The Caledonian Record of St. Johnsbury (Vt.), May 9, 2013
New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is taking heat for opposing increased gun control in the recent Senate debate. None of the proposed measures — from bans on "assault" weapons and 10 round magazines to background checks at gun shows and certain private sales — amassed the required 60 votes for passage.
Gun control advocates sent the daughter of the principal killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, to follow Ayotte. They also are financing a media campaign against her — spearheaded by wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' SuperPac.
For perspective on Ayotte's critics let's remember that their fight is decades old. Over the years they've demanded every creative kind of gun control — up to and including prohibition of private firearms ownership (in open violation of the Second Amendment). One of the most ardent advocates was President Barack Obama (before he ascended to the presidency). Ayotte is just their latest obsession.
Meanwhile the FBI estimates that there are likely 300 million guns in the hands of Americans. Some of those guns are going to be criminally misused. But please remember that background checks will not keep weapons out of the hands of felons or lunatics. Those bad apples will get guns by theft or private exchange — no matter how intrusive the government becomes.
Nothing in the Senate background check expansion amendment could have prevented the horrible tragedy at Newtown. The shooter there stole guns legally owned by his mother before killing her and 26 perfectly innocent victims. Yet within hours of that unimaginable horror, gun control advocates were circling their wagons.
Former New Hampshire Republican chairman Fergus Cullen opined — "This is not a spontaneous, authentic, grassroots, middle-of-the-road uprising against Sen. Ayotte ... This is a 100 percent manufactured controversy, fifty percent manufactured by out-of-state interests with the cooperation of 50 percent in-state Democratic activists."
We agree. And it looks a lot like the work of New York City's billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made exterminating private gun ownership his latest cause (after failing to keep New Yorkers fit with his soda ban).
We do concede, incidentally, that background checks at gun shows is practical (as noted by the New Hampshire-based Independent Firearm Owners Association) even if the measure will yield no discernible effect on future gun violence. Keep in mind that Vermont has no gun control laws and the lowest rate of gun violence in the country. New Hampshire and North Dakota have virtually non-existent gun controls and also enjoy among the lowest rates of gun-related homicides.
We think Sen. Ayotte was right to say 'No' to the latest gun control attempts, and we're sure the sensible people of the Granite State will continue to support her.
The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover (Mass. ), May 10, 2013
You have to love the spirit and attitude of Remy Lawler, the young woman from Amesbury who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.
She went to the finish line on Patriots Day to support her longtime friend from Amesbury, Erin Hurley, who was running in the race. She stood with Hurley's boyfriend, Jeff Bauman. As Hurley neared the finish, she stepped forward from Bauman to get a better photo. And those few moments were critical.
One of the Tsarnaev brothers had dropped a bag near Bauman's feet. It exploded a short time later, costing Bauman both of his legs. Lawler was injured in the blast by a piece of shrapnel that struck her leg. They were two of the over 200 people injured in the two explosions; three others died from the bombs.
This week, three weeks removed from the bombing, Lawler is recovering at her parents' home in Amesbury. She's endured a lot — surgeries to repair the 9-inch wound in her leg, a physical recovery process that appears to be progressing well and an emotional recovery process that will no doubt be the longest.
Her attitude amplifies the kind of tenacity and strength that we have seen demonstrated throughout Boston and beyond in the wake of the bombings. Her feelings run a broad range, but her guiding philosophy is to not let the bombers "win."
"They set out to make people afraid, to ruin people, to break people. They have not accomplished anything. They lose. Everyone is stronger because of it," Lawler told The Daily News.
In the wake of the bombings, we all saw something that brought immense pride to our state's capital city. The fast action and heroism of first responders — police, medics, firefighters, people in the crowd — demonstrated how instinctive it is to help one's fellow man. In the days that followed, Bostonians showed their immense pride in their city and their unshakable spirit of unity and defiance. Bostonians earned the admiration of people across the globe.
The headlines are already starting to fade and life returns to its normal routine for most of us, but for survivors who were directly impacted by the bombings, things will never be the same. We should keep them in our hearts and be there to support them.
As for Remy Lawler, her plan for next year's Patriots' Day is perhaps the best indicator of her spirit. She plans to go to the Marathon.
"Yes, I will be there. There's no way I'm not going to be there. It's going to take a while to get back to Boylston (Street) — to see the spot where I was standing. But I'm not going to let these stupid boys ruin the Boston Marathon for me. They don't get to win, they lose."