Dear Senator Portman: Regarding Gun Control...

Don't ask why it's taken so long for me to write. Stipulated that I've been involved in "clicktivist" petitions about gun control and perhaps written my representatives here and there in the wake of past mass shootings. Somehow, this last incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High just GOT to me. That and learning that Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman has an "A" rating with the National Rifle Association pretty well broke my camel's back.

In any case, the following just went out both to Portman's DC address by snail mail and through his Senate website.


Senator Portman:

Ordinarily when writing a letter such as this, I would duplicate it across all my representatives.  In this case, however – in the case of the issue of gun control – I am writing solely to you, because frankly your record sticks out like a sore thumb.  Your opposition to any form of gun control or regulation, particularly in the face of tragedies which started long before Sandy Hook and continue with Parkland, Florida, staggers belief.

Worse, it is illogical considering both the Second Amendment and technological progress since that amendment was written.  At the time the Constitution was penned, it took a skilled marksman half a minute or longer to fire, reload, and fire again.  In the 21st century, that same action with a semiautomatic weapon takes mere milliseconds to accomplish.  The threat of a single musket 250 years ago is miniscule by comparison with modern-day firepower such as an AR-15, yet our government acts as though those weapons are equivalent when they are clearly not.  Our patterns of thought regarding firearms and the law MUST change, or this trend will likely continue unabated.

As regards change in thought, I know you are capable of such.  When your son, Will came out as gay, your attitude towards the LGBT community changed, because all at once you had skin in that game.  With that as backdrop, would it take him or someone else close to you being a victim of yet another shooting before you can recognize that laws written two centuries ago are not adequate to the current status quo?

Someone once said, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”  We have had a horrendous tattoo of mass shooting after mass shooting, and nothing other than feckless “thoughts and prayers” have been offered to salve the grief of those who have had to face those tragedies head-on.  What we require right now is strong, courageous ACTION to stave off what seems to be becoming a new and unacceptable normal.  Please don’t blow me off as another gun control nut, and please don’t respond with a condescending form letter, expressing your opposition, while more children and adults die from gun violence.  I’m asking you to be part of the change this country needs, and DO something, before one or more of your constituents becomes a headline.


Loren C. Miller, Jr.

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Comment by Loren Miller on February 21, 2018 at 8:50am

Michael, I see the behavior of some gun owners and I keep coming back to that TheraminTrees quote:

If we’re to grow up as a species, we need to address the systems that infantilize us.

It's like a child, sucking its thumb because that's the only thing that will calm him, except that the child is now an adult, still clinging fanatically to a regressive habit that no longer serves him and unwilling to acknowledge his problem. It's a terrifying picture, but one we still have to confront.

Comment by Michael Penn on February 21, 2018 at 1:18am

In my younger days I was a gun advocate. I must have thought I was a TV cowboy. I had a sixgun and could do all the shooting and gun tricks. That was a long time ago and these modern school shootings are a different animal.

I can see no reason for American civilians owning an assault weapon. You can't deer hunt with them but some asshole will immediately tell you he is a collector. So what? In posts all over the Internet I see people defending the AR-15 saying it is a weapon used in shooting competitions. Really now. Was the recent Florida school shooting a "competition?" 

It's time they gave up the doubletalk and we put the ban and restrictions back on assault weapons. Get the hypocrites out of government and maybe save some lives.

Comment by Loren Miller on February 20, 2018 at 8:06am

By way of bumping this a bit, as well as laying down some additional data, it would seem as though the Assault Weapons Ban which was enacted in 1994 and allowed to expire in 2004 actually made a difference, despite what the NRA and too many Republicans want to assert.  Both the number of incidents AND the number of fatalities DROPPED during those ten years ... then ballooned back up beyond even the previous figures once the ban fell out of force.

Check it out:

Thanks to Steve Shives who found the above and posted it as a part of his Facepalm Five this week.



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