To the Editor:
Having decided to join the rally in Greenwich, CT, to protest Gov Christie’s veto of gun safety legislation, I thought it wise to get something to eat before making my appearance. Upon entering the Glory Days Diner on Greenwich’s main drag, I was surprised to discover that Tom Foley and Gov. Chris Christie were expected to visit there shortly. My carpool buddy and I immediately started discussing the question we would ask them.
When the expected guests arrived and began meandering their way around, I found it too difficult to stay seated, So I approached them. I asked the good governor if I could pose one question of him. When he replied that I could, I fired away, “How do you intend to reduce gun violence by deciding not to limit the number of rounds held by gun magazines?” His response was that it is a “mental health issue” and that the magazine bill got headlines but didn’t do “the hard work of solving our mental health problems.”
His response struck me as a familiar one used by supporters of an industry under fire for it’s callous disregard for the death and injuries caused by its products. If you have been following the GM ignition switch scandal, you’ll know that for nearly two decades the executives of that organization blamed everything but their own faulty cars for unexplained deaths in them. Gov. Christie is now playing out the same story for the gun industry. Rather than take responsibility for the deaths and injuries caused by guns, advocates for unfettered access to guns seek to deflect attention away from the gun to any other factor that contributes to violence – mental health, video games, movies, poverty, drugs or criminal culture.
This strategy will work for a while. However, in a country where deaths by guns will soon overtake those caused by the auto, the truth will eventually be widely accepted that to link guns to deaths caused by them will make for a safer community.
formerly of Sandy Hook
401A Heritage Village, Southbury July 22, 2014