Of Valentine’s Day, Love and Gun Laws

Opinion columnist Heather Borden Herve takes a look at the new meaning Valentine’s Day will have for thousands in Connecticut this year.


Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I love you so much,

I’m headed to Hartford on Valentine’s Day to try and make the world a safer place for you.

Who would have ever thought that one of the ways I’d show my children how I love them is to try and change the world by raising my voice against gun violence. I wish this Valentine’s Day would simply be about packaging up store-bought valentines for them to bring into class and distribute to their classmates, or that all I’d have to do would be to make heart-shaped pancakes before sending them off to school.

But that was before, when sending children off to school meant that they would always come home safely. That was before Dec. 14, 2012, and the unimaginable events at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 20 sets of parents sent their 6- and 7-year-old children off to school and instead of coming home safely, those children and their heroic teachers were brutally shot and killed in their classrooms.

Life is now different and things have since changed. Like moms and dads and family and friends all over America, millions of us woke up on Dec. 15, 2012, as armchair activists no more. I’ll be marching on Thursday in Hartford with March for Change, as a love letter to my children, along with thousands of other like-minded Connecticut residents.

What we’re hoping to achieve is simple: to show state legislators that there are many of us who want safer gun laws enacted in Connecticut, and that it can be done so without sacrificing the Second Amendment. Universal background checks on ALL sales and transfers. A stronger assault-weapons ban. Limits on high capacity ammunition magazines.

The march starts at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol building in Hartford. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be there as well as legislators and elected officials from both political parties. There will be representatives from communities all over Connecticut who have experienced gun violence, as well as families of the Sandy Hook victims. Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, and Stephen Barton, a Connecticut resident who survived the Aurora, Colo., shooting massacre will speak as well.

It will be multi-faith, bi-partisan and, hopefully, peaceful. Because that is ultimately what we’re marching for — less violence, more peace and safety.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

Guns kill.

My 10-year-old son will be marching at his first rally, joining many kids from around the state taking part. One of the activities leading up to Thursday’s rally was a fundraiser for a 9th grade social studies class from Bridgeport, which wanted to travel to Hartford in order to take part in the March for Change. These students have personal reasons for wanting to attend, as were clearly evident when they each answered the question that asked them how guns affected their lives:

"Guns have taken a close friend from me. Gun violence needs to stop because they are taking the lives of many innocent people and that is not fair. Guns are supposed to keep us safe, but they are doing the exact opposite," wrote one. 

"Guns actually have affected my privacy and freedom. For example, when I ask my mom if I can go to the movies and she says, "oh you can't go because they'll shoot you like the have done to the others." Then there is also the times when there are shoot-outs at Marina Village my mom will come into my room and sleep with me," answered another.

These children will learn that their voices and efforts can be put toward making change, toward impacting the legislative process, toward contributing toward democracy. Just as they’ve learned that there are harsh realities of life that happen to children — sadly, because of guns — so too will they be able to see that they are not powerless, and that there are adults who will advocate for them and help them learn how to advocate for themselves.

On the day of love, I will write a new love letter to my children, promising that a mother’s love knows no bounds, even when it means that protecting them means more than just kissing a scraped knee or making sure they bundle up against the cold. If it means we move mountains, if it means we march on Hartford, if it means we change history, then that’s what Valentine’s Day will now forever mean.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Onward to Hartford, because, simply,

I love you too much not to.

Sean M February 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Voice, on a side note. There is a vacancy on Zoning for a full member and unfortunately the Dictator has not fallen on the sword yet.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 15, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Missouri Democrats, (shocker, there) have introduced legislation that would confiscate certain types of privately and legally-owned firearms. http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills131/biltxt/intro/HB0545I.HTM You ignorant gun-grabbers have no idea what you are doing. You would sacrifice your futures for the momentary comforts of your todays.
Woodburian February 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM
Mr. Murphy, I'm afraid I don't understand your statement about Hitler and the Jews -- I don't believe anyone is proposing disarming the military (or the police). We all understand that it was guns and weapons that stopped "a maniacal Hitler" and that is precisely why we need a strong "well regulated" military -- it was military tanks and warplanes and bombs that stopped Hitler, not an armed citizenry. So I fail to see the point of your comment about Hitler, given that no one is talking about disarming the military. What people ARE suggesting is removing military-style (and capacity) weapons from the hands of individuals who (in general) lack the rigorous training and mental discipline of members of our military: your next-door neighbors -- the guy down the street with the short fuse, the neighbor across the street who just got fired from his job and is pissed as all get out and out for revenge against the boss who fired him -- THOSE folks, who (surely you must agree!) are less "well regulated" (please see the 2nd Amendment) than the highly disciplined and well trained members of the US military. Sorry, I simply fail to follow your logic here... please clarify what the defeat of Hitler by the Allies in WWII has to do with the current gun debate in America?
Sean M February 15, 2013 at 01:26 PM
My comment is pretty clear on Hitler. He was stopped from exterminating our Jewish friends by weapons. Firearms stop threats by tyrants, criminals, mass murderers, and the like. These threats are national leaders as well as criminals and thugs. What is a military style weapon? The ones being proposed are ones that look like automatic weapons, but do not fire like them. Any idea what percentage of shots actually hit the target? About 1/3. A home invasion with more than one criminal will have homeowners running out of bullets long before the threat is stopped. Homeland Security ordered firearms with 20-30 round magazines recently. Why? Because they are needed for self-defense. Law enforcement face the same threats that we do and in many cases law enforcement is called to stop a threat with the same weapons you demand be taken out of our hands. Makes absolutely no sense. As for the 2nd Amendment, you have shown over the history of comments to have no basic understanding of it. That is a side issue on this topic. The proposals of 10 round magazine bans will not solve anything. What it will do is make all of us less safe by taking needed tools away from us to defend ourselves. Long guns with "high capacity magazines" are needed to take on multiple threats. Pistols and revolvers have limited range. The onus is on you to show how your restrictions will solve the problem. Pick one of the bills in front of the Assembly and please document.
Ryen February 15, 2013 at 07:04 PM
1. The article above contains no cogent argument/coherent set of facts. There's absolutely NO CONNECTION between "tough" gun laws & mass public killings. NONE: Never has been, never will be: that's a FACT. In reality, where there are the toughest gun laws, there are the MOST public/mass homicides: FACT. 2. There's absolutely NO CONNECTION between number of weapons/types of weapons owned & number of killings--never has been. If there were, then statistics would show a much different prevalence of mass murders than they show (see point #1 again) 3. The writer can use all the odd statistics from Japan--and add Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria & Venezuela--but it won't prove any correlation between gun laws & number of guns & incidents like Sandy Hook. The USA was founded the way it was for a reason. The Constitution & amendments stand for something that is valid & coherent. Has nothing to do with mass murders! Making biased, irrational arguments incoherently & not "on point" doesn't address "root causes", nor make logical connections--it's all propaganda & "doublespeak" & that's how FASCISM starts in a Socialist state like the U.S. has become.... 4. The writer is biased, liberal, espouses an "anything goes" philosophy about "pet issues", yet falsely attacks others with words. The writer is essentially "using" innocent dead children to promote their own political/personal agenda--SHAME! Please stop the tactic! NOTHING the writer says/wants will change Sandy Hook; nothing would've!


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