by Tom Buglio: remarks at International Day of Peace observation, West Chester 9/21/16
Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. I am the director of the Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and I have chosen the theme of my talk to be “Hope vs. Fear: what kind of a world do we want for our children and families?”
We are truly blessed to live here in beautiful Chester County. These rolling hills are such a wonderful place to be, with good schools, lots of open space for biking, hiking, and walks in the woods. And we can experience the wonder of the 4 seasons, with Autumn being my favorite time, with the crisper air, changing colors of the leaves, and fall festivals galore. We all strive for a home where our children thrive, and enjoy everything life has to offer,… where we can live in a truly peaceful world.
However, this peace can be shattered by someone who should not be permitted to use a gun, somehow getting a hold of one and using it badly with tragic results. There are stories in the news of this happening around the country every day. Although it does not happen often here in Chester County, we are not immune from the tragedy of gun violence.
So I ask again, what kind of a world do we wish to live in?
Let me paint a picture of two different visions of our world. The world of Fear is populated by an armed society, with every able-bodied person owning and carrying a gun for self-protection, where all feel it is their personal responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones from the bad people in the world.
The world of Fear has a vision of the “good guy with a gun” being a hero if anything goes wrong. The world of Fear believes that you can’t wait for the police to help you, you have to take the law and justice into your own hands, and that this is the best way to keep yourself safe.
The world of Fear is populated by the fear of the OTHER — those who don’t look like you, speak like you or have the same religion as you. The world of Fear does not trust immigrants, or people of different races or nationalities. The world of Fear does not trust our government or our police. The world of Fear is the world that is fostered by the NRA and other gun rights organizations, which paint a dystopian view of society, with not just the freedom to buy as many guns as you want, but the absolute need to do so. Continue reading