An Open Letter To Chris Bowers of Daily Kos
The following e-mail was sent to Chris Bowers of the Daily Kos this afternoon. It is in response to an e-mail he sent around after the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
December 18, 2012
We have both been elected as members of the State Committees of our respective political parties and states. You were a member of the Democratic State Committee of Pennsylvania and I serve as a member of the Republican State Committee of New Jersey.
We are also both bloggers, Americans, human beings, and so on. In short, more joins us than separates us.
An e-mail you sent around recently caught my eye. The subject line reads: “We can’t stay silent and just hope this will never happen again.” The issue you were writing about was the murders that took place last week in Newtown, Connecticut.
I agree with you.
In the body of your e-mail you wrote: “Please click here to sign our petition asking President Obama to lead the way in a serious national conversation about gun control.”
I agree with you that we need “a serious national conversation”, but “gun control” is only a part of that conversation. I believe the real issue that faces us is the cultural violence that affects so much of American society.
You wrote that “a major shift in favor of increased gun safety regulations is taking place”, but seriously Chris, do you believe that any “gun safety regulation” short of confiscation would have prevented what this emotionally deranged young man did? Under New Jersey law he committed a felony by stealing a firearm from his mother that was legally owned by her.
How do you propose to stop people from stealing firearms unless it is by the total elimination of all firearms? And do bans actually work? If the bans on cannabis, cocaine, or a few dozen other “banned” substances that should not in theory be available are anything to go by, it is very doubtful.
Then there is the moral hazard that our nation (yes, mine and yours) would face if we opened up the Bill of Rights for pruning. And think of the process of rounding up all those firearms: House to house searches, arrests, imprisonment - think of the cost to build all those prisons for all of those formerly law abiding citizens.
In your e-mail you wrote: “We have to stand up to the political power of the NRA, and we have to do it right now while their support is weakest.” Scoring points when a political opponent is down? I hope that is not what you are about.
Chris, if you want to have a real, honest and open discussion about the violence that besets our society, let’s have it. Put everything on the table: Gun control, the marketing of violence to children, the criminal justice system, addiction - everything.
Let’s put together a few of us at a location in Philadelphia, where this whole experiment of ours started, and let’s have a discussion. Not a debate, mind you, a discussion. Nobody is going to be scoring points, no cheering section. If there are any “points” to be made it will be in the courtesy we extend to other points of view and the charitable license in opening our minds and in actually listening and considering what others have to say.
Let’s meet on the level. Let’s discover what we can agree on. Maybe even decide to do something about it.
Please get back to me on this so I can line up a location and time that will be acceptable to you.
Thank you for your concern.
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