A letter to Senator Sherrod Brown

I’m not usually one to write to somebody in Washington, but today, I felt moved to do just that.

RE: Please stand up for our rights and freedoms!

Dear Senator Brown,

Recent events have prompted me to reach out to ask you to stand up for our rights and freedoms.

Like most of your constituents, I was heartbroken over the events of December 14th in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.  It took me nearly a week to fully process the tragedy.  It affected me very deeply.

As an avid shooter, outdoors man, and NRA member, I feel that people like me have been painted as heartless extremists.  I assure you, that statement could not be farther from the truth.  We are kind and compassionate.  We value life, love our families, and would do anything to help someone in need.  The NRA has been attacked in the media as if it were some faceless corporation, but the reality is, I am the NRA.  Our neighbors are the NRA.  Millions of honest, hardworking, law abiding citizens are the NRA.

Violent outbursts by mentally ill individuals are becoming all too common in our country.  I don’t think that anyone would disagree that we need solutions to address this growing problem.  That said, I am alarmed that the reaction of so many people has been to focus on the tools that were used to commit the crimes rather than looking for effective ways to actually address the problem.  Blaming the tools is a cop-out, and we as Americans should expect more of ourselves.

The truth is, something is broken in our society and we have a responsibility to ourselves to determine what that it.  What is causing the epidemic of mental health problems?  Why are people not getting the help that they need?  Why aren’t severe problems detected before the sick lash out?  Why do some people feel so helpless that they turn to violence against themselves or others as their only outlet?  These won’t be easy questions to answer, nor will the solutions easy to implement.

The rights and freedoms that we have in The United States of America require a great deal of responsibility and courage.  Many brave men and women have given their lives to defend those freedoms and principles.  The fact that we would even consider abdicating our freedoms because a few lives were lost tells me that we are dangerously close to nullifying the great sacrifices of those men and women who came before us.  We must exhibit the same courage today.

We cannot afford to weaken the bill of rights.  It is part of what makes our country the greatest nation on earth.  It is time for a gut check here in America.  I write to you today to ask that you to stand strong to protect our rights and freedoms.  This is not a partisan issue.  Freedom in our nation must transcend party lines.

Sincerely,

Matthew Gehrisch