Friday, June 29, 2007

On Vacation

One more (maybe) post before I take off for a week. I hope you all have a safe and happy Independence Day. We'll actually be in Canada for the week to attend my wife's cousin's wedding in Quebec.

We'll be staying at this quaint, little B&B.

Don't let the country go to pot while I'm gone.

I was going to write something about the tragic death of Liquarry Jefferson, the eight-year-old boy in Boston who was shot to death by his seven-year-old cousin, but Michael Graham, writing in the Boston Herald, seems to have summed up my feelings and reactions quite nicely.

He didn't put this up on his blog, so I'll do the blogger no-no of posting the whole thing here, as the Herald will have it archived shortly, available only to paid subscribers.

Mayor’s tirade again is way off-target
By Michael Graham
Thursday, June 28, 2007

It’s “hugs for thugs” from Menino and nasty notes to the NRA and Congress.

Two little boys, looking forward to starting second grade.

Two excellent readers, always ready to laugh, and with little sisters who sometimes annoy them.

Two little boys with relatives who own guns and know how to use them.

One of these boys I know only from media reports and his heartbreaking picture in the Boston Herald.

But the other boy I know very well. His name is Galen, and he’s my son.

As Galen’s dad, the scene that haunts me from the tragic life and criminal death of Liquarry Jefferson is this: It’s 11 o’clock on a Sunday night, and four children - ages 15, 8, 7 and 2 - gather around a loaded handgun without a parent in sight.

Forget the gun for a moment. What the heck is a 2-year-old doing up and about at 11 p.m.? My 7-year-old son wouldn’t be able to con himself into a round of Candyland at that hour, much less a game of “Give The Glock To The Unattended First Grader.”

Mayor Tom Menino’s reaction to Liquarry’s death has proven to every Boston parent that he just doesn’t get it. He comforted the so-called “family” and assaulted the National Rifle Association.

Blaming the NRA for the death of Liquarry Jefferson is like blaming the American Cutlery Institute for the O.J. Simpson murders. Even the most ardent gun control advocate must admit that, for most of little Liquarry’s life, the least of his worries was the state of America’s gun laws.

Liquarry’s world consisted of an unwed mother who is also a repeat, violent offender; a convicted killer for a father; a 15-year-old half-brother already busted for gun possession - the son of a convict who recently beat a murder rap; various siblings from sundry fathers; and a community that looked at this dysfunctional mess and thought nothing of it.

That’s the family Mayor Menino visited and offered comfort to. That’s the family that social worker Nia Sue Mitchum described as “beautiful - she’s a good mother.”

If that’s a good family, could someone in the mayor’s office please tell me what it takes to be a bad one?

The mayor doesn’t want to talk about the reckless, outrageous and (in my opinion) criminally negligent behavior of this shabby gang. Instead, it’s “hugs for thugs” from Menino and nasty notes to the NRA and Congress.

Like most responsible parents, I know that if I had allowed my son to get shot in my home this way, the public official most likely to show up would be a police officer. If I left Galen alone with a gun, my neighbors wouldn’t comfort me. They would condemn me.

Claiming, as the mayor does, that Liquarry was killed by lax gun laws is an insult to every parent in Massachusetts, regardless of whether he or she owns guns.

Every day, moms and dads from Dorchester to Duxbury make hard decisions and tough sacrifices for their children. Some work two jobs. Others do what my wife has done and set aside successful careers to raise their children.

You could fill these parents’ homes with enough guns to stock a tax evader compound in New Hampshire, and still those children would be safely in bed at 11 p.m. Sunday.

Yelling about a “war on guns” is easy. That’s why the mayor does it. Holding the citizens of Dorchester responsible for the community they’ve created is hard. But it’s got to be done.

Liquarry and other children like him deserve it.


Have a great week, kids!