It is not just a debate, it’s personal

By Laurie Nerat, December 1, 2017

For me it’s not a debate – it is very personal.

Our past experiences can often influence our emotions and reactions, and this has never been more apparent than the past few weeks. Like most Americans I was horrified, saddened and angered by the recent mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas. They immediately brought back memories of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Tucson, Aurora and so many other similar events. The harsh reality is that these events have become almost commonplace in our society. For me however, these shootings also bring back very personal memories; a gun changed my life.

In the past few weeks I have experienced such a strong reaction to the video footage of the shooting, the individuals who survived, and the family members of those who lost someone. I didn’t realize how much this was actually affecting me until I had a fight with my husband about absolutely nothing. We rarely fight so I knew something was wrong. I realized that I was internalizing so much of the anger that I felt. Comments on social media and renewed interest in the “gun control” debate simply added to an internal anger that began to boil over, causing the silly argument. Every time I read a Facebook comment that supports the use of guns I want to scream. Here is the reality – GUNS KILL PEOPLE. The idea that people need guns for self-defense is just plain hogwash.

I was married to someone who was a ‘responsible’ gun owner. He used guns for hunting. He also had guns because he thought they were cool. He learned this gun culture from his family. They gave him a brand new Magnum 44 for his college graduation gift. He owned pistols, a shotgun and a rifle. I didn’t really understand his obsession with guns, and I was extremely nervous about having guns in the house when our daughters were born, but he assured me that the guns were kept unloaded in a safe place so the girls would not have access to them. He even signed our daughter up for a gun safety class when she was 10 years old. Guns were a part of my life, and yes I even went out and shot a gun with him once or twice, but I never had an appreciation for them that he did. To me they were, and still very much are lethal weapons designed to kill.

But here is the main thing about guns, when people have guns they can and often do use them, but not in the way most gun advocates will tell you. They rarely every actually use them in self-defense – they use them to kill other people or they use them to kill themselves. This is not just my opinion, or my personal experience – the statistics back this up.

For every person who uses a gun in self-defense, the research finds, nearly six people use a gun to commit a crime.

Another study found that for every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.

States with higher gun ownership rates have higher gun murder rates—as much as 114 percent higher than states with lower gun ownership rates.

Las Vegas brought the gun issue back into the news because of a mass shooting, but here is the reality; Mass shootings stopped by armed civilians in the past 33 years: 0

For women the numbers are even more staggering. Guns are not being used as self defense for women. In 2013, more than 5 times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers. A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 5 times if he has access to a gun.

Now lets talk about suicide. About half of all suicides are committed with guns, and seven in 10 by men, who also account for 74% of gun owners in the country. On average they own 7.9 guns each.

For me this issue is very personal, my husband, the responsible gun owner, committed suicide when he shot himself with one of his guns. If he did not have those guns would he be here today? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I am sick and tired of a small minority of Americans and a very well funded lobbying effort that are controlling gun laws in this country.

Pew researchers found that 83% of Americans said they consider gun violence in the US a big problem — including 50% who called it “a very big problem. 68% of Americans told Pew researchers that they favor a ban on assault-style weapons, and 64% favor banning high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, yet Congress continues to be paralyzed on the issue.

Access to weapons can and must be regulated better than it is right now. As much as 40 percent of all gun sales involve private sellers and don’t require background checks. In a survey, 40 percent of prison inmates who used guns in their crimes said they’d gotten them this way. More than 80 percent of gun owners support closing this loophole.

I realized these past few weeks that the issue of guns and gun control is very emotional for me. I am angry that we keep allowing a false narrative to control the conversation. We need to remember that despite all of the rhetoric and arguing, the sad truth is that guns kill people; they kill a lot of people, and the longer we ignore this basic truth the more people will die. Events like Las Vegas will continue to happen until we finally decide to do something different.

This month I will have the pleasure of hearing Former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly at the Maricopa County Democrat Winter Convention. I am excited to hear what they have to say. After a gunman nearly took her life, Gabby and her husband began an organization called “Americans for Responsible Solutions,” a group dedicated to reforming gun laws and reducing violence. Gabby Gifford is doing something, she is fighting back against gun violence and advocating for common sense gun laws. We need more leaders like Gabby who will stand up against gun violence.

Laurie Nerat
Precinct Committeeperson
Foothills Precinct
LD18 Democrats

 

Follow the links below for more information. Thank you!
Gun Myths Debunked
Why the CDC no longer collects data on gun-related violence

The persistence of hope

Contributed by Cormac Doebbeling
November, 2017

November 8th will forever be a hard day for me. I’ll always remember the nauseous feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I woke up at 4 a.m. to drive to my staging location in Mesa. I’ll always remember my sense of desperation, walking door to door in the last hours before the polls closed, in a vain attempt to get more voters to cast their ballots. I will always remember what it was like to be watching the polls and seeing the results from my home state of Indiana come in as they rejected Evan Bayh and voted for an extension of the Pence governorship. But most of all, I will be haunted by the sense of hopelessness I felt as I slowly realized that all the hours, sweat, and sleep I sacrificed for the Democratic Party had gone towards nothing. Rather then feeling angry at my fellow Americans, I felt futile and defeated, that I had let my country down.

2016 was immensely challenging for me. Not only was I in a brand new state, one that had 80 degree weather in November, but I had lost one of the most important people in my life. My grandmother, Jane Carney, who brought me to my first Obama rally when I was a mere fourth grader had passed away in the winter. This feisty and funny woman had made phone calls for the then Senator, then black-haired Barack Obama from her little house in Coggon, IA. Back when Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were front-runners for the nomination, my grandma would knock on doors, host get-togethers, and work tirelessly to deliver Barack his first win as a presidential candidate. This didn’t change when he won the nomination and even when her health had declined during the 2012 Presidential Cycle, she still made phone calls for the president she had grown to love. By the time 2016 rolled around, she had been put on hospice and couldn’t be the one-woman wrecking ball her neighbors had come to love. When she passed, not only did the Democratic Party lose one of its most enthusiastic volunteers, but my family had lost our inspiration, our grandma Jane.

While the 2016 results were pouring in, with the polls in Florida and Virginia terrifying my co-workers, I noticed that Iowa was temporarily trending for Clinton. I prayed that it was my grandma trying to move mountains from beyond the grave, but alas, even Iowa’s six electoral votes contributed to Trump’s victory. She would have been ashamed to see that man elected to the office occupied by President Obama, and truth be told, I felt as if my party and I had let my grandma down.

But since that hard night, I’ve gained a new perspective. I have had the honor of meeting so many great organizers, so many hard-working individuals who, like my grandma, have put everything they have to offer into making this country a better place. Whether it was ASU’s Young Democrats, Undocumented Students for Education Equity, or the Democrats in Legislative District 18, I am floored by the diligence and integrity shown by these Arizonans. Despite the terrible experiences they all had on November 8th of 2016… None of them gave up, none of them succumbed to a sense of hopelessness.

I don’t know if my grandma would be proud of the way I’ve responded to the election of Donald Trump. Believe me, I would give anything to give her a phone call to just talk about politics as we had done so many times in the past. Yet, I do that on November 8th of 2017, I am filled with hope.

(Cormac Doebbeling is a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman in Legislative District 18, Arizona)

Meet Renee Newman

Hello there! My name is Renee Newman and I am a proud member of the LD18 Democrats! You know me. I’m the person walking around the meetings with a walker, leaning on everyone in my path, wall walking, sitting at the entrance of the meetings doing badges and taking pictures. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, after experiencing symptoms for 15 years prior. MS has changed my entire life. I was a Jr High teacher (special education, LD,EH) at Valley View School in South Phoenix when suddenly I couldn’t feel my whole lower torso.  I was falling a lot. Then I had incontinence. That’s when I had to stop teaching. I loved teaching. It was my life. No one knew why this was happening to me. It was very scary.

Luckily I had many college degrees. That helped. I was lucky. I was a Microsoft instructor teaching teachers to use computers; I worked for Tesseract in educational technology; I was a full time faculty at NAU in the Center for Academic Excellence; and I worked and retired from the Arizona Department of Education as an Educational Specialist. I would be doing great in a job, only to be sidelined by paralysis, balance, and other symptoms. Then I would quit my job and pick up a new one when the symptoms subsided.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

I am scooting in the NMSS Walk 2017 at the Phoenix Zoo on November 4, 2017.  It would be great if you could join me! TEAM RENEE 2017. If not, I am accepting donations for my personal walk also. Having MS has affected my entire life. I can no longer work or drive or walk without a walker or scooter. Please support me in this effort to find a cure for MS.

To DONATE or JOIN MY TEAM:Or you can email me and I will send you a direct link to my page – reneenewman@cox.net

Walk MS: Phoenix 2017

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Walk MS connects people living with MS and those who care about them.