You may remember that Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher had the gall to tell the victims of the Santa Barbara shooting that "your dead kids don't trump my constitutional rights." When Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, saw this, she felt that she had to respond. And she did, with an op-ed in The Daily Beast.
It’s actually refreshing to see his comments so unvarnished, so closely removed from this poor kid’s murder. And I wouldn’t have dignified his disgusting comments with a response if it didn’t follow such a disturbing pattern among gun extremists in this country.Wow. That's a lot more restrained than I would have been. I really have to wonder where Joe the Plumber shops, because I don't think there's a store in Toledo where you can buy balls as big as the ones he apparently has. Six parents are put in a position no parent should be in--burying their kids--and he has the nerve to tell them that their lives don't trump his right to own a gun? I'd pay money to see if Joe the Plumber is brave enough to say that to the face of Richard Martinez and the other victims' parents.
In fact, his comments quite clearly encapsulate the id of the small faction of extremists who are influencing our country’s gun laws. Your loss doesn’t matter if it inconveniences me one bit. Gun violence may be real—and it may be 20 times worse here than in any other developed country—but I don’t have a solution for it, except to buy more guns and intimidate more victims.
Erica isn't just voicing an opinion when she says Joe the Plumber is way out of touch. She cites a poll from Frank Luntz that found 82 percent of gun owners--including 74 percent of NRA members--support background checks for those wanting to buy a gun.
Erica thinks it's about time for that majority to prove Joe the Plumber wrong. "If prioritizing guns over dead kids makes you angry," she says, "stand up and drown his words out with action." If more people heed Erica's words, we can end the disgraceful spectacle where an unelected lobbyist who should have been kicked out of the conversation 21 years ago can keep a bill that is supported by the overwhelming majority of the people from even coming up for a vote.