December 14, 2012

Did you watch 60 Minutes Sunday night?  It was about the parents of the children slaughtered in Newtown in December.  They were unbelievably reasonable and composed and realistic.

Here is what they want.  Right away.  They want straw purchase laws to be seriously enforced.  (A “straw purchase” is when someone buys a gun for someone who cannot legally own one.)   They want a law to require background checks.  They want large capacity magazines to be illegal.

They want their babies back.

These brave people are not talking about the mental health component right now.  We Americans are so dopey that we have made HIPAA laws that protect this information no matter what.  God forbid we should use common sense.  Nope.  Not us.

These parents don’t want your shotgun.  They don’t want your handgun.   They don’t even want your semi-automatic rifle like the Bushmaster .223 used to kill their kids.  They just don’t want you to have the 30-round magazines that Adam Lanza had.  More common sense.

And polls show most Americans agree with them.  These are three very sensible expectations.  But here is the problem.  Not only is the NRA lobbying against these three things, who can possibly explain this, but the NRA is fighting to prevent any new gun laws from coming to a vote.

This is a big problem, folks.  And it looks like they might succeed.  And this is wrong.  Really, really wrong.  I have been on boards before.  I am on one now.  Sometimes things have passed on these boards with which I did not agree.  However, we were all elected to these boards.  We were given one vote each.  We voted.  Occasionally what I wanted to happen did not.  That’s OK.  Boards are democracies.  We live in a democracy.  We vote for the things we prefer.

Remember President Obama talking about Newtown in his State of the Union address earlier this year?  He said, and I’m not sure of his exact words, but something like” these people deserve a vote”.  You bet they do.  I noted this comment at the time and didn’t exactly understand what he meant.  I do now.

If you’re interested, you can watch 60 Minutes on youtube or probably – maybe even OnDemand.  It may break your heart.  But your heart will not be broken as badly as the mother who said the last thing she does each night before getting in bed, is to kiss the urn on her dresser that contains her son’s ashes.  And then she prays she will dream about her son so she can see him again.  And sometimes she does.

But if you really want to do something, the right thing – send an e-mail to your Senator and Congressional Representative and tell them you want them to vote.  Many of them have taken NRA money so they are afraid.  But that’s too frigging bad.  Time to man-up.  Or woman-up, as the case may be.

I keep saying and saying this – We have to try.  And like all good democracies, we will compromise. And these parents’ three requests – they are a good compromise.   I know some people think I am anti-gun but those people would be completely wrong.  I don’t own a gun but have been around guns my whole life.  I can shoot a gun.  Rather well, I might add.  I have never used a gun under duress.  But put me on the shooting range and I can aim at the targets and I will hit them.  Right where I’m supposed to.

It is very easy to contact Congress.  I am attaching a link here.  You can e-mail, call on the phone, or you can take pen to paper or type a letter on your computer and mail it.  All the information can be found in this link.

So let’s all do this.  Take a minute and tell them you want them to vote.  You want to see a vote.  You want to see their vote.   It’s the right thing to do.

One of the fathers on 60 Minutes said something like this.  Go to your mirror, look yourself in the eye and say this can never happen again.  This can never happen to me.  Try to believe it even if it is not true.  It will happen again.

And I know and everyone reading this knows this is a fact.

We can’t solve all the gun problems with laws but we must make an effort.  We must try.  These babies, children, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, grandmothers, wives, mothers deserve it.  They deserve for us to try.

Newtown paper angels


6 thoughts on “December 14, 2012

  1. Thanks for ruining my make-up! I agree with you 100%. I pray (and I am not religious) everyday that my son is safe at school. These parents are unbelievable – I know that they know they must remain calm so that congress and the public will take them seriously. They don’t want to appear like a crazy, hysterical group -even though they have every right to. I will do my best. Thanks for writing this.

  2. I’d like to make two points about contacting ones legislators, one good point and one sad point. The good one is that, based on my 18 years as a non-partisan staff attorney for the Connecticut legislature, I believe it works. It really does make a difference. Susan, I should tell you some stories, and with your writing skills maybe you could make them interesting and include them in a blog about contacting legislators. The sad point is that on the federal level, that bedrock of democracy that everyone’s vote counts equally, doesn’t apply. Here in Montana we have one US Senator for roughly every 700,000 people. In Connecticut you have one US Senator for every two million people. Fortunately, both of our senators are Democrats and are reasonable people. Unfortunately, one of them, Bacchus, is up for reelection and has to be very careful about how he votes on gun control.

    • I have never understood this “2 Senators per state” crap. I’m assuming it made sense at the time it was created as there wasn’t the huge difference in populations. Red states with few people have the same number of Senators as Blue states with huge populations. Is there even a chance we can change this broken system?? And, why can’t people understand that when the 2nd Amendment was written, the authors would have had a hard time with the concept of assault rifles or high capacity magazines. Things they couldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams. And the whole meaning of the amendment is twisted to what people want it to mean. And they want it to mean a “gun free for all”. As many as you want, of any type you want, with unlimited ammo and no restrictions of any type. (Just in case the British come knocking at your door, of course)

  3. Susan, you put your point across very well. It was a stated fact that 11 children had the chance to escape because Lanza had to reload. An automatic gun and a large clip to me is not a sport hunting gun. I have members of my family that hunt for a sport.
    The one thing that I want to say is “until you walk in their shoes, believe me you don’t know how they feel. I have walked in their shoes fifteen years ago, the loss was not a violent one, but believe me it hurts. It would, I suppose, hurt even worse to think you little boy,girl, grandaughter or grandson, had to die so violently. You have stated this all so good. Politicians can’t even imagine how these families feel. there I said it and I am glad. I had this on my mind ever since Dec. 14th and never said anything. Again Sue, thanks.

  4. I saw the report and still can’t even think about it without tearing up. Heart-wrenching. It’s hard to stay positive about America when you see and hear some of the things we do from our supposed representatives in Congress. The American people WANT these controls. But, Republicans are not willing to listen if it means crossing the NRA (who really don’t represent their members, just the gun manufacturers) and losing their evil money.

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