Two courageous Arizonans choose the path less traveled

As a political blogger, it would behoove me to begin my first post of the year with high hopes for what could be accomplished in Arizona’s legislature and in Congress. I should speak of political resolutions and ways citizens can become more involved in the process. I should do this, and maybe I will… another day. Today, however, I digress.

Today, I write about courage. Not the kind that happens in a moment’s notice when someone around you is in dire need and you rush to that person’s aide. That type of help is noble and needed and recognized as a courageous act. But the courage I want to recognize is the kind it takes to speak out when you know you will be attacked and when remaining silent isn’t just the easiest thing to do but the safest as well.

This is the courage I see in people like Roxanna Green and Gabrielle Giffords, two women who shared a major tragedy but from differing perspectives. One almost lost her life and is left with the scars, both physical and emotional, of a bullet that traveled through her brain. The other is left with the emptiness of a life cut short, a daughter murdered haphazardly by a sick individual.

These women were enveloped by the sympathies of an outraged nation. They were honored and embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike. But today, many in this country will no longer look at them with compassionate eyes or write about them with glowing words. Today, their motives are questioned, their character attacked.

Why? Because they dared to question the status quo. They dared to ask why. They dared to challenge this nation and ask for a serious conversation about violence in America and the possibility that gun control could help prevent tragedies like theirs.

For this, they are scorned. For a conversation, a question, a plea for answers.

And we wonder why Congress cannot solve this nation’s problems? We wonder why the big issues of the day are pushed to the brink of a cliff and left for the next set of lawmakers and the next election?

We don’t have to agree with Roxanna Green or Gabrielle Giffords. But what will it hurt to listen, respectfully, to what they have to say?

It’s easy to accept the sympathy of others. It takes courage to step outside of that safety net and put your self and your beliefs front and center on a national stage, knowing powerful people will condemn you.

That’s real courage. And that’s what we need more of in this country, from both our leaders and our citizens.


  1. Mike Slater

    Julie, I don’t attack their character but I do question their motives. I believe they want more gun control laws and possibly a ban on weapons and magazine sizes which will punish the vast majority of lawful gun owners because of the actions of a small minority of crazy people.

    1. Post
      Julie Erfle

      Mike, their motive is to reduce gun violence and prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown. Both Gabby Giffords and Roxanna Green are and have long been gun owners. If requiring background checks for all gun purchases helps keep guns out of the hands of criminals, why object? Many lawful gun owners do not see these moves as impeding on their rights but rather as a way to help ensure guns do not get into the wrong hands.

      And while it may be a small minority of “crazy people” who commit these massacres, it is not a small minority of Americans who are affected by gun violence. It is a real problem in this country, and ignoring it won’t make it go away.

    2. Eli Blake

      Mike, Gabrielle Giffords got a rating of ‘C’ from the National Rifle Association during the 2010 election cycle. In other words, she was a moderate on gun issues as well as many other issues (for comparison, Ann Kirkpatrick got an ‘A’ and Raul Grijalva got an ‘F’ during the same election cycle from the NRA.)

      What that also means is that she was not a doctrinaire gun opponent. Obviously the events of January 8, 2011 and what has happened since have altered her views on guns (but that’s not surprising, if anyone claims that had they been in her shoes those events would not have changed their views, they are either lying or have no idea what they are talking about.)

      Yet, if you look at what Giffords (and Roxana Green) are proposing, it is not to take away all your guns. It is to limit the amount of firepower available to any one individual. It is to make sure that weapons developed for combat (in other words, designed to kill a lot of people very quickly) are not in the hands of anyone other than the military or the police. Certainly not some 16-24 year old angry young man like the profile that is emerging most of the time when we see one of these mass killings.

      It’s hard to argue why, Mike, you need a 30 or a 50 round magazine. You don’t need it to go hunting. You don’t need it to defend yourself from a rapist or a robber, where a handgun would be just as effective. Maybe you are such a poor shot that you need thirty rounds to hit what you are aiming at, but if that is true then you should spend more time on the shooting range. The fact that Jared Loughner was stopped only when he had to reload, and that police have said that some of the adults at Sandy Hook tried to rush Adam Lanza is a good argument against a high capacity magazine. It’s when reloading or changing weapons that there is a small window of time when the shooter is vulnerable. If Loughner and Lanza had only had an 8 or 10 round magazine, then a lot more of the Tucson victims would be alive and whole today (not Gabby, but perhaps Christina) and at Sandy Hook, where Lanza shot the adults first, he wouldn’t have been able to kill all of them before he had the reload and those that remained at least had a chance to take him.

  2. Mike Slater

    I have no problem with background checks. As a CCW permit holder for 15 years I’ve had many background checks and been fingerprinted many times. My concern is any talk of gun bans and magazine bans.

  3. Mike Slater

    Eli, If you would educate yourself on the hunting rules and regulations you would find that a 30 or 50 round magazine is not allowed for hunting. I happen to own an AR-15, which is the same type of weapon used in the New Town shootings, and can legally use it for hunting. I have 3 semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun and my Ar-15 in my home for protection and am very proficient with all of them.

    The problem with having any debate about guns or gun violence is people like you and others that start the debate by telling me and other gun owners what kind of guns or magazines we don’t need.

    I will decide what guns or magazines I need or don’t need, not you.

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