This was posted on my Facebook this morning. As some may know, VP Joe Biden came to my hometown Danbury, CT for a conference on guns with our state and local politicians.
A Tale of Two Meetings
Last night, my daughter and I attended Congresswoman Esty's Town Hall Meeting in Waterbury. The pro gun extremists showed up en masse, compelling me to stand up and speak (actually my daughter made me). And, while Congresswoman Esty was excellent, I left the meeting discouraged. I began to question whether our efforts would be undermined by the minority of gun owners who hide behind the Second Amendment and ignore the Supreme Court's decision in Heller making it clear that the Second Amendment is not without limitations. But, I also knew that no matter how hard the fight, I had an obligation to my daughters, to my Town and to all of our children to persevere. We all must share that obligation, and, together, we must overcome.
Today, all doubt was obliterated, as I had the privilege of attending the Gun Violence Forum in Danbury. We will succeed because of the strong leadership of the people in that room: Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congresswoman Esty, Congressman Himes, Vice President Biden, all of the Mayors, all of the 1st Selectmen, all of the Chiefs of Police, and the multitude of grassroots leaders uniting people from all over the country. The real Connecticut Effect was on display in full force.
Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy and Congresswoman Esty all led interesting panel discussions. They and others, including Governor Malloy, spoke passionately about their resolve to put all of their political capital on the table to press for meaningful gun safety legislation. The Vice President proclaimed that there is a "moral price to be paid for inaction. If you're concerned about your political survival you should be concerned about the survival of our children. I believe the price will be paid politically by those who refuse to act, who refuse to step forward."
Despite the incredible political firepower in the room, the stars of the day were Newtown's Pat Llodra, and Chris and Lynn McDonnell. They garnered the most respect and received the longest and most frequent standing ovations, and deservedly so. When our world went dark, Pat led us with poise and courage. And, now she is leading us again in this quest to make our world safe for our children: "Never again will we accept the ideological posturing that the changes needed are too complex and too difficult to achieve. Never again will we look the other way. It is time to act." Chris McDonnell talked about moral responsibility. Lynn McDonnell spoke about her promise to Grace: "After that day I made a promise to her that I would be the voice. We promised Grace that we would be fearless in our efforts."
I am so proud to be from Newtown, to be able to not only have Chris, Lynn and Pat as my neighbors and leaders, but to count them as my friends. As Vice President Biden said to Chris and Lynn and the families of the victims: "You have a hell of a lot more courage than I do." He's right. And, because of their courage, this time will be different.
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