Newtown victim’s daughter: ‘Joe The Plumber’ comments are typical for gun extremists
The daughter of one of the victims of the December 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, skewered former Republican political figure Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher in an op-ed for The Daily Beast on Thursday, pointing to him as one example of callousness by a certain type of gun enthusiast.
“His comments quite clearly encapsulate the id of the small faction of extremists who are influencing our country’s gun laws,” Erica Lafferty wrote, describing his sentiment as follows: “Your loss doesn’t matter if it inconveniences me one bit. Gun violence may be real — and it may be 20 times worse here than in any other developed country — but I don’t have a solution for it, except to buy more guns and intimidate more victims.”
On Monday, Wurzelbacher, best known for supporting 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), responded to the mass shooting last weekend in Isla Vista, California, with a post saying in part, “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”
Wurzelbacher said in the post that “gun-grab extremists” would seize upon statements by Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was among those killed, criticizing lawmakers for their unwillingness to push for stronger gun safety laws.
“It’s actually refreshing to see his comments so unvarnished, so closely removed from this poor kid’s murder,” Lafferty wrote. “And I wouldn’t have dignified his disgusting comments with a response if it didn’t follow such a disturbing pattern among gun extremists in this country.”
Lafferty, whose mother, Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Hochsprung was among the 26 victims in that attack, said the choice to push for tighter gun regulations often leads to public harassment for activists like Jennifer Longdon, who is paralyzed after a 2004 attack.
“During a trip to the NRA convention this year, a gun extremist recognized her at the Indianapolis airport,” Lafferty said of Longdon. “He had seen her face on TV, and decided to spit on her as retribution. Years earlier, Jennifer got home from a gun violence prevention event and found another gun extremist waiting for her at her front door. He pointed a water-gun in her face and said, ‘Don’t you wish you had a gun now, bitch?’ before taking off.”
However, Lafferty said, most of the gun owners she has met since becoming a gun safety advocate, including National Rifle Association members, are “good, smart, compassionate people,” pointing out that the vast majority of the public have supported tougher background checks since the Sandy Hook attack.
Lafferty also defended Martinez’s public statements since his son’s death.
“Those of us who join the club of gun violence survivors do it unwillingly,” she wrote. “Sadly, membership has never been higher.”