Signs Of Love, Signs Of Freedom

To the Editor:

I would like to address Timothy Stan’s letter to the editor dated 9/10/13.  I don’t know him personally.  But to start, I would like to acknowledge and thank him for all the good he has done and continues to do for our community.  That being said, I find it baffling that he has singled out the slogan “We Are Newtown – We Choose Freedom”.  And I find it appalling that he claims that it makes it difficult for The Sandy Hook Project to carry out its mission and has negatively impacted the community.

I doubt it’s coincidental that this is the first time he is speaking out against someone using the likeness of his message/sign.  This is hardly the first time it has been used as template:  http://tinyurl.com/Example-of-Same-Format

In fact, the exact signs that he distributed were repeatedly and excessively used politically to push for gun control: http://tinyurl.com/lnbmco7; http://tinyurl.com/o8cunup; http://tinyurl.com/lw4u3wu.

There are countless other examples.  I can’t imagine Mr Stan has been oblivious to them all.  In fact, I’d bet he is acutely aware, more so than anyone else.  If he was truly concerned with the likeness of his sign being used with political motives he should have spoken up long ago.

Let’s also keep it in perspective; he altered a slogan from a college football team that faced a tragedy, as in: We Are Marshall.  It was a very powerful message and is prevalent in pop culture.  In addition, nothing here is copyrighted or trademarked in any way. 

The point I am getting at is that it is seemingly impossible to escape the fact that pro-gun advocates are being singled out here.  The most troubling aspect is the disdain or accusatory sentiment used. The notion that this simple bumper sticker is negatively impacting the community is preposterous. Yet accusations like this are common nowadays.  And I believe that was the exact intent behind “We Are Newtown – We Choose Freedom” in the first place.  People would like to express the fact that they too feel the same pain and face the same struggles.  That even though they believe in certain freedoms does not mean they are callous or heartless. 

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire to keep such a positive message unadulterated and pure.  Personally, I think that ship sailed long ago. In order to prevent people from making incorrect assumptions, I did not create the slogan or the bumper stickers. I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy in demanding others to be politically neutral when the demand in and of itself is not neutral.

Brian Belous

7 Curry Drive, Newtown                    September 12, 2013

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