Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear Senator,
Today I stood in front of Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue at his park in downtown Charlotte and thought about you. Born in 1929, assassinated in 1968, where would he be today? Would he be standing beside you, or with all of us, outside your office?

Senator, you can do the right thing today. It may cost you the support of some of your base. But, you will be doing the right thing.

Gun violence. How many Americans are dead today because of this country’s failure to protect Americans? The last I heard was that 85 Americans a day are killed by guns. And 6 unarmed educators died in Sandy Hook shielding their students with their bodies. And we talk about the hero’s that stand up for us at war. Can you imagine? Making a split second decision and choosing to hold someone else’s child close, rather than running for your life, and dying with just the hope that a child might live?

And you voted against universal background checks?

Why are you choosing to equip mass murderers with assault weapons and large capacity magazines? And allow weapons to be sold without basic background checks? Americans who are legally allowed to own weapons can pass a background check. A father needs to be able to give his son a rifle without a background check? What if the son can’t pass a background check? Can a father give his son a car without a transfer of registration? 

The 2nd Amendment was passed in order to allow us the weapons we needed in order to fight the British in case they returned, prevent the slaves that some held in bondage from revolting or escaping, use to defend our ancestors from killed by the Native Americans who objected to having their lands stolen and for hunting.

We may need a 2nd Amendment in today’s world in order to defend our homes from invasion by criminals, but, we do not need assault weapons, large capacity magazines or the freedom to transfer firearms secretly, either to family members, or to criminals. 

Americans do not use assault weapons or large capacity magazines to defend themselves or hunt. Mass murderers are the only people who need these items. And they are the only people that your vote represented. 

In this country, in 2013, we have no shortage of issues for you to address. You can educate your constituents, take the right side of the issue and explain to them that the conservative talking points and downright lies that they’ve been reading and hearing are wrong. Half of your constituents will agree with you. Half may listen and learn and understand why they are wrong. And you may lose their votes. But, unlike members of the United States House of Representatives, whose districts have been gerrymandered to prevent the election of a challenger, you are not going to be victimized by your base. You represent the State of North Carolina and you are protected by the numbers.

You don’t have to worry about your primary. You do, however, have to worry about history. 

Where will your statue be built?

You can stand for Americans. Or you can stand for mass murderers and the gun manufacturer’s lobby.

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