As this week’s gun control vote settles in, and as the President urges you toward angst and distress that compounds your already profound pain, I want to give you a different perspective that offers love, empathy and clarity.
But before I get to one syllable of the differences I--and millions of Americans-- have with your chosen reaction to the tragedy in your town and in your families, there is something that needs to be said.
It has been repeated countless times, and it should be, to all of you:
You are in our prayers every day. Those of us with children kiss them goodnight and wonder as you do why your children have been taken from you.
Your loss has sharpened our focus on valuing our own blessings, and it has energized our faith as we ask God for healing for you and your community.
These are wishes that transcend all politics. We will never forget you, your beautiful children, and the strength you and your neighbors showed under the worst of circumstances. You are an inspiration.
But it was unavoidable. Sooner or later, we were going to get to a very public debate about how we should respond to this latest tragedy involving a deeply disturbed individual with a gun.
That debate generally sends people into two camps. One contains 2nd Amendment devotees who assert a constitutional basis against any laws that infringe on the acquisition of arms by law-abiding citizens.
The other camp contains those who are willing to mitigate those liberties in the hope that future shootings can be curtailed.
The vast majority of you seem to belong to the more liberal second camp. For those of us who think that view is dangerously misguided, you present a daunting prospect. None of us wants to argue with a grieving parent over anything, much less a cause many of you have taken to heart as a kind of mission in tribute to your lost children.
I have wondered how many of you have been converted by your pain. Is Mark Mattioli the only one of you who recognizes that abridging gun rights will achieve nothing in preventing future Newtowns?
Maybe so. And maybe every one of the rest of you were gun control fans before the morning of December 14.
But if any of you had a core value shaken by personal struggle, you would not be the first. Look at Senator Rob Portman, who shelved his entire value system on the issue of gay marriage because he felt he owed such a surrender to his gay son.
Anyone enduring a pain like yours might well join you, grabbing guns from every hand because any device that would take their children is a thing they might believe no one should ever have.