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Sunday, December 20, 2015
Randy Gorbman

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has added her name to an effort calling for gun manufacturers to take greater responsibility for gun safety.

Warren is backing  a ‘request for information’ being sent to seven major gun manufacturers seeking information on how they make and distribute guns.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Interview with Newtown's Chief of Police on CNN. 

Mentions: DO NOT STAND IDLY BY  Metro IAF's campaign for gun safety


Sunday, December 6, 2015
Christopher J Eberhart

Tenants being evicted from an affordable housing complex in the village reached an agreement with the property owner that gives them until the summer to find new homes, with help from a non-profit advocacy group.

Friday, October 23, 2015
Jennifer Fermino

He's hoping the bottom line will be mightier than the bullet.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Friday he wants the federal government to use its "massive purchasing power" to put the financial screws to gun manufacturers who deal with shady weapon sellers.

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Heriberto Contreras and the Rev. Gawain de Leeuw

The military and police should demand that gun manufacturers support gun safety measures.

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Juliet Eilperin

In response to the latest mass shooting during his presidency, President Obama is seriously considering circumventing Congress with his executive authority and imposing new background-check requirements for buyers who purchase weapons from high-volume gun dealers.



Thursday, October 8, 2015
Emma Court

The day before President Barack Obama heads to Oregon to meet with families of victims in the community college mass shooting, a group of about 30 clergy and community organizers gathered outside the White House, calling on President Barack Obama to “stop whining” and use his position to achieve gun control without Congress.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
E.J. Dionne Jr.

It’s not just Congress that fails to respond after another massacre briefly focuses attention on the irrationality and permissiveness of our country’s firearms statutes.

Those of us seeking change also regularly fall down on the job. We express outrage and move on, leaving the debate exactly where we found it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

NEARLY three years ago, in the days after the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama went to Newtown, Conn., to speak at a vigil for the victims. He spoke movingly, and seemed to embody the nation’s outrage and its determination to reduce the number of people killed with guns in America. “Do not lose heart,” he told the families of the victims. He said he would use “whatever power this office holds.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Port Chester tenants may be forced out to make way for luxury complex
Multi-million dollar company behind projects tells over 40 families living in affordable housing tower to relocate.

Friday, April 3, 2015
David McKay Wilson

United Hospital tenants fight developer for their homes
At United Hospital's residence tower, 43 families remain in the affordable-housing building, nine years after the hospital went bankrupt. They refuse to leave.

Saturday, January 17, 2015
Nicholas Kristof

BOULDER, Colo. — JUST after Christmas, Veronica Rutledge of Blackfoot, Idaho, took her 2-year-old son to a Walmart store to spend holiday gift cards. As they strolled by the electronics section, according to news reports, the toddler reached into his mom’s purse and pulled out a handgun that she legally carried. He pulled the trigger once and killed her.

The previous month, a 3-year-old boy in Washington State was shot in the face by a 4-year-old. Earlier, a 2-year-old boy in Pennsylvania shot and killed his 11-year-old sister.

About 20 children and teenagers are shot daily in the United States, according to a study by the journal Pediatrics.

Indeed, more preschool-age children (about 80 a year) are killed by guns each year than police officers are killed by guns (about 50), according to the F.B.I. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This toll is utterly unnecessary, for the technology to make childproof guns goes back more than a century. Beginning in the 1880s, Smith & Wesson (whose gun was used in the Walmart killing) actually sold childproof handguns that required a lever to be depressed as the trigger was pulled.

“No ordinary child under 8 years of age can possibly discharge it,” Smith & Wesson boasted at the time, and it sold half-a-million of these guns, but, today, it no longer offers that childproof option.

Click link below for full article

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Religious leaders from different faiths united Thursday to call for greater gun safety in the United States.

They descended upon the headquarters of a national gun group based in Connecticut, not far from the scene of the Sandy Hook massacre, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.

“I implore the National Shooting Sports Foundation to meet with us,” said Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown.

Praver stood alongside like-minded clergy from all over Connecticut. Yarmulkes were seen side by side with Roman collars and crosses in the town where a gunman killed 27 people — including 20 children — in December 2012.

It was a push for heightened gun safety.

Click link below for full article

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Westchester United, a consortium of congregations and community groups in Westchester County, today hosted gun violence victims police chiefs and elected officials at New Rochelle’s Lincoln Park, the site of a shooting last month where three people were injured.

Speakers included Mary Ann Watkins whose nephew was shot and killed in Yonkers this April and Deacon Nathaniel Adams, of Shiloh Baptist in New Rochelle, whose nephew was accidentally killed by an Automatic Rifle elsewhere along with clergy and police chiefs.

The group will announce the "Do No Stand Idly By Campaign", a national bloc of over 60 gun buying police departments seeking change in the gun industry.

The bloc is endorsed by New Rochelle, Port Chester, Rye Brook, as well as governors, mayors, county executives and police chiefs from over 60 jurisdictions in 13 states, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors including New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.

The event in New Rochelle was part of a series of coordinated events in several states where leaders and public officials sought to initiate a conversation with the major manufacturers of firearms serving the American market.


Monday, November 10, 2014

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — You could call it gun control without legislation. Local governments that buy handguns for their police departments are asking, as customers, for a change in the way that gun makers do business.

As CBS2’s Lou Young explained, the gun on a New Rochelle cop’s hip is a Glock semi-automatic. When it’s time to replace the weapon though, that just might change, depending on the attitude of the gun maker.

“We want to use the power of the market place. The power of the free market,” New Rochelle Mayor, Noam Bramson explained.

“We’re saying to Glock, embrace new technology to make guns smart. That only the persons legally responsible to use that gun can use it,” New Rochelle Police Commissioner, Pat Carroll said.

Carroll said that the technology exists and is on the market.

Glock and six other gun manufacturers are being targeted by a coalition of police departments, municipalities, and clergy members to help start dealing with the gun violence problem.

Smart gun technology that locks the weapon to unauthorized users is one avenue. The other is tracking inventory; 59 different jurisdictions are asking gun companies to produce distribution records.

“Since July we’ve taken 21 illegal handguns off the street and that’s troubling,” Chief Richard Conway, Port Chester Police Department, said.

Locally the multi-state effort entitled ‘Do not stand idly by’ was announced in the city, in Bridgeport, and in New Rochelle in an area that’s seen five shootings in recent weeks. The heartbreak of gun violence is everywhere.

“If we had smart guns no one could’ve operated that gun without the right identification,” Nathaniel Adams said.

Adams’ nephew was killed in a gun accident.

Rev. Mary Ann Wilkins lost her nephew to a Yonkers drive-by in May.

“My brother’s life will never be the same. His mother’s life will never be the same,” she said.

The Coalition of Gun Customers said that it got a warm reception from the people at Sturm-Ruger Arms in Connecticut, but the cold shoulder from Baretta and Glock, two of the most popular police and military handguns in the country. No one responded to a call for comment from CBS2.

Military and police gun purchases make up almost half of the $11.7-billion firearms industry in the U.S.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Noah Bramson

This coming Monday morning, I will join several elected officials, Police chiefs, and religious leaders from throughout our region, as we together call on gun manufacturers to partner with us to improve public safety.  Our press conference here in New Rochelle will be one of several around the country, all spearheaded by the “Do Not Stand Idly By” campaign, a nation-wide effort, endorsed by the U.S . Conference of Mayors, to utilize the gun purchasing power of the public sector to encourage common-sense safety measures.

With Congress unwilling or unable to act, this kind of grassroots, market-based approach offers an alternative means of making progress.  After all, law enforcement agencies account for 15% of all gun purchases in the U.S.

On Monday, participants in this effort will jointly issue a request for information to gun manufacturers — it’s a conversation starter aimed at: (1) keeping guns out of the wrong hands by setting standards for gun dealers; (2) bringing to market “smart gun” technology that allows only an authorized gun owner/user to fire; and (3) enhancing cooperation with law enforcement in tracing the firearms used in crimes.

There’s much more information in these press releases for our local event and for the national campaign.

30,000 Americans will be killed this year by firearms, and many of these deaths are preventable tragedies.  I hope gun manufacturers will work with us – their customers – to save lives, by ensuring that products purchased with taxpayer dollars are used to protect the public’s safety.


Friday, November 7, 2014
Pastor Jim O'Hanlon (Open Post)

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll will join dozens of Westchester United faith and community leaders at New Rochelle’s Lincoln Park.

Together they will publicly announce the Do No Stand Idly By Campaign: a national effort of community organizations building a bloc of gun buyers in the public sector – which buys 40 percent of the guns in America using tax dollars – to seek change in the gun industry. The bloc includes New Rochelle & Rye Brook, governors, mayors, county executives and police chiefs from 59 jurisdictions in 13 states, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The idea is simple: The manufacturers of guns have the power to reduce the number of Americans killed or injured by their products. As clients, we are asking them to use it.

On November 10, in coordinated events in several states, leaders and public officials will initiate a conversation with the major manufacturers of firearms serving the American market. We will announce our Request for Information, on behalf of the 59 participating jurisdictions, seeking their practices and capabilities in: safety technologies, distribution practices, and cooperation with law enforcement.

Deacon Nathaniel Adams of Shiloh Baptist Church said: “This effort is led by communities like mine who have buried too many children like my nephew and people who have been victimized like many of our church members.”

Monday, June 16, 2014
Randi Weiner

(Supporters gathered at St. Gabriel's in New Rochelle in support of mandatory kindergarten in New York. Photo courtesy of Adam Barbanel-Fried.)

Last week, supporters of a grass-roots effort to require kindergarten in New York rallied at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in New Rochelle to call on the state legislators to support a bill that would d just that.

The group, Westchester United, drew nearly 300 people to the church to thank state Sen. Jeff Klein for his support for Assembly bill 5786 and Senate bill S5056 and to ask other legislators to follow suit.

In speaking to the crowd, the Rev Bruce Baker of All Soul's Parish in Port Chester, said,  "We're asking Speaker (Sheldon) Silver and Governor (Andrew) Cuomo to do the same thing that over 40 states, New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and Utica have done: Guarantee Access to Kindergarten!"

Heriberto Contreras, of St Gabriel's Church, added, "With Senate Majority Leader Klein's full endorsement, we've made real progress in a world that's designed to obstruct and stop ordinary people like us from accomplishing anything."

Friday, June 13, 2014

NEW ROCHELLE - Parents are calling on state lawmakers to pass a bill that would guarantee children access to kindergarten programs throughout New York state.

More than 100 concerned parents occupied the auditorium last night at Saint Gabriel's Catholic Church in New Rochelle. Currently New York City, Rochester and Buffalo all provide kindergarten to young students. But, the programs aren't guaranteed in Westchester or Rockland.

Some parents say if the bill doesn't pass they won’t be able to afford private kindergarten for their children.

(Click link below  for video)

Call on Speaker Silver, Governor Cuomo to Guarantee Access Kindergarten!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Press Release:

Hundreds of Westchester United members call on Speaker Silver to Guarantee Kindergarten.

Since 2012, when some threatened to cut back on if not eliminate kindergarten, Westchester United has been working to Guarantee Access to kindergarten. Our bill, focusing on Westchester and Rockland Counties, is supported by the Westchester and Rockland assembly delegation, a growing chorus of Senators, including the Westchester Board of Legislators, and other groups.

Today we celebrate that Senate Majority Leader Jeff Klein agreed to sign on and work with Westchester United to work with us to bring our bill forward in the remaining days of the session.

(see PDF link for full text)

Group protests, demands state provide kindergarten

Friday, March 21, 2014

In all the hub-bub in Albany over New York City’s move to require pre-kindergarten programs for children, a grassroots group staged a protest Tuesday in Port Chester to demand the state require full-day kindergarten statewide.
Westchester United, a group of community, religious and parent-based child advocacy groups and individuals, pointed out that New York does not require kindergarten, even though every public school district in the state with an elementary school offers either half-day or full-day kindergarten.

As tax money becomes tighter, several districts have threatened to cut kindergarten out entirely.

Representatives from the organization have worked with state Rep. Amy Paulin to create a resolution to require kindergarten in public schools and convinced 25 state Assembly members to co-sponsor the bill, as well as Democratic and Independent Democratic Caucus members in the Senate.

That legislation is still in committee.

“Westchester United asks Speaker (Sheldon) Silver to bring it to the floor and calls on Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo to be the children’s lobbyist he promised to be and demonstrate his unequivocal support for kindergarten in general and full-day kindergarten in particular,” said Adam Barbanel-Fried, lead organizer for Tuesday’s protest.

“Westchester United asks: why is cutting kindergarten even an option?” he said.  The protest was held outside the Early Learning Center on Central Avenue in Port Chester at 2 p.m. and was designed to coincide with the end of the school day when parents pick up their youngsters.
Barbanel-Fried said his organization would continue to fight for full-day kindergarten for all public school students.

Residents ask Cuomo to assure kindergarten before pre-K

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Claire K. Racine

Claire K. Racine Reporter

About 25 parents and community members gathered to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to guarantee access to full-day kindergarten in front of John F. Kennedy School's Early Learning Center on Tuesday, Mar. 18.

Two years ago, the Port Chester School District considered closing the ELC and moving to half-day kindergarten in order to close a $2.1 million budget gap. Through concessions by the district's three bargaining units, full-day kindergarten was reinstated, but, with the New York State Tax Levy Cap still in effect, it is possible that half-day kindergarten-or the elimination of it entirely-could be considered again at a later date.

Westchester United, a countywide action network of synagogues, churches, mosques and other community organizations in Westchester, was founded by the late Father Steve Schenck of Holy Rosary Church in November 2011. Since its inception, the grassroots network has made the protection of kindergarten one of its tenets.

Rev. Bruce Baker of All Souls Parish speaks to parents and community members gathered on Tuesday, Mar. 18 about the need to demand full-day kindergarten from the governor.

The fact that Cuomo has proposed making full-day pre-kindergarten universal in New York inspired the group to mobilize.

"Ironically enough, while focusing on universal pre-K, NewYork is one of only a handful of states that does not guarantee access to kindergarten to its children," Rev. Bruce Baker of All Souls Parish said. "The terrible fact is that with costs rising and revenues shrinking, the temptation to reduce or eliminate kindergarten will only grow."

Guaranteeing-and hopefullyfunding-pre-K, would be great, he added, but it does not make sense without first addressing kindergarten. It is "like saying a child should read before he even knows his letters," Baker said.

Port Chester resident Teresa Pena stands in the cold with her son, Kevin Nieves, who will be a kindergartner next year, in order to showcase her support of full-day kindergarten.

Baker urged those gathered to ask Cuomo to support a New York State Assembly bill that requires kindergarten instruction for 5-year-olds in Rockland and Westchester counties. The bill, which is co-sponsored byAssemblyman Steve Otis who represents Port Chester and Rye Brook, is still in the education committee despite being initially introduced a year ago. A similar bill in the New York State Senate co-sponsored by Senator George Latimer, the other local state official, is also sitting in committee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As the push for universal prekindergarten in New York state makes headlines nearly every day, some educators and parents outside New York City are wondering if state leaders are getting ahead of themselves.

As CBS 2′s Lou Young reported, cash-strapped school districts have been cutting back on kindergarten classes — the only grade that is optional for school districts.

Research now shows that children should start school even earlier than kindergarten, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have separately been pushing proposals for universal full-day prekindergarten.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PORT CHESTER - A group in Westchester is fighting to guarantee that all 5-year-olds in the state get full-day kindergarten.

Dozens of parents and local community members from the group Westchester United gathered in Port Chester today to fight for the 5-year-olds in Westchester and Rockland counties.
According to the group, school districts across the state have considered cutting back on kindergarten in the last few years.  Some, they say, have even threatened to eliminate it entirely.
By law, school districts are not required to provide the curriculum, but Westchester United members say it's no excuse.

"The earlier a child gets into an educational program, the greater chance they have to succeed, and have higher graduation rates," says the Rev. Bruce Baker.

A bill to allow full-time kindergarten in both counties is currently being debated in the state Assembly.

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Casey Donahue

RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- The Rye Brook Police Department has joined an effort to encourage gun manufacturers to play a part in reducing gun violence.

The effort is spearheaded by Metro Industrial Areas Foundation and its local affiliate, Westchester United, a network of churches, synagogues and other faith-based community organizations who work together to generate social change. The groups are working to form coalitions of communities to begin conversations with gun manufacturers about safer gun distribution practices and ways to reduce gun violence.

Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sister Ana Maria Causa & Rev. Bruce Baker

As anybody who reads local papers knows, there is an important political contest taking place in New York politics. The mayor and governor are arguing how to fund a full expansion to universal pre-kindergarten (UPK). Each side is holding firm, making moves, counter moves. The resolution of this conflict is important, not just for the game of politics between New York’s governor and New York City’s mayor, but for the future of all of New York State’s children. While we are waiting for this game of thrones to continue, it’s important to pose two questions to the state’s key players in this debate that remain, in our mind, unanswered.

The first is for Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Silver. While the mayor and governor are focused on a universal full-day pre-k plan, the governor and Legislature have failed to plug another hole: protecting access in the state to kindergarten. That’s right. New York State is one of only eight states in the nation that does not guarantee kindergarten to all of its families. When districts’ budgets get tight, as they did two years ago, school districts in lower income communities all across the state consider cutting back to half-day kindergarten. Some did, and some threatened to eliminate kindergarten all together. With costs rising and revenues shrinking, the temptation to reduce or eliminate kindergarten will only grow.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s staff claims that $100 million next year will jump-start prekindergarten, but most estimates indicate that New York City alone needs much more than that.

Sunday, December 15, 2013
Pastor Jim O'Hanlon

Newtown: A Year Later
by Pastor Jim O'Hanlon 

Like many parents, dropping my children off at school last December was a stressful experience. 

After last year's tragedy in Newtown I felt an urgency about the need for common sense gun regulations.  It was quickly apparent that any new Federal regulations were unlikely and while some states took action that alone was never going to be as effective.  The idea that we needed armed guards at our schools was not really a solution to my mind. 

When politics fails people need to look for other options.  Westchester United is a coalition of houses of faith and other community organizations in conversation about the problems we see, the issues that are causing them and the solutions that we could bring to reality if we worked together.  For several months Westchester United and other community groups have been in dialogue with law enforcement and finding common cause on gun violence.  We need to find some way of addressing this issue that will bring together some people who want new gun laws and some people who don't want government to impose a solution.  We need to seek broader coalitions beyond these competing groups.   We believe that working in concert, law enforcement agencies could ask for industry standards that would be required for any of their vendors.  Gun manufacturers are selling to law enforcement and at the same time, without better restrictions, they are ultimately supplying criminals.  Many law enforcement officials have expressed an interest in asking their vendors to be more conscientious and to voluntarily adopt better standards with regard to the kinds of weapons they sell commercially.
Members of Westchester United have been reaching out to gun manufacturers to start a dialogue about how they could impose their own standards and work to get these restrictions to be industry wide.  Some of these corporations have been uninterested in responding to these requests for opening up this conversation with us.  Westchester United along with similar faith-based community groups have taken to organizing themselves to get their voice heard.  
On Wednesday I joined an interfaith group representing faith communities from NYC, Westchester and New Jersey.  Nine of us stopped at a retail outlet for Beretta, a gun manufacturer. We went there to do what letters, faxes and phone calls could not: get an answer to a request for a meeting.  We delivered a letter to the store manager and explained that a small delegation of colleagues were at that very moment in Italy as part of an effort to reach the owner, Ugo Beretta.  That group, representing The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) have been attending meetings with representatives of the Vatican, the European Union, as well as Smart gun entrepreneurs.

Working together as Christians, Jews, Muslims, other faiths and other concerned people we hope to find a way to solve this seemingly intractable problem.  We hope to do this without paid lobbyists, without partisan rhetoric and without unnecessary or counterproductive confrontation.  We intend, however, to be persistent about starting a conversation because we believe that people meeting face to face can bring the change we need.  At the very least we cannot just give up on the effort or lose hope in our ability to work together.  After all the incidents, especially in our schools, there has to be a way forward.  As the scripture says, "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" - Leviticus 19:16.   --       -
     Pastor Jim O'Hanlon

Do Not Stand Idly By makes headlines in Italy!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Un anno fa la strage di Newtown. Negli Usa le armi uccidono 30 mila persone

Un anno fa la strage della Sandy Hook elementary school, in Connecticut. A Brescia la delegazione di Metro IAF, un network di 2.500 realtà contro la proliferazione delle armi, chiede alla Beretta di introdurre misure per regolamentare il mercato

11 dicembre 2013

MILANO - Le armi, anche quelle griffate Beretta, ogni anno uccidono negli Stati Uniti più di 30 mila persone. È il dato raccolto da Metro Industrial Areas Fpundation (Matro IAF), un network che coinvolge 2.500 realtà americane, tra congregazioni religiose, sindacati e associazioni.

"Do not stand idly by", "Non staremo indifferenti": questo il nome che il coordinamento ha dato ad una campagna per promuovere un controllo nella vendita di armi. Un tour che li porta anche in Europa, dal 9 al 14 dicembre, perché le tre aziende con cui si uccide di più negli States vengono dal Vecchio Continente. Sono soprattutto armi dell'italiana Beretta (con cui sono state uccise due persone nella strage di Bringhampton del 2009 e nove a Brookfield, nel 2005), dell'austriaca Glock e della svizzero tedesca SIG Saur, le case produttrici delle pistole con cui Adam Lanza, il 14 dicembre di un anno fa ha ucciso 20 bambini della Sandy Hook elementary school di Newtown, in Connecticut, altri sei adulti e poi si è tolto la vita. A quasi anno di distanza, i rappresentanti di Metro IAF, l'11 dicembre, fanno tappa a Brescia, ospiti dell'Opal, l'Osservatorio permanente armi leggere. "Abbiamo organizzato una conferenza stampa congiunta per chiedere che la Beretta adotti delle misure che potrebbero ridurre il numero di vittime da armi da fuoco e regolamentare il mercato", spiega Piergiulio Biatta, presidente di Opal.

Nel documento, Metro IAF chiede ai produttori di dotare le armi di nuove tecnologie, come un sistema per il blocco del grilletto e di inserire microchip all'interno dell'arma per poterne tracciare gli spostamenti e impedire che finisca nelle mani del crimine organizzato. Beretta in più si dovrebbe occupare di riacquistare le armi per evitare che finiscano vendute attraverso piattaforme on line come ebay, casualità molto frequente negli States. Metro IAF ha raccolto questi suggerimenti dalle polizie locali degli Stati Uniti, ma sembra che alle aziende produttrici questo non importi: "Le ditte ostacolano l'uso di queste tecnologie perché aumentano i costi e limitano il business delle armi", commenta Biatta.

Metro IAF aggiunge a questo un'attività di lobby affinché Beretta e le altre smettano di usare una "doppia politica" con Europa e Stati Uniti. Negli States, dove la normativa è più morbida, le aziende di armi non si danno la minima autoregolamentazione nella vendita. Quando il Maryland ha provato ad avvicinarsi al modello europeo e rendere più difficile la possibilità di ottenere il porto d'armi, la Beretta Usa per tutta risposta ha minacciato di spostare la sede dell'azienda in un altro Stato. Il vescovo della Chiesa battista di Baltimora, una delle città più violente degli States, Douglas I. Miles ha scritto a Ugo Gussalli Beretta, presidente dell'armeria il 5 dicembre nella speranza di poter fissare un incontro e discutere del tema. "I principali produttori come Beretta possono aiutare a ridurre la violenza armata", scrive Miles. Peccato che la missiva non abbia mai ricevuto risposta. "Come osservatorio, quello che possiamo fare è continuare a fare pressione affinché gli Stati rispettino le loro norme sulla vendita degli armamenti", aggiunge Biatta. (lb)

© Copyright Redattore Sociale


Monday, December 9, 2013
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

The days after the Newtown massacre, I, like so many religious and civic leaders, had the difficult task of meeting with scared parents and frightened students about the school shooting. There was nothing I could say that could possibly console them or alleviate all of their fears. My role was primarily one of listening and helping people find words to describe what they were feeling.

In many streams of Jewish thought, as in many other traditions, reflection is thought to be the basis for action. Careful, thoughtful, concerted action in response to what we learn through the reflective process. To the dismay of many, we as a country have not taken decisive action to prevent gun violence.

Gun violence has continued. I and many others feel far too passive as we watch the news and see story after story about it.

But a group of thoughtful clergy is taking it upon themselves not just to talk the talk, hold the hands, and hug the grieving, but to walk the walk -- and in this case take the flight and try new approaches to preventing gun violence.

Four clergy members, in collaboration with a representative from the Industrial Areas Foundation, will visit Germany, Italy, and Austria from December 9-13 as a first step in getting the ear of gun manufacturers. They come with the promise that many, many more clergy will follow suit if they are not received and heard.

Their goals are straightforward:

  • Meet with executives at the major gun manufacturers Glock, SIG Sauer, and Baretta, as well as officials, policymakers, and local leaders.
  • Learn more about European efforts to develop the relatively "safe gun" and firearms tracing technologies.
  • Discuss the importance of conditions placed on firearms export licenses from Europe to the U.S.

In taking this trip, the clergy also hope to honor the memories of those whose lives were lost in Newtown, and the thousands of other victims of gun violence in our communities.

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher is a friend and mentor and will be one of the clergy leading this trip. His connection to gun violence -- and passion for preventing it -- is both religiously motivated and deeply personal. Nearly 15 years ago, his father Lester was murdered at his place of work outside of Chicago. The hurt, the pain, the enduring loss is one that Rabbi Mosbacher knows to well.

But what he also embodies is a desire to harness the hurt and pain he has experienced, temper it with careful thought, and marshal it through concerted action. It is a remarkable model not only of leadership, but also of the courage we must muster to live out our values.

So many of us have directly or indirectly been affected by gun violence. So many of us understand at a personal, spiritual, and social level the insoluble pain that gun violence can cause. A year after Newtown, we are still overdue to put actions to match our words, gather for change to match our gatherings for prayer and healing.

We do honor to those lost when we live differently in homage to their memories. May their memories ever be for a blessing, as well as a call for much-needed change.

The pilgrimage of clergy representatives to Europe is but a beginning.