Author Archives: cccpgvdir

Tragically, Here We Are… Again

Fatal Shooting in West Goshen – Neighbor vs Neighbor

It has been a tough summer. Reports have just hit the media that there was a fatal shooting in a neighbor vs. neighbor dispute in West Goshen early in the morning of August 8.

This follows the fatal shooting of Bianca Roberson in late June, also in West Goshen. Cornell Thompson, age 22, was shot and killed in Coatesville August 1.

We believe it is vitally important that our citizens:

  • Understand current gun laws
  • Consider the implications of those laws
  • Determine if those laws protect the rights of gun owners and non gun owners alike, and foster a culture that emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of gun ownership

We MUST come together and have a conversation reflecting diverse viewpoints on the presence of guns in our homes and communities.

  • Are we doing enough to monitor gun purchases?
  • Are those who own guns knowledgeable about their safe handling and maintenance?
  • Do our laws serve to protect those who choose to NOT own guns as well as protecting the rights of those who do?

All good questions. Please join us in identifying equally good answers.

gunsensecc@gmail.com

 

Good Advice – Inquire about Presence of Weapons Before Approving Playdate

The July 31 “Dear Abby” column, published in the Daily Local News and numerous other newspapers, has a good discussion encouraging parents to ask about the presence of guns before sending their children to play at another family’s house.

DearAbby/2017/7/31

A Pew Research Center study published in June found that 30% of gun owners with children in the home report there are guns loaded, unlocked and easily accessible at all times.

This issue is too important to ignore because of perceived awkwardness in discussing it.

If you’d like some tips on how to handle that conversation, Moms Demand Action has a “Be Smart” program with some good tips.Be Smart Program

 

A Sad Day for Chester County

Dear Friends,

We are heartbroken by the tragedy of a gun homicide involving Bianca Nikol Roberson, a beautiful 18-year old girl who recently graduated from West Chester’s Rustin HIgh School.

Daily Local News: Road Rage Shooting

While driving in West Goshen Township,  Bianca was shot and killed by another motorist, apparently as part of a road rage incident.

It is human nature to try to rationalize why this would never happen to us or one of our loved ones.

In our own effort to make meaning of this, our initial thought was to urge people to choose behaviors that would de-escalate potential conflict; to remain calm and back away when anger or aggression is directed at you. We must remember there is always a reasonable possibility others are carrying a loaded gun.

However, sending this message might imply that Bianca did something wrong or for some reason “deserved it”, which is a deplorable thought.

Our prayers are with Bianca’s family.

Perhaps we also need to be praying for our society — a culture that is undergoing significant changes. One in which we need to evaluate every situation as a potential source of gun violence. A tragic day for many reasons.

 

We Did Not Sign Up for This…

Thank you to Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire Pa for this thoughtful Op Ed piece, which was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the wake of last week’s shooting in Alexandria, Va., targeting Republican congressmen and their staff on a baseball field, Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) said: “As with any constitutional provision in the Bill of Rights, there are adverse aspects to each of those rights that we enjoy as people. … And what we just saw here is one of the bad side effects of someone not exercising those rights properly.”

This is a completely wrong-headed and offensive analysis.

When did 92 American lives a day, 33,000 lives a year, become merely a “bad side effect”? When did being gunned down in a church, a movie theater, a first-grade classroom, a baseball field become simply a “bad side effect”?

To my mind, never. We did not sign up for this.

A small but powerful and well-moneyed gun lobby has tried to pull the wool over our eyes — the equivalent of the fast-talking, small-print recitation of side effects like dizziness, nausea, and hair loss on all those pharmaceutical commercials. But there’s a big difference: When I take a drug prescribed by my doctor, I do so aware and willing (if worried) to risk the side effects because of the promised benefit. To call the deaths of innocent people out living their lives a side effect of someone abusing a right is to declare their lives worth less than another person’s exercise of that right. That is unacceptable.

Somehow, we’ve become numb to the toll of gun violence and chalk it up as the cost of living in America. We’ve let the gun lobby elevate its talk of rights above what we know is right. Five people shot is not “a bad side effect of someone not exercising [their] rights properly.” It is a direct effect of lax laws that provide easy access to guns to people who should not have them.

Forty-nine people dead and 53 injured in a nightclub. Nine killed in a church. Twenty children and six teachers killed in a school. In Philadelphia, more than 140 homicides so far this year. These are not side effects. They are lives lost, dreams destroyed, families with holes in them, missed opportunities. And they are the direct result of allowing easy access to firearms.

What keeps me up at night is trying to figure out how to do more, how to bring about the seeming revolution we need so that what is known to all — that we have the right to be safe and to feel save where and when we work, learn, pray, and play — will actually become reality.

We’re not fighting a bad side effect. We are fighting a full-on public health crisis. And we know the path to a cure. What keeps me up at night is the worry that, as a nation, we’re looking at this all wrong. We need the will to act, and we need leaders with the courage to take action.

We must become single-issue voters. The other side is expert at it — they give no quarter. When an elected official dares to vote in a way unacceptable to the gun lobby, he or she is not given a pass. Every time an issue arises, the supporters of the gun lobby make their voices heard — they call, write, email, and visit constantly.

We must do the same. And here’s the truth — there are more of us. But we can’t cling to the idea of being a silent majority. Silence is unacceptable. Inaction is unacceptable.

We each have a voice and a vote, and we need to use them. And this is the message we need to send: If you are not part of the solution to the problem of gun violence, you are part of the problem.

Gun violence is the disease, not the side effect. We need to dedicate America’s talent, resources, genius, and sheer people power to curing this problem.

Interested in Finding Common Ground?

Gun Sense Chester County is dismayed and appalled by the tragic shooting of Congressmen and Capitol Hill Security officers in Alexandria Virginia earlier this week. Gun Sense fervently hopes for a speedy recovery for all.  This is an unfortunate example of the gun violence that occurs across our nation on a daily basis.

It is not news that we are in a very polarized political environment. Gun Sense believes our leaders can rise above the recurring pattern of rhetorical dart throwing to thoughtfully consider what might constitute a better path forward. Perhaps this event can lead to a calmer, more productive discussion about vital issues such as gun violence prevention.

Gun Sense Chester County believes substantial common ground already exists on key aspects of gun regulation and gun violence prevention. This common ground includes a significant majority of gun owners and non gun owners alike. It covers items such as:

  • Pre-purchase background check for all types of guns
  • Requiring licensing for concealed carry of guns, and
  • Continuing to have gun free school zones.

In the aftermath of the Alexandria shooting, some political figures have commented about reaching for “Common Ground” with statements like, “We must find a Common Ground way to discuss these key issues as a responsibility to our citizens”. We agree.

Finding “Common Ground” is a focal point and mission for Gun Sense Chester County. Identified areas of likely agreement will be developed, researched, presented to legislators and be communicated to the public for educational purposes.

Gun Sense Chester County welcomes all citizens, gun owners and non gun owners alike, to join in a respectful dialogue about the presence of guns in our society and ways to reduce the level of gun violence. Gun Sense operates in a nonpartisan manner and incorporates diverse viewpoints. Please consider joining. To do so, contact: gunsensecc@gmail.com

Looking for a Way to Make a Change?

We are very glad that the Congressmen and their security detail will be okay, following the shooting in Alexandria, VA by a man using an assault rifle and handgun. However, statistics show that it’s likely 93 other Americans will be killed by a gun today.  Almost twice that will be injured.

Even though the Congressmen will recover physically, some may suffer symptoms of post traumatic stress, which happens for many people who have been exposed to gun violence.

Tired of seeing these stories? Wondering how to make a change?

Gun violence prevention is a large and complex challenge. However, surveys consistently show there is significant existing common ground across gun owners and non gun owners alike.

This includes straight forward  items such as have a background check completed before every gun purchase.

Gun Sense Chester County is working to:

  • Educate our fellow citizens about current gun regulation and gun violence prevention;
  • Promote thoughtful dialogue to help our communities decide the appropriate path forward; and,
  • Encourage our elected officials to put in place regulations that already enjoy widespread support.

We were pleased to be with members of the Kennett Square community on Wednesday night and have an additional event in West Chester on Thursday, June 15.

  • Thursday, June 15 at 7:15 p.m. in West Chester, at Grove United Methodist Church, 490 W. Boot Road.  This workshop will help participants learn “Tips & Tactics for Engaging Elected Officials.”

Can’t make a meeting? Get on our mailing list by contacting us by email:

gunsensecc@gmail.com.

We CAN get to a better place around gun violence in the U.S.

YOU can help.  Please get in touch today.

In Case You Wonder Why…

Having conversations to share differing viewpoints on guns in our society is not easy.

If you need any reminder why it’s important for us to continue the work to reduce gun violence, please read the impactful story in the June 9 Washington Post: 12 Seconds of Gunfire

One startling statistic… “Beginning with Columbine 18 years ago, more than 135,000 students attending at least 164 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus, (Based on Washington Post analysis of online archives, state enrollment figures and news stories.)

One photo contained in the story powerfully conveys the tragedy… it’s of a young girl clinging to the inside of a window on the school bus that is taking her away from the scene of a fatal shooting. She is obviously in great distress.

The point of the story is that for these children there is no “taking them away…” the horror of the event lives with them forever.

Most of us feel distress when we hear of gun violence tragedies, particularly those at schools. As the adults… it’s up to us to translate those feelings into action.  THIS is why we keep talking, researching, and seeking to move forward on a path to reduce gun violence.