Letter to the Editor: "You cannot legislate crazy"

Dear Editor:

My wife and I are proud Shandaken residents going on eleven years. We chose to raise our son here. It is for him that I speak against the Shandaken Town Board’s resolution to protest and ultimately repeal Cuomo’s SAFE Act. The Board is sending a message as “the voice of Shandaken,” objecting to any new effort to control, prohibit, or monitor the sale of any type of guns or ammo. In this resolution, they do not speak for me or for my family.

I’m quite fine with the second amendment; I have no problem with rifles, pistols, or the use of firearms for sportsmanship or self-defense. Weapons designed for military use, however, have no place in a home. None of us can prove the Founders couldn’t conceive of assault weapons, but that is what I believe. Outside of Hollywood, there is no precedent for a scenario in which citizens need to fight off tyrannical enemies in the streets. In the real world, by contrast, we witness mounting scenarios of deranged citizens murdering innocents with assault weapons. Gun control opponents say this is mainly a mental health issue, but I maintain: you cannot legislate crazy. Elected officials can, however, legislate assault weapons, the controllable common denominator in every mass shooting in the last 15 years. The fact will always remain that if these shooters had no access to their weapons of choice, the death tolls would either be much lower, or nonexistent. Disturbed people will always exist. Easily obtainable assault weapons need not.

I think of Veronique Pozner, mother of youngest Newtown victim Noah Pozner. She insisted Governor Malloy view her son’s destroyed face in his open casket, in the hope that Malloy would keep that image in mind when gun legislation crossed his desk. She said, “Noah’s jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. And that is what haunts me at night.”

It haunts me, too. I know parents who have lost children to disease, to overdose. No elected official could have prevented their loss. But elected officials can stem the tide of gun violence. It will take time, likely decades, but it can be done and it must start now. Anyone opposing any effort to stem that tide does not speak for me, for my family, or, I daresay, untold innocents.

Robert Burke Warren and family