Open Letter to Florida Senator Rene Garcia

You aren’t innocent in this either. I will see you at the Capitol too.

Florida Senators Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, (SCOTT KEELER | Times Florida )
Florida Senators Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, (SCOTT KEELER | Times Florida )
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Florida – -( On March 8, 2017 you stated that you’d holdout for more tax payer funding for mental health. You said that in this very article; Want Rene Garcia’s vote? Start talking mental health.?

Senator Garcia, you said the following:

“I can’t find myself voting for any bill that does not have a mental health component to it,” he said. “Making sure that we invest more money into the system, making sure that people have access and treatment abilities. That is my main focus.”

The article states “Garcia has become even more concerned about widespread gun access, particularly among people in a mental health or substance abuse crisis who might be more likely to commit a violent crime.”

“Every time we have this issue of guns, we have this debate in a vacuum,” Garcia said. “And we always forget that at least when you look at the massacres that have happened across this nation and here in Florida, a lot of the common denominator has been a lack of mental health diagnosis or a lack of treatment.” – Senator Rene Garcia; March 8, 2017 Tampa Bay Times.

You are holding our rights to defend ourselves from the very mentally unstable you want to treat. And you’re doing this by withholding votes for more tax dollars. I can almost say Senator, that you’re misguided but have a good heart. But in reality that isn’t the truth.

Here’s an idea Senator. Instead of withholding your vote and using innocent Floridians’ lives as the bargaining chip. How about you crack open that dusty American Civics text book in your office and read the Constitution.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It doesn’t mean that you can withhold and restrict citizens from having the ability to defend themselves. Virginia Tech was done by someone with mental issues. What did the shooter do? He chained the exits to the building and calmly went and killed his victims. But you’d rather restrict the law abiding from being able to defend themselves. If one of the victims was your child, wouldn’t you want to give them a gun to defend themselves in that situation if you could?

Senator Garcia; you gladly restrict the law abiding from defending themselves by continuing with the failed logic of “Gun Free Zones”. Over and over it has been proven that criminals and the mentally unstable don’t care about signs, placards, and window graphics saying that guns aren’t allowed. The only people that are disarmed are the law abiding.

At FSU, Mr. Nathan Scott along with two fellow students were shot by Myron May. A 31 year old mentally disturbed individual. Mr. Scott was a lawfully licensed concealed carry permit holder. Mr. Scott was disarmed by restrictions you are defending. On November 20, 2014 Mr. Scott was working on campus as a library and museum assistant and his desk was outside the security barriers to the Strozier Library where would-be mass killer Myron May opened fire. If Mr. Scott was armed he could have engaged the shooter instead of being shot and having to flee.

“After he was shot, he ran inside to warn others,” Mr. Scott’s friend Daniel Francis told the Tallahassee Democrat. “All of his friends and I were super-proud that he would be shot and further risk himself to go warn others.” – November 21, 2014, Tallahassee Democrat.

Mr. Scott was injured and hospitalized, a second student was treated and released on scene, and a third, biomedical engineering student Ronny Ahmed, is paralyzed. If Mr. Scott wasn’t disarmed by the laws you’re defending right now. Ronny Ahmed, could possibly not be paralyzed.

On March 7, 2017; Ms. Shayna Lopez-Rivas and I met you in your office. Ms. Lopez-Rivas is the victim of a sexual assault and rape on FSU’s campus. She told you in person her story of the violent attack on her and how she was unable to defend herself because of the restrictions you are defending today. Ms. Lopez-Rivas was within walking distance of FSU’s police station and she was raped at knife point.

Maybe you need to hear Ms. Lopez-Rivas’ story again and she can say it far better than I in her own words. “I was already raped once off campus my freshman year of college, but this time I used pepper spray. This time I ran, heading for those blue lights staggered around campus to signal the police I was in danger. I did everything right but when he pulled a knife I stopped fighting. Instinct told me to cooperate if I didn’t want to get stabbed to death, and here I am today—sitting at Starbucks, simultaneously trying to remember the exact details and forget this ever happened.” Ms. Lopez-Rivas further has said, “While President Thrasher and university officials would have you believe that I am not defenseless, and even, that I am safe on campus, I would beg to differ. I already used pepper spray once; do you want to know how that ended for me? I was left shaking and crying, half naked on campus grounds, with cut marks all over my body. That’s what pepper spray did for me.”

And what did you say Senator when she told you what happened? When she asked you if you’d support Campus Carry and allow women to truly defend themselves? You said ‘NO’. Once again…. you told a rape and sexual assault victim that she can’t defend herself.

You claim to be a champion on equality and fairness. I guess to you, fairness only applies to the criminals and rapists. Do you support campus rapists instead of campus self defense?

I can say this, Former Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda is a far better elected official than you are. She was herself the victim of a violent sexual assault. The difference is she had her gun with her and was able to use it to defend herself and she herself said “I understand that this bill is not about sexual assault or sexual battery,” and “But it is about self-defense and I would vote for every woman to be able to have that tool if they so desired.” Amazingly her luck was that she was in her residence when the attack happened and it happened to be off campus. If she was on campus it might have been an issue altogether different. Even she said that. “I think my life might’ve had a different trajectory –a different path, and I might’ve been a different person today had that rape been perpetrated.” But once again, the fates had the attack happen off campus and Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda was armed and able to defend herself.

But you Senator, you feel that women should be disarmed on Campuses. College and University Campuses aren’t just classrooms. They’re places of employment like Starbucks, Book Stores, and Offices. They’re homes to thousands of adult students State wide. Students working long hours in libraries studying or long hours working off campus and walk back to their dorms in the dead of night and are the victims of muggings, rapes, and violent assaults. Employees, Faculty, and Staff that work on Campus do the same. Many of them go to their offices long before sunrise and walk to their cars in darkly lit parking lots long after the majority of students are done and the sun has set. They too are victims of violent predators. But again Senator, you feel that they don’t warrant the right to defend themselves.

You represent Hialeah; the City of Progress. Well Senator, you aren’t representing that progress. Your actions aren’t progressing women’s rights. You aren’t progressing women’s equality. You aren’t progressing women’s safety. All you’re progressing is a culture of weakness and crime. You’re progressing a rapists and muggers. Hialeah is a wonderful place. But you aren’t a wonderful part of it.

Senator, you have given me the determination and drive to fight for my fellow citizens. I go to the Capitol as a private citizen, I have to burn my vacation time to be there. But I will be there. I will exercise my 1st Amendment Rights to defend my fellow citizens’ 2nd Amendment Rights. You have made me proactive to the point that I can actually thank you. You aren’t term limited and I am running for the 2018 Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association. The NRA gave you an ‘A’ rating. When I win, not if, but when I win that election. I will make sure that the NRA knows the truth about you sir and I’ll make sure that they strip you of that rating.

Luis Valdes