Martha Ramirez

SMC Corsair / SMDP Staff Writer

Former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden visited Los Angeles Trade Technical College on Thursday, Nov. 14. Biden, whose name has come up frequently during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, delivered a speech to a crowd of students and supporters.

Though he was smiling when he walked through the cheering crowd, the tone of the event quickly shifted. After thanking his supporters, Biden began his speech by addressing the Santa Clarita school shooting, which took place earlier that day.

“I have to start on a bit of a somber note,” Biden said. “Today is a stark reminder — two wounded, three dead, a young man being carried out in a stretcher and a press person hears him say, ‘what kind of world is this?’”

“This has become intolerable for a long time,” Biden added, “and the fact that our Republican friends led by this president is so desperately afraid of the NRA, afraid of the gun manufacturers and yields in a way that is, quite frankly, sickening.”

According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there have been 44 school shootings in 2019 alone, the most recent of which took place in Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. There have been almost 400 mass shootings in the year overall.

“It’s not just here. It’s all across America. And it’s sickening,” Biden added, his once-cheerful tone gone stern. “Ladies and gentlemen, when I talk about the soul of America and how it’s at stake right now, look at all the children we sent off to school …We send off children — six, seven, eight, nine, ten years old — and the first thing they learn is how to duck and cover … What does that say about our soul? What does that say about who we are?”

In a recently released public service announcement, Sandy Hook Promise — a non-profit organization dedicated to “providing programs and practices that protect children from gun violence,” according to their official website — showcased back-to-school essentials, which include bulletproof backpacks.

“I’m so tired of people talking about your prayers,” Biden said. “Dammit, we have to protect these kids, and we have to do it now.”

Biden vowed to take on the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun manufacturers should he win the presidency. He argued that he, as former-President Obama’s running-mate, had defeated the NRA twice before in 2010 and 2012, and we would do so again in 2020.

Biden switched gears and shifted the topic to President Trump. He argued as to the urgency of Trump losing his bid for re-election. “Eight years of Donald Trump will change the very character of who we are as a nation,” Biden warned, “and we cannot let that happen.”

The crowd, which had fallen silent and serious in the early part of Biden’s speech, grew animated.

“It’s not enough to defeat him, we have to beat him badly. No, the reason we do is not vindictiveness. It’s to make clear to future presidents that you cannot behave by spewing hate, dividing people,” Biden said.

“Hate only hides. It never goes away. It only hides,” Biden said. “And when the President of the United States says the things he said about people of color, about hispanics, about across the board … it breathes oxygen into air of those hate groups.”

Biden added, “We have a gigantic opportunity to turn this around.”

Following the rally, Biden attend two private fundraisers, one in West Los Angeles and another in Pacific Palisades. He is scheduled to make another campaign stop in Seattle next Friday.

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