Liberal And Conservative Media Claim Newtown Parents
Parents of the Newtown shooting victims testified this week before a Connecticut task force addressing gun violence and gun control, and commentors on both sides of the debate are claiming the grieving parents as their own.
Glenn Beck‘s The Blaze highlights Mark Mattioli, whose six-year-old son James was killed in the shooting. Mattioli said that enforcing current gun laws, addressing mental health, and “civility” are the solutions to gun violence:
“I think there’s much more promise for a solution in identifying, researching and creating solutions along the lines of mental health issues — I think there’s a lot of work that can be done there,” he said. ”I believe the solution may not be as easy to implement as I might hope, but it’s a simple concept. We need civility across our nation.”
Meanwhile, The Huffington Post highlighted Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son Jesse was also killed in the attack. Heslin was heckled by gun supporters as he testified in favor of a ban on assault weapons, like the AR-15 used by Newtown gunman Adam Lanza.
“I still can’t see why any civilian, anybody in this room in fact, needs weapons of that sort. You’re not going to use them for hunting, even for home protection,” Heslin said.
Pro-gun activists responded by calling out: “Second Amendment!”
Neither article mentions Newtown parents supporting the opposing viewpoint.
This is an exaggerated example of how every event in the gun control debate gets mined for evidence and claimed by both sides. Gun supporters blame every act of violence on the mentally ill, criminals, or the absence of a “good guy” with a gun to stop the shooter; gun control advocates point to easy access to guns and outsized firepower in civilian hands.
Debaters can’t even agree on what the Constitution says about the matter. The gun lobby obviously claims the Second Amendment forbids any and all gun control measures; but gun control supporters are increasingly arguing Constitutional and historical precedent for the issue.
As I see grief-stricken parents become the latest battleground for these debates, I can’t help but think of a headline from The Onion: “It Going To Take Way More Than An Inconceivable Act Of Violence For Country To Rise Above Politics.”
What do you think?