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Ending Gun Violence for All

Patch Back's Lisa Bigelow wonders, will the results of Connecticut's gun control legislative efforts help all of our citizens, or just some?

The bipartisan task force on gun violence held a public hearing on Monday in Hartford during which Newtown victims’ family members, gun rights advocates, members of the public and elected representatives testified on upcoming legislation. 

The testimony was sobering. And it revealed an audience of constituents tired of violence, frustrated with the slow pace of legislative change and deeply, deeply divided over the rights of citizens to own (or not to own) assault-style weapons.

As I watched, what struck me most were not the heartbreaking words of the victims. It wasn’t the guarded words of the gun club member or the angry words of the control advocate.

Instead, it was the gentlemen from the high populations centers who deal with the slow, bloody drain of handgun violence every single day. They said, where have you been, Bipartisan Task Force? We’ve been begging for help for years.

They rightly stated that these current efforts, though certainly well intended, won’t do a thing to help victims of violence in the communities of Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. Therefore, I will repeat what needs repeating: any gun control legislation must address more than what is versus what isn’t an “assault” weapon.

It must be about more than just magazine capacity, too. It must even be about more than figuring out a way to incorporate better psychological care into our current health system. Instead, let us strive to end gun violence in all its forms so that our friends in urban areas win the same right to safety that those in quieter locales usually enjoy.

Alert: I’m going to ask the question that no one in the media seems to be asking. Many of you will disagree. And for once, I truly hope you do. And I not only hope you disagree, I hope you write in and tell me why I’m wrong (respectfully, of course… I didn’t enjoy being called a “stupid” “leftist” last week, even though my kids got a huge kick out of it).

Although many gun violence statistics can be twisted to suit a variety of needs the data on urban areas with high crime rates are clear: the victims are most often minorities. These minority victims are far outnumber the victims of mass shootings, who tend to be white. To me, it is disappointingly clear that the nationwide effort to “do something” about guns has everything to do with affluence and its favorite cousin, race.

Tell me, where are the marches when young children are murdered on the streets of Chicago, or New Haven, or Washington, or Detroit? Let me be clear: I do not question for one moment the sincerity or intent of the folks from March for Change or CAGV or hell, even the NRA. When an event such as Newtown occurs in our own backyard it is only natural that the local response should be strong and heartfelt and pure.

But I do have serious questions about the value we as a society place on human life. Or, at the very least, I question the validity of developing a legislative response to a societal threat that is directly proportional to the consequences of one action, as occurred in Newtown, versus developing a legislative response to what occurs every day to people of all colors.

Let’s work together to make all forms of violence end, as one reader so aptly wrote to me several days ago. Let’s help our legislators craft a bill that will regulate private gun sales so common criminals can’t get them easily. Let’s make universal background checks strict and repeating. Let’s develop and enforce safe storage laws and train administrators and teachers in effective self defense tactics.

Most of all, let us remember the words written in the hearts of every American: all men are created equal.

David Renton January 29, 2013 at 01:47 PM
The shootings dramatized and massively reported by the press are those like Newtown which are indeed tragic. A ban on assault rifles inspired by the national anti-gun activists will do nothing to stop that kind of violence. One 20 round clip or four 5 round clips matter little. A "nice" looking gun shoots a bullet the same as a "scary" looking assault rifle. These kinds of shootings are virtually all done by mentally ill people. Who else would do such a thing. In this case the mother was absolutely to blame. Teaching her mentally disturbed son to shoot and leaving weapons where he could get at them is criminal. Guns must be locked up. 99.9% of gun owners are well aware of this and keep their guns in safe storage. We must report and monitor kids and adults who could take these kinds of actions. We have to keep guns out of their hands. Enforce the current laws. Most loss of life by guns however is in the inner city like Chicago's with draconian gun laws! There you see the result of the devastation of the family. They need a massive focus on rebuilding the family, getting kids off the streets and putting them back in school and the church. This is obvious to all but the rabid anti-gun lobby.
Jimmy Pursey January 29, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Your Second Amendment rights do not trump my right not to be shot. And no amount of blameshifting is going to change that. You people had your chance to show us how military grade weapons can be owned "responsibly"...and you failed. Game over. Suck it up.
Lisa Bigelow January 29, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Thanks to all for reading and writing in. Lisa
Ken D. January 29, 2013 at 05:21 PM
We've long heard that 2 wrongs dont make a right. So, by stating the obvious that there has been a cultural breakdown in family and respect for life does not mean that people shouldnt look at things like a guns throughput / capacity. Both should be fair and open items to discuss. Neither should be taboo. We should also stop making silly statements about state or city gun laws. Its silly because #1 you can never know if the law prevented even one death and #2 having laws based on a dotted line on a map is like having a clean water law for your part of the river downstream from the PCB factory.
Larry Samuel January 29, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Jimmy, The Second amendment insures you the right to protect yourself and family against those would shot you. Because the founding fathers knew that it is not possible to stop all evil. People Murder People, not guns. What is missing is the reliance on the God and His Ten Comandments, which has led us to a disfunctional society. One out of 2 kids will grow up in a broken home because people love themselves more than family. Urban areas 75% of kids have no father around, and you wonder why there is no discipline, anarchy and murder. We need true justice as a deterant, the death penalty for convicted homicides. But even that is not enough to end all Murder. We need to get the the root of the evil that causes murder, whether it is a drunken rage, driver, theft or hate and whether it is by gun, car, Hammer, bat, knife...... Lood at the Murders in Webster, NY. Yes he used a gun but he never should have been parolled for Murdering His grandmother with a hammer.
Larry Samuel January 29, 2013 at 07:07 PM
We need to get the the root of the evil that causes murder, whether it is a drunken rage, driver, theft or hate and whether it is by gun, car, Hammer, bat, knife...... Look at the Murders in Webster, NY. Yes he used a gun but he never should have been parolled for Murdering His grandmother with a hammer. The founding fathers knew you could not stop Murder through legislation so they provided The Second Amendment ensures the individual the right to protect their families and themselves from other who would take away thier inalienable rights.
Wondering January 29, 2013 at 09:32 PM
How about we just focus on getting the Mass out of Mass Murder?
Steven DeVaux January 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Change our form of government is one. Re-discover family life is another (the entire family). You're right about the founding fathers - they knew you couldn't legislate morality and you couldn't stop crazy through legislation. The best society could do is deal with it less society give up god given rights.
Steven DeVaux January 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM
You can't eliminate gun violence without eliminating the root cause - all violence. That includes bullying, abortion, wife beating, emotional abuse, road rage...the list goes on and on. Eliminates the mechanism doesn't eliminate the behavior.
Bobby Caselnova February 03, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I own "military grade" weapons, and I'm responsible with them. Nobody has the right to shoot you, so tell me how anyone's second amendment rights mess with your right to not be shot? Buy a gun and carry it if you're so scared of being shot. Everyone knows there are sick people in this world, and it's no longer safe to go out in public. You can never be 100% sure that you are safe, unless you lock yourself in a bunker for the rest of your life. Because of that fact, I choose to carry a "military grade" weapon in my car wherever I go. Instead of complaining about it, which will do absolutely nothing even if more laws are passed, I took my safety into my own hands. If you're so terrified of our world, buy a gun and protect yourself. Don't depend on the police or government, or anybody except yourself for that matter, to protect you, because they can't. Also, I forget the exact numbers I read, but you're a lot more likely to be shot by police than by anybody else. That includes terrorists, legal gun owners, and everybody else except police. What a statement for America!
Dr. Robin Appleby February 03, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Lisa, you said "let's help our legislators craft a bill that will regulate private gun sales so common criminals cant get them so easily." Lisa, a friend of mine lives in Bridgeport. She can bring you to a place where you can easily get ANY weapon you want for cash....no paperwork, no background check, no fingerprints, no waiting period...just cash. How did Prohibition work out ? How is the War on Drugs working out ? How is GUN-FREE Zones working out ? How about the WAR on POVERTY ? New York has huge taxes on cigarettes...tell me what is the percentage of bootleg cigs in N.Y.? Liberals are well meaning, sweet and very naive. They live in a place of rainbows and unicorns. Thousands of liberals got depressed after seeing the movie AVATAR....as they wanted to go live on that planet. Lisa....tell me, everytime the liberals try to regulate human behavior.....how does it work out ?
Donald Borsch Jr. February 03, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Bobby, Laws are not meant to protect. Laws are meant to punish. All laws follow this premise: "If you do__________, and we say that____________ is illegal, then this:_______________________ is what will happen to you according to the law." None of us can legislate morality. We can only create laws to punish immorality. I have guns because I can. I have used guns in the military, and not just for going to the range. I am comfortable with guns, but I know what can be accomplished with them. I do not and can not rely on anyone else to provide for the safety of my family. 911 is not that fast.
Steven DeVaux February 04, 2013 at 11:48 AM
If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life. If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect. If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him. If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.. Democrats demand that those they don't like be shut down. If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his. If a Republican reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh. A Democrat will delete it because he's "offended".

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