Of Valentine’s Day, Love and Gun Laws

Columnist Heather Borden Herve takes a look at the new meaning Valentine’s Day will have for thousands in Connecticut this year.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I love you so much,
I’m headed to Hartford on Valentine’s Day to try and make the world a safer place for you.

Who would have ever thought that one of the ways I’d show my children how I love them is to try and change the world by raising my voice against gun violence. I wish this Valentine’s Day would simply be about packaging up store-bought valentines for them to bring into class and distribute to their classmates, or that all I’d have to do would be to make heart-shaped pancakes before sending them off to school.

But that was before, when sending children off to school meant that they would always come home safely. That was before Dec. 14, 2012, and the unimaginable events at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 20 sets of parents sent their 6- and 7-year-old children off to school and instead of coming home safely, those children and their heroic teachers were brutally shot and killed in their classrooms.

Life is now different and things have since changed. Like moms and dads and family and friends all over America, millions of us woke up on Dec. 15, 2012, as armchair activists no more. I’ll be marching on Thursday in Hartford with March for Change, as a love letter to my children, along with thousands of other like-minded Connecticut residents.

What we’re hoping to achieve is simple: to show state legislators that there are many of us who want safer gun laws enacted in Connecticut, and that it can be done so without sacrificing the Second Amendment. Universal background checks on ALL sales and transfers. A stronger assault-weapons ban. Limits on high capacity ammunition magazines.

The march starts at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol building in Hartford. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be there as well as legislators and elected officials from both political parties. There will be representatives from communities all over Connecticut who have experienced gun violence, as well as families of the Sandy Hook victims. Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, and Stephen Barton, a Connecticut resident who survived the Aurora, Colo., shooting massacre will speak as well.

It will be multi-faith, bi-partisan and, hopefully, peaceful. Because that is ultimately what we’re marching for — less violence, more peace and safety.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Guns kill.

My 10-year-old son will be marching at his first rally, joining many kids from around the state taking part. One of the activities leading up to Thursday’s rally was a fundraiser for a 9th grade social studies class from Bridgeport, which wanted to travel to Hartford in order to take part in the March for Change. These students have personal reasons for wanting to attend, as were clearly evident when they each answered the question that asked them how guns affected their lives:

"Guns have taken a close friend from me. Gun violence needs to stop because they are taking the lives of many innocent people and that is not fair. Guns are supposed to keep us safe, but they are doing the exact opposite," wrote one. 

"Guns actually have affected my privacy and freedom. For example, when I ask my mom if I can go to the movies and she says, "oh you can't go because they'll shoot you like the have done to the others." Then there is also the times when there are shoot-outs at Marina Village my mom will come into my room and sleep with me," answered another.

These children will learn that their voices and efforts can be put toward making change, toward impacting the legislative process, toward contributing toward democracy. Just as they’ve learned that there are harsh realities of life that happen to children — sadly, because of guns — so too will they be able to see that they are not powerless, and that there are adults who will advocate for them and help them learn how to advocate for themselves.

On the day of love, I will write a new love letter to my children, promising that a mother’s love knows no bounds, even when it means that protecting them means more than just kissing a scraped knee or making sure they bundle up against the cold. If it means we move mountains, if it means we march on Hartford, if it means we change history, then that’s what Valentine’s Day will now forever mean.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Onward to Hartford, because, simply,
I love you too much not to.

Mary Davis February 13, 2013 at 01:00 PM
Heather: You're wrong.. inanimate objects do not take any lives... they do not load themselves, carry themselves or aim themselves. Evil people did those things. Continuing the dialog to try to take away my inalienable rights to possess the weapon and accessories I feel are necessary to defend myself, my family, my neighbors and their children from threats either foreign or domestic can not be infringed. Banning the weapons and accessories you propose is unconstitutional. You need to march against violence in general, march for love and understanding, not taking away basic human rights from law abiding citizens. Banning a weapon based on its appearance is wrong and ineffective and makes us all less safe.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 13, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Heather, Wow, your writings are ridiculous. You offer nothing of substance, and continue to drone on and on about your disgust regarding the right for free Americans to bear arms like a trained parrot. You're a joke.
Wondering February 13, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Ah, but certain inanimate objects are better facilitators of mass murder than others.
Mary Davis February 13, 2013 at 07:18 PM
@Wondering.. evil will won't obey a law and will find a way. You are right that certain inanimate objects are better at doing their job than others.. and when the job is defending your family, your children, your country, your Constitution against threats... the civilian militia should NOT be denied the best inanimate object to carry out that job. As the police and military will be allowed to keep AR platform weapons with large capacity magazines.. so shall the civilian militia.
H. Ferguson February 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM
I just had an epiphany, Why don’t we ask our law makers to ban crime? Like the song says; “Its easy if you try…”
Rob Gianazza February 14, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Pathetic, she just doesn't get it. Can we request that Heather Borden Herve no longer have a column? She's ruining the Brookfield Patch by persistently pushing her agenda. How many more of her columns do we have to endure?
Wondering February 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Have you started your private army yet?
Donald Borsch Jr. February 14, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Ah, but certain inanimate objects are better facilitators of mass murder than others. ---------------- Yes, indeed. This is why madmen use explosives. We should ban any and all elements that can be used to construct such devices.
Mary Davis February 14, 2013 at 03:38 PM
@Wondering.. the civilian militia already exists... every law abiding gun owner is already a potential member. Disarming this militia or restricting their weapons is unconstitutional. "The fiercest serpent may be overcome by a swarm of ants." Isoroku Yamamoto
Lucia February 14, 2013 at 04:15 PM
We have lost our perspective on freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, personal reasonability and the government’s role in the loss of life and our pursuit of happiness. With over 88 deaths per day, 32,000 annually, we are supposed to be comforted by advocates stating “the death rate is less than the year before.” What about the fact that it is the number one cause of death for teenagers in the US? Idolized in movies and music, most advanced models can’t be used by the public and have no practical use. Manufacturers make street legal varieties which have no purpose other than to imitate versions that would get you arrested if used in public. Glorified in video games, targeted at our youth, they learn reckless behavior in the name of “sport.” We then wonder why their hobby is pushed to the limits of the laws. Yes, I’m talking about automobile deaths and the culture of cars. Americans are four times more likely to be killed in a car accident than murdered by a gun. Every day 88 Americans die in a car accident and 27 Americans die because of drinking and driving, still more than the daily murder rate from guns. Welcome to America where our freedom and pursuit of happiness comes with an acceptable death rate from our liberties, hobbies and vices. Statistically, annual deaths from cigarette smoking are 443,000 and preventable medical errors kill over 100,000. There were 333,000 abortions by Planned Parenthood, a life every 94 seconds.
Lucia February 14, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Part II: Alcohol related accidents combined with alcohol related diseases are 75,000 deaths annually. So automobile deaths at 32,000 or murders with guns at 8,500 are the low end of things we love and kill us. One troubled football player kills his girlfriend in a shooting and the discussion turns to guns. One troubled football player kills his teammate in a car crash while on a suspended license in a high end vehicle capable of exceeding 150 MPH and the national discussion is? Try putting “Player & DUI” into Google and you will get 21 million hits. Is the fact that state and local governments collect over $23 billion in cigarette and liquor taxes annually have something to do with the tolerance? Let’s not eliminate our freedoms until we first discuss personal responsibility, mental disease and evil people amongst us. The gun debate needs a proper perspective; one that acknowledges that semi-automatic weapon technology from the turn of the last century is not the reason why the mentally ill or criminals decide to murder. Nor will the features of any gun turn law abiding citizens into serial killers.
Lucia February 14, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Part III: In 2011, there were 323 murders with rifles verses 496 with clubs and hammers. More will die in four days of car crashes than a year’s rifle murders, but politicians are trying to modify features on guns. When you hear a politician say, “how many more must die” ask them from what? If they are not willing to take on tobacco, alcohol or challenge the safety of clubs and hammers and look at vehicle safety and the rights of the unborn, you know they are just seizing the media moment. And then we know they really don’t care who dies, they only care about the next election.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 14, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Donald Borsch Jr. February 15, 2013 at 03:41 AM
This should excite the gun-grabbers. Missouri Democrats (wow, imagine that) have introduced legislation that would confiscate certain privately and legally owned firearms. http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills131/biltxt/intro/HB0545I.HTM Long Live the Republic, indeed. You Socialist Democrats are pushing it too far.


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