Tag Archive: Asyah Aquil

Finding Common Ground at the Gun Legislation Forum in Teaneck

promoted by Rosi

A former Marine and LAPD police officer once said to me, when I asked why he studied theology and philosophy, “To understand a man, you first need to know what he believes.”

I was reminded of those words as I watched the Gun Safety Forum in Teaneck unfold.  Earlier, I was not optimistic the meeting would be productive.  The shouting would soon start and civility and reason would be the first casualties.  Or so I thought.

In December, like any breathing American, I was emotionally crushed by the loss of children at Newtown and have been haunted by this story.  I have family members and friends who hunt, or target shoot, or who own guns for protection, but also ones who are teachers, and parents with small children.  Like the heart-wrenching fights between brothers in any civil war, this one is a classic that has been going on since I was a child.

On Sunday, thanks to a (mostly ) civil discussion led by Laura Zucker at the Ethical Culture Society, as hard as it was for each side to hear the other, there was actual discussion and questions asked and answered. I was impressed that folks actually learned something from each other.

Before the forum, a well-dressed, serious looking young man was setting up a camera in the back of the room to capture the event.  He politely reached out his hand and introduced himself.  He was with the Second Amendment Society.  He seemed earnest and polite, not what I expected after watching Alex Jones on Piers Morgan, but I realized at that moment, I, myself had been biased before walking in the door. I would withhold judgment until I heard what he had to say.  He obviously wanted to be taken seriously, which was what this forum was for.  The legislators already knew what the anti-gun side believes.  This was a real chance, in a proper setting, to hear what the gun rights side believed.  Hopefully it would be shared with a minimum of shouting.