On April 1, I testified at Congressman Tim Murphy's forum "After Newtown, a Community Conversation on Violence and Severe Mental Illness." To reiterate my point, while mental illness may have been a factor in Newtown, to my knowledge this has not been confirmed. Without access to deadly weapons, however, the Newtown tragedy would not have occurred. Violence is a matter of public safety and cannot be attributed to only mental illness but also to crime, gang warfare and a wide range of other reasons leading to tragic outcomes. Limiting the discussion of violence to mental health is a disservice to those suffering the grief and sorrow of the large number of victims and their loved ones due to gun violence, including the families of the 26 Newtown victims.
Unfortunately, the number of deaths and injuries resulting from gun violence before and after Dec. 14 far exceed those that occurred on that tragic day. Without forethought, readily available firearms provide a very convenient and rapid means for violently resolving differences leading to tragic outcomes that otherwise would not occur.
I asked Mr. Murphy his position on universal background checks for firearms purchasing, gun ownership registration, expanded funding to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to analyze the impact of gun violence and controlling access to assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. I understood his answer, to paraphrase, to be that he is the lone warrior on mental health and violence, which does not include gun violence. This is an arbitrary and artificial distinction and taking a position on gun violence is simply that; taking a position. At least now we know where he stands: He doesn't. Shame on Congressman Murphy!
Upper St. Clair