Aug. 5, 2006 – Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg has called for an end to the gun violence that has plagued the Virgin Islands in recent months.
"I was deeply saddened to learn that another young man had lost his life this week," he said. "This was the 26th homicide this year in the territory. Most of those who have lost their lives had only just started to live. This is senseless and tragic for the families involved and for our community as a whole."
Donastorg said he felt compelled to make a public plea to those involved.
"They may not be listening, but I have something to say," Donastorg said. "Brothers, please lay your weapons down. Retaliation leads to more retaliation and violence only begets violence. The victims of these gun crimes all have parents that will spend their lives grieving for them. Many of them have children who will never know their fathers. These senseless killings must stop."
Donastorg said it was tragic for all involved as those that commit violent crimes will usually end up incarcerated.
"It breaks my heart to see how many lives are ruined through one thoughtless act," he said. "I understand that there is a degree of frustration in our community right now. The gap between those that have and those that don't has widened and many families are struggling. Parents are forced to work more than one job and aren't spending enough time at home. Our children are not being given the tools necessary to prosper."
Donastorg said that more vigilant law enforcement is only part of the equation.
"We must give equal attention to resolving the social problems at the root of these crimes," he said. "We will not have peace and security without justice."
The senator said he was determined to get illegal firearms off the streets and out of the hands of Virgin Islands youth.
"We must first ask ourselves where all these guns are coming from because we know they are not manufactured here." he said. "There is a great deal of attention paid to packages and ships leaving our islands, but the Federal Government has less concern about what is coming in. This must be addressed even if we have to petition Congress."
Donastorg said that it was long past time that Public Safety sponsors another gun amnesty program.
"I am going to strongly suggest that Public Safety immediately embark on a project to collect these illegal weapons during a month long amnesty program," he said. "I am prepared to offer any necessary legislation. The concept is very straightforward. We offer a payment and no questions asked for every firearm turned over to the police. When the amnesty period is over we step up enforcement of firearm laws. It is not the answer to all of our problems, but it certainly does help get these guns off the streets."
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