Children of slain reporter: Our mother would have been with students rallying against gun violence in Annapolis
Our mother, Wendi Winters, would have supported the demonstration organized by students from St. Mary’s County calling for reforming gun laws being held Saturday in Annapolis: either she would have covered it, or shown up in solidarity.
Instead, she was murdered by a coward on June 28 along with four other of your colleagues.
As the surviving children of Wendi Winters, we feel many levels of commonality with these students. We understand some of what they are going through, and we are deeply frustrated that this community hasn’t even had time to heal from the shooting at their school before the next tragedy struck.
The history of our mom’s murderer was a matter of public record. He harassed, threatened, stalked and made himself known to be a danger.
No responsible gun owner could argue in good faith that he should have had access to a firearm. Yet, well-worn loopholes in the patchwork of state and federal law guaranteed that this coward could buy some sort of firearm legally and without submitting to a background check.
A former editor of this newspaper wrote that when faced years ago with what to do about this monster, he assessed that legal action against him would likely only make him more dangerous, and would fail to prevent his access to guns due to gaps in the law. We agree.
At this point, after all the years of debate, it seems clear our lawmakers intend these gaps, which undermine the entire intent of background check laws. Pitifully weak background check laws have been reduced to an administrative nuisance for responsible gun owners, while dangerous cowards like the man who murdered our mother have free access to buy guns. The laws ensure profits for gun manufacturers at the direct price of public safety.
That would-be murderers can legally purchase their arms despite the abundance of red flags should be a stain on this nation’s conscience. It should be felt as profound shame by the lawmakers who refuse to do anything about it, while good people continue to die.
Our mother’s courage saved lives on June 28. We all owe it to her to ensure that the gun reforms needed to save lives in the future are enacted.
To the students from St. Mary’s County, thank you for demanding a better future. Mom would be proud of you.
Winters Leigh Geimer
Phoenix Winters Geimer
Montana Winters Geimer
Summerleigh Winters Geimer