For Shame! Gun Enthusiasts Heckle The Father Of A Newtown Victim At Gun Control Hearing

gun debateHas our country really come to this? The debate over gun control has gotten so vitriolic and divisive that we’re now heckling parents who lost young children in mass shootings? I am quite simply astonished that anyone, no matter how they feel about the Second Amendment, could stoop so low.

Neil Heslin is a Newtown resident whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Monday, Heslin went to the Capitol building in Connecticut to testify before legislators about gun control. Holding up a picture of the son that he lost, Heslin asked why assault-style weapons, like the one that killed his son, should be sold in the state?

That’s when gun advocates started shouting, “The Second Amendment,” to drown out the grieving father’s statements. They heckled a man who had to bury his 6-year-old. They sunk the civility of our country about as low as it could possibly go.

Roughly 1500 people were at the Capitol that day. Obviously, tensions were high as people debated an extremely contentiousness and emotionally charged issue. But that doesn’t feel like an excuse for this behavior at all. No amount of tension in the world could excuse interrupting and jeering while a father talks about his murdered little boy.

The Newtown tragedy broke the hearts of parents and childless folks alike all over the country. And it has stirred a national debate about gun control like no tragedy or mass shooting before it. It even stirred President Obama to put a large amount of his election capital into passing gun control legislation. But it’s easy to look at the big picture implications and forget that for this town, for these parents, it’s still a deeply personal issue. It’s still the loss of a life, the loss of a child. Newtown parents deserve nothing but our total support and sympathy.

The fact that we couldn’t give that respect to this man is an issue that every citizen of this country should be ashamed of.

(Photo: a katz/Shutterstock)

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    • K.

      What a bag of dicks.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      That is disgusting. It’s one thing to have a certain opinion on gun control. It’s quite another to use it to bully and degrade others. For shame.

    • Lawcat

      Disgusting.

      How much you want to bet these loons believe In a Newtown conspiracy because “they saw it on Youtube?” OBUMAHS CUMIN TO TAKE OUR GUNZ, YOU SHEEPLE! AMER-KA! SLIPPERY SLOPE! Argh!

      If my child were so maliciously murdered, I’d be tempted to show these gun nuts the real aftermath, Emmitt Till style. I bet 95% of them have never seen the gruesomeness of an actual dead body, let alone that of a child.

      • LiteBrite

        I bet most of them have never actually even READ the 2nd amendment either.

      • http://silenttype78.tumblr.com/ SilentType78

        A. I bet most of these people could recite verbatim the 2nd amendment . You might be surprised how very well informed these people are when it comes tho their rights.
        B. You should read it and it is pityful that you have not.
        C. “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

      • Lawcat

        I agree everyone should read it since it’s a sentence long, but the reality is most Americans aren’t well informed of – or at least grossly misunderstand – their rights. Even fewer are up on the case law, although they like to think of themselves as ConLaw scholars. I own multiple handguns, but I support a ban on certain weapons.

        My favorite is always the absolute butchering of the First Amendment. There’s nothing better than someone yelling about Facebook or a newspaper comments section impeding their “right to free speech!”

      • LiteBrite

        Since you are so informed, please tell me where in the 2nd amendment it says we have the right (and should have the right) to own the type of gun that Adam Lanza was sporting.

        My point was, despite that fact that I hadn’t read it verbatim, I at least knew that much about it. Many of the people crying about their so-called gun rights think the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to bear arms with unfettered abandon, which it does not.

        You may think I’m “pitiful.” Oh well. I’ll live. What I think is absolutely pitiful is that we can’t even have a discussion about gun ownership and control in this country without someone screaming about “taking away their guns.”

      • http://silenttype78.tumblr.com/ SilentType78

        Let me help you..because finding the 2nd amendment online is hard…..

        “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

        Now, you have read the 2nd amendment.
        This -”the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”
        What is so hard to understand about that?

        The guns, which are incapable of acting on their own, are not the issue.

        I did not call you pitiful….I said it was pitiful that you had not read the 2nd amendment.

      • Lawcat

        (Face palm) Anyone who takes A PIECE OF an amendment and says “what’s so hard to understand about that” is just…ugh. The whole preceding portion is a qualifier.

        That would be like me pulling out “right of the people to peaceably assemble” from the first amendment as an argument as to why I should be allowed to protest inside Walmart and forgetting the whole “Congress” qualifier.

        What are “arms?” Does that include missiles, bombs, nukes, land mines, etc or just guns? If guns, all guns or just some guns? What about knives or bayonettes? Are those arms? What constitutes a militia? Does the second amendment give you unfettered rights to own any weapon you like or does Congress’ other powers in the Constitution allow for the regulation of arms? These are questions answered by subsequent case law that helps to define the 2nd amendment.

        What’s so hard to understand about that?

      • http://silenttype78.tumblr.com/ SilentType78

        Because the 2nd is broken down into separate clauses it is entirely appropriate to use the operative clause to describe “the teeth” of the 2nd.
        Since SCOTUS decided that militia meant- me,you,Tom,Dick,Harry and Jane (D.C.vs Heller) then we know that the prefatory clause describes who this right applies to.

        It is not as though I have arbitrarily taken a piece out in order to answer the question.

      • LAwcat

        Exactly, SCOTUS (case law) decided who a militia is. You don’t get that from reading the second amendment at face value, which is what you implied in your “what’s so hard to understand” analysis. Case law also dictates what are arms and what constitutes an infringement. As was mentioned before, it doesn’t provide an unrestricted right to any and all weaponry.

      • http://silenttype78.tumblr.com/ SilentType78

        Assuming I am a person over the age of 18,not a felon,willing to pay a tax to own any weapon, how many weapons am I prohibited by federal law from legally owning?

        Assuming I am a person of any age,a felon,unconcerned with what is illegal to own- would I care what weapons were legal?

      • Tinyfaeri

        Once a mob, even a virtual one, is whipped into a frenzy it’s hard for them to understand anything but the simplest phrases, In this case: “ALL GUNS GOOD. DON’T TAKE MY GUNS. NEED MORE GUNS.” Everything else just seems to fade away.

      • Justme

        Bob Costas was torched for his comments on the gun culture in America after the murder-suicide of the NFL player and his girlfriend. But I think he had a point. The problem is not the ability to own guns, nor is it the 2nd amendment. I think the problem lies in the culture that glamorizes guns as an appropriate accessory to everyday life. Guns should be respected because of the power that they can wield over someone’s life. But this does not mean they need to be worshiped nor should they be brandished at every opportunity.

    • Andrea

      Nothing that those people do surprises me anymore. All they care about is some fanatic irrational need they have to hoard weapons. It doesn’t matter what damage they cause, it doesn’t matter what reasoning you use, it doesn’t matter just how utterly ridiculous they are, all they want is their stupid guns.

      I have grown to HATE the 2nd ammendement

    • Lastango
      • Once upon a time

        Mommyish: Google is hard!

      • Tinyfaeri

        Yes, because that news source looks totally unbiased…
        If you listen to the actual recording or watch video, it does sound an awful lot like heckling. Especially when you consider that it was not an interactive conversation, it was testimony before Congress from a man who lost his son through gun violence. He deserves the right to speak uninterrupted just like anyone else testifying before Congress.

      • Lastango

        Want more sources? Try this one:

        http://now.msn.com/neil-heslin-not-heckled-by-gun-advocates?ocid=vt_twmsnnow

        Of course, you could have easily found the likes of it yourself, and then come back to tell us about it.

      • Tinyfaeri

        How about http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022278369
        1. someone pulled a fire alarm while he was talking.
        2. he was interrupted when asking a rhetorical question.
        You can define heckling however you want. I think one definition is interrupting a person testifying for Congress when he asks a rhetorical question, and pulling a fire alarm while he’s trying to speak (since there was obviously no fire, that is a logical conclusion about what happened). The person who wrote the post I linked to thinks otherwise. That’s their opinion. My opinion is that this father who has lost his son and only family was disrespected while testifying before Congress. I think that sucks.

      • Tinyfaeri

        How about http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022278369
        1. someone pulled a fire alarm while he was talking.
        2. he was interrupted when asking a rhetorical question.
        You can define heckling however you want. I think one definition is interrupting a person testifying for Congress when he asks a rhetorical question, and pulling a fire alarm while he’s trying to speak (since there was obviously no fire, that is a logical conclusion about what happened). The person who wrote the post I linked to thinks otherwise. That’s their opinion. My opinion is that this father who has lost his son and only family was disrespected while testifying before Congress. I think that sucks.

      • Lastango

        Oooo… look at what we have here — “Anti-Gun Advocates Heckle Woman Wanting to Defend Her Children During Gun Violence Hearing”

        http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/01/30/antigun-advocates-heckle-woman-wanting-to-defend-her-children-during-gun-violence-hearing-n1501355

      • Tinyfaeri

        What’s your point? That people on both sides of any issue can be assholes? No shit. It doesn’t make the disrespect Helsin was shown any less stupid or rude or insensitive.
        …and I’m not sure I would have gone with the video they used in your link. The “other side” makes a far stronger case than she does, which is that shotguns and handguns can be used for home defense and AR-15s are not needed by civilians. Including in the example she used of a young widow protecting her children with a shotgun. That wouldn’t be banned under proposed legislation.

      • Lastango

        “…and I’m not sure I would have gone with the video they used in your link.”

        You wouldn’t – ever. I totally get that. Neither would this blog. That’s why I post it. I can’t help but notice that there are more and more comments confronting Mommyish’s anti-Second Amendment campaign. I have no idea where they’re coming from, or how they’re finding a pink, soft-focus website like this one, but they’re helping make it safe for others to voice an opposing viewpoint.

      • Tinyfaeri

        “make it safe for others to voice an opposing viewpoint”
        Um… Opposing viewpoints are expressed on this site all the time. Who exactly isn’t safe?

      • Amy

        It’s not the same thing at all, and anyone with a modicum of feeling would realise that.

        Want to heckle an anti-gun campaigner? Sure, go ahead. I think it’s incredibly distasteful, rude and unnecessary, but go right ahead. Want to heck an anti-gun campaigner who just lost their child in a mass shooting? No way should that go without being called out.

        If you can’t see why heckling a random campaigner is different to
        heckling someone who has personally suffered, then you- quite frankly- baffle me.

      • once upon a time

        Rhetorical question? Have you watched an unedited version of the video? He says, “Who can give me a reason why guns are allowed blah blah…”, pauses, then says, “No one?” Or something like that. That’s the moment the Second Amendment chant begins.

        I am militantly anti-gun. I wish so badly that you Americans would enact gun control. But twisting events and propagating falsehoods is not the way to do it. It weakens the case, and it makes our side as bad as the zealots.

      • once upon a time

        That reads a little more bluntly than I wanted, maybe even a little victim blame-y. Just wanted to add that every time I watch his testimony, Neil Heslin breaks my heart. The poor man seems absolutely broken by the death of his son, but is still carrying on and fighting the good fight.

        Just after the ‘heckling’ portion, he says, in response to the Second Amendment cries, something like, “Well, okay. I understand that everyone has a different opinion and I respect their opinion. I just wish that people would consider mine.” Those words say a lot to me. If everyone – both sides – could just stop ‘fighting’ for one second, try to consider the opposing view, and just talk rationally until they find a solution… well, if humanity could do that, the world would be a much better place, wouldn’t it.

    • http://silenttype78.tumblr.com/ SilentType78

      No parent was heckled.
      This is ridiculous.
      Please correct this wildly incorrect story.

    • Anne Cordelia

      Necroposting to say that I think it would be far more fair for the title of this article to read ”
      For Shame! CRAZY People Heckle The Father Of A Newtown Victim At Gun Control Hearing.” Their view on gun rights was just how their crazy manifested itself so unforgivably. No decent, sane person could do this, I don’t care what their beliefs are. Dreadful! It also disgusts me that the extremists are the only voices that seem to get heard in the news nowadays. The coverage on this issue makes a moderate gun owner like myself just shake my head in disgust.

    • Lastango
    • Gina

      NBC “deceptively edited” the video to make it look like he was being heckled. Geez, get your facts right, Mommyish. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/msnbc-newtown-gun-heckling_n_2589074.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D264396

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