Initial Violations: 7

Number of Serious Violations: 7

Areas of Violation: Wiring, fall protection, training

Initial Penalty: $18,000

Case Status: Abatement and payment pending

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#7

Hk&S Construction Holding Corp.

Location: Newport

Business Type: Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction

Number of Initial Violations: 5

Number of Serious Violations: 5

Areas of Violation: Working over or near water, rigging equipment, protective systems

Initial Penalty: $19,530

Case Status: Some violations being contested

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#6

Jose Family Construction

Location: Providence

Business Type: Roofing Contractors

Number of Initial Violations: 6

Number of Serious Violations: 3

Areas of Violation: Fall protection, training, head protection

Initial Penalty: $21,120

Case Status: Abatement pending, penalty in debt collection

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#5

Norman Sanville, Jr.

Location: Johnston

Business Type: Miscellaneous Wood Product Manufacturing

Number of Initial Violations: 12

Number of Serious Violations: 12

Areas of Violation: Woodworking machinery requirements, wiring

Initial Penalty: $21,600

Case Status: Abatement pending, in debt collection

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#4

Rosco Manufacturing, LLC

Location: Newport

Business Type: Water and Sewer Line and Related Structures Construction

Number of Initial Violations: 18

Number of Serious Violations: 14

Areas of Violation: Protective systems, working over or near water, rigging systems, medical services and first aid, hazard communication, occupational noise exposure, respiratory protection, exit routes, industrial trucks, training, control of hazardous energy

Initial Penalty: $28,700

Case Status: Abatement pending, on payment plan

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#3

Quarles Ii, Inc.

Location: Woonsocket

Business Type: Clothing Store

Number of Initial Violations: 9

Number of Serious Violations: 9

Areas of Violation: Exit routes, portable fire extinguishers, industrial trucks

Initial Penalty: $31,500

Case Status: Debt Collection

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#2

Monarch Metal Finishing Co., Inc.

Location: Providence

Business Type: Electroplating, Plating, Polishing, Anodizing, and Coloring

Number of Initial Violations: 19

Number of Serious Violations: 18

Areas of Violation: Occupational noise exposure, flammable and combustible liquids, hazardous waste, eye and face protection, respiratory protection, medical services and first aid, portable fire extinguishers, industrial trucks, hazard communication

Initial Penalty: $36,540

Case Status: On payment plan

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#1

Stone Systems Of New England LLC

Location: Slatersville

Business Type: Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing

Number of Initial Violations: 10

Number of Serious Violations: 9

Areas of Violation: Respiratory protection, air contaminants, hazard communication, occupational noise exposure

Initial Penalty: $54,000

Case Status: Abatement pending, on payment plan

 
 

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