on June 12, 2016, an evil, deranged individual slaughtered 49 Americans and injured 53 others in Florida with a Sig Sauer MCX (AR-15 facsimile). On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was murdered by a .44 caliber derringer. President Kennedy was slain by a Mannlicher-Carcano Model 91/38. President Reagan was shot — nearly fatally — by a madman with a Rohm R.G.14.

Yet, in all but one of these atrocities, it is impossible to find anyone insensitive enough to offer a replica of the murder weapon as a “prize.” Imagine a lottery for a Mannlicher, “just like the one that killed JFK?” How about, “Sign up here for a chance at a Saturday Night Special — a duplicate of John Hinckley’s!” or “Like us on Facebook for the same sort of derringer as John Wilkes Booth.”

I cannot conceive of such cynical tastelessness, even in support of the Second Amendment. To attempt to manipulate voters in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy is not the behavior of someone whom I would entrust as a Congressman, when some of these youngsters have not even been buried yet.

This is a further manifestation of how self-aggrandizing, extremist politicos of both sides have demonized any bipartisan, democratic debate about gun management. Who and what benefits from that polarization?

We are Americans all; we need to respond to this massacre with what we do best in a crisis — robust dialogue and eventual consensus on an issue that impacts each of us and our children. To exploit such tragedy is unconscionable.

- Joe P. Skelly, Cinco Bayou