Sen. Kruse Weighs in Oh-So-Delicately on the Politics of Gun Safety

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Looks like the heated debate over gun laws has made its way into Sen. Jeff Kruse’s newsletters–and he’s making sure his constituents are subjected to every blow by blow.

kruseSenator Kruse (Roseburg SD-1) sent an email January 16 weighing in on the gun safety debate during a time of extraordinarily raw emotion. Both the Clackamas mall shooting and the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings were fresh in people’s minds, in Oregon and nation-wide.

Kruse’s “delicate” handling of the situation began like so:

“The issue I have received the most email traffic on over the last few weeks has been guns.  People are using a tragedy to attempt to move a political agenda.  This is the type of politics I don’t like, but it clearly exists.”

Translation: I don’t like what you’re asking me to address.

He continued: “When planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center was our reaction to ban planes?”

Translation: Let me use a tragedy to attempt to move my political agenda.

guns-mental-health-care

Cartoon by Nick Anderson

And continued: “If one looks at the profiles of the shooters we have had in school shootings over the last few years one would find the vast majority have been young middle class white males.  While we can talk about mental health issues and a number of other risk factors, there clearly is no simple answer.  One could make the case, however, that these young men are looking for their moment of fame or notoriety however convoluted that might be.  I think one can also assume these are people with at least a moderate level of intelligence. ”

After further describing his personal opposition to any type of gun safety regulations or controls, the email ended.

Except… not really. Because Sen. Kruse apparently got some volume of response from his constituents over the next few days, who were understandably upset by his communications.

Check out how that unfolded.

On January 18, Sen. Kruse sent this to his constituents:

For those who responded with, basically, the response to violence should be love my response is, wouldn’t it be wonderful if that would work.  I would submit, however, that if someone broke into your house and pointed a gun at your head telling them you loved them would probably not get you the result you wanted…

For those who say limiting the number of bullets in a magazine or banning semi-automatic weapons are reasonable approaches, you need a higher level of understanding. …

As I have stated more gun laws are not the answer.

Then, on January 23:

I thought I was finished with this topic for a little while, but one of the responses I received has triggered some additional thoughts.

Here is verbatim the entirety of this one email.  “YOU NEED A HIGHER LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING, YOU CONDESCENDING DOLT.  WE ARE TRYING TO EVOLVE HERE.  STOP HOLDING US BACK.”

My first question would be, evolve to what?  I have no answer and actually find such a statement to be somewhat troubling…

A random thought has occurred to me, however, and I think it is worth consideration.  It is the role of the media on this issue.  It is clear the people committing these acts are at least on some level seeking notoriety and their “moment in the sun.”

Holy smokes!

In case you need the cliff notes, let’s recap: Sen. Kruse sent an email to his constituents on a deeply important issue. He got responses. He dismissed those responses, and got some more. His final response? ‘I don’t understand you people, but my random thoughts are worthier of considering during this debate than any number of concerned emails from the people I represent.’

Well. Here’s to a long session, full of legislative newsletters that I’m guessing will continue to be, ah, entertaining to say the least.

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