Home

Letter To The Editor Brings Fame To Sandy Hook Resident

Some writers devote a lifetime to creating the perfect opus, agonizing over every word, crafting each phrase, and breathing life into characters. Yet that pinnacle of achievement remains elusive. Then there are others, like Brendan Duffy, who are catapulted to fame doing what Mr Duffy said anybody could have done: he wrote a letter to the editor of his hometown newspaper, The Newtown Bee.

That letter, which was given the title “Elected Officials Are Fundamentally Dishonest” by The Bee editor, and published January 10, 2013, in the Letter Hive, has generated more than 100 letters and phone calls to the Sandy Hook resident, and as of March 17, he said, had surfaced in nearly 225,000 hits on Google and 490,000 hits on Yahoo.

Forwarded to President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senators Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal, and Harry Reid, and Representative Elizabeth Esty, as well, the letter succinctly stated Mr Duffy’s opinions on health care, abortion, the federal budget, and gun legislation, and left to no one’s imagination his low regard for today’s politicians.

He was not surprised that the letter was published in The Bee, he said, feeling that the local paper does a fair job of publishing letters covering many viewpoints, but he was completely taken off guard to find that his January 10 letter had reached an audience far beyond what he imagined when he penned the words. Of the 18 to 20 letters Mr Duffy estimates he has written to, and had published in, The Bee since moving to Sandy Hook in 2004, none has come remotely close to evoking the response of “Elected Officials Are Fundamentally Dishonest.” If he received two or three phone calls over the years, that would be a lot, he said.

People in 28 states have contacted him by mail and e-mails, phone calls, texts, and of course, online. “People [who contacted me] spoke of courage, but I didn’t feel the least bit courageous when I wrote that letter. I was irritated,” Mr Duffy said. That people responded so positively to his comments was also a surprise, he said. “I haven’t gotten any hate mail, in any of the just over 100 responses. The letters I received, some were tear jerking, they were so emotional.”

In looking over the posts online, Mr Duffy said that again and again he has read words to the effect that they were surprised this letter was published in its entirety. “I assume it’s a reflection of their own dissatisfaction with trying to get letters published [in their own local newspapers],” he said.

It is his experience, said Mr Duffy, that when reading items on the Internet, two things tend to catch one’s eyes. “One is the title,” he said, and the title assigned by The Bee to his letter was accurate and catchy. Where a piece originates is also attractive to those surfing the Web, he said, and he does not doubt that his Sandy Hook, CT address, now a place that rolls off the tongues of people worldwide since the tragedy at Sandy Hook School on December 14, caught the attention of many readers.

Because 12/14 has evoked opposition to the sales and possession of certain firearms and ammunitions, a fair portion of Mr Duffy’s January 10 letter focused on the rights of citizens “to protect themselves against tyrannical government” and providing a “balanced firepower” between citizens and government. The “power grab that is present day Washington” is a threat, stated Mr Duffy, and among other things, puts the citizen ownership of guns at risk. That today’s politicians lie, lead lives of deception, and govern indifferently is distasteful to him, and for the many who responded to his letter, said Mr Duffy, that seemed also true.

Placing focus in the right place is important, Mr Duffy said. His overriding concern, in expressing his views, is the hope that something like 12/14 never happens again. “It is a horrifying experience for our town, and for these people [who lost family members],” he said. In an e-mail to The Bee, Mr Duffy clarified that “armed security for our kids is the absolute least we owe them, and other solutions may arise as well ... inasmuch as Adam Lanza is an abhorrent statistical anomaly, his actions are not unprecedented, nor likely to never be repeated ... solutions will not arise form the politicians we have turned to for the very reason I stated ... they are dishonest at their core.”

While his Sandy Hook address may have been the initial hook for some readers online, ultimately Mr Duffy feels people reacted to the substance of his letter. The responses in letters he received were two-fold, he said. “Most that responded to me have expressed support of the statement I made regarding the Second Amendment and gun control issues, probably about two-thirds of the people,” Mr Duffy said. “The other is utter disgust at government officials.”

One of the benefits available to politicians on both sides is a national media not interested in reporting the truth, Mr Duffy said, and that his letter was printed in a newspaper was astounding to those who commented. “I think people did react to the fact that they are not getting the straight scoop from the media, and to the feelings that dishonesty in government is prevalent.”

His own experience proves that a single opinion can be far-reaching, though, and his optimism is shared in a letter of response to those who reached out to him. “As evidenced by my letter,” Mr Duffy said, “through the magic of the Internet, letters to hometown newspapers can have an impact. They can introduce people to thinking and viewpoints they might otherwise not have. They can expose the fallacy and fraudulence of modern, progressive, liberal thinking and policies. They can change people’s thinking and how they vote.”

Fame is fleeting, Mr Duffy is aware, but his time in the limelight has resonated with others. “I’m very humbled by the kind words expressed in so many communications,” he wrote to his correspondents. “Far more important, I am encouraged that so many people seem to believe what I believe, regarding our great country.”

More stories like this: 12/14, guns, Brendan Duffy, government

Comments

My 'Actual" response to Mr. Duffy

Brian, Your needless pontificating tirade aside, my response to Mr. Duffy's article is simply this:

" that the idea of "guns" being effective against "government Tyranny" was "antiquated", NOT the guns themselves. Your idea that our government can't be trusted not to turn on us regular citizens, well get out the tin foil. You need a new hat!
What I did say, and truly believe is, "A large majority of governments all over the world have the technology to have to blown you off the face of the earth or even vaporized before you even know they are anywhere near your state or town, never mind in your sights where any type of gun you own will be of any use."!
Can you say NUKE??? The issues these days are not over land/territory. Any foreign tyrannical government wants US GONE, not subdued! Get a grip pal. You call me "childish and naive "?? This is not the 18th or 19th century where battles were over who is going to rule the people or own the land. American genocide is what they would have to do if they were to attempt anything. The US retaliation would blow them off the face of the earth and not one gun would have been drawn. That was the entire point of my original comment!!!

wrong spot.

wrong spot.

Thanks for your feedback

Karlene:

Great points....you've convinced me!

Brendan

I was born and raised in Newtown

"Because 12/14 has evoked opposition to the sales and possession of certain firearms and ammunitions, a fair portion of Mr Duffy’s January 10 letter focused on the rights of citizens “to protect themselves against tyrannical government” and providing a “balanced firepower” between citizens and government. The “power grab that is present day Washington” is a threat, stated Mr Duffy, and among other things, puts the citizen ownership of guns at risk."

SERIOUSLY??? “to protect themselves against "tyrannical government” ??? "balanced firepower"?? You can't be serious!! The vast majority of governments all over the world have the technology to have to blown you off the face of the earth or even vaporized before you even know they are anywhere near your state or town, never mind in your sights where any type of gun you own will be of any use. I am sick to death of hearing and reading this utter nonsense that guns are needed to "protect against a tyrannical government"!! The very idea and certainly any probability that guns would be of any use in such instance has long become seriously antiquated. It is pure ridiculous rhetoric used in order to keep unspeakably deadly weapons capable of mass murder in a matter of seconds on the market simply because they are "so much fun" to fire on a gun range! Any other excuse is just that, a POOR "EXCUSE"! There is not one weapon of any kind that is legal in this country to anyone but the military, that would do anything against ANY "tyrannical government". Guns needed to hunt, protect your home and family, or even target practice, do NOT need to have 30-100+ round clip capacity. Please stop using the old sorry excuse of needing them to protect yourself against a "tyrannical government". It is virtually impossible. As a result of this idiocy, these guns capable of what Adam Lanza did, will still be available to all of the Adam Lanzas of this country.
Wake up before it's too late. Stop deluding yourselves that those guns are useful in any other way than what Adam Lanza used his mother's to do. Commit mass murder!!!

Karlene 'Bresson' Blaser

PS Yes, Adam Lanza lived and murdered his mother in the housing development that now sits behind my childhood home and was once my family's farm land.

How hypocritical.

Want to talk about non-sense? How can you call a class of weapons "unspeakably deadly weapons capable of mass murder" and then consider them useless and antiquated? It can't be both. Are they too deadly... Or too useless... Which is it?

I can tell that you are uninformed about firearms, so maybe I can explain a little to you. A semi-automatic rifle (what you are now calling an assault weapon) comes in many different forms. Although, a true assault rifle is fully-automatic. An "assault weapon" is a fabricated term by politicians to scare people like you. From the scary looking AR-15 to a older styled Browning BAR Mark II. The term "assault weapon" is a joke. They do not fire any faster then a simple hand gun, nor do they have a potential for higher capacity. A gun that accepts external magazines (or a clip haha) can have almost any bullet capacity. I.E, a handgun magazine can be attached that holds 100+ rounds as well. Empirical evidence supports the claim that magazine size and weapon type have no correlation with the 'deadliness' of a mass shooting. Virginia Tech is a good example.

So in essence, what you (and many of our current leaders) are saying: Any gun that looks scary is too dangerous for American citizens to posses. Ignoring the fact that they aren't any more dangerous than 'non-assault weapons' you would "ALLOW" citizens to keep. But you want them banned because you saw a couple purely evil monsters use a similar weapon to cause immense harm to individuals. Then what? When violent crimes fail to decrease and when mass-murders are still occurring - you will then turn to the next class of weapons. The AWB from 1994 was proven to have NO impact on gun violence. There is no end to it.

You ignore facts, statistics and history. Mass murders are not isolated to 'assault weapons', they have been carried out with bombs, handguns, knives, etc... And they are a statistically insignificant form of crime. The formation of gun-free zones are truly what put people (especially children) at risk. 12/14 made that fact perfectly clear - yet you simply dismiss it.

Your view of tyranny is childish at best. You envision households with semi-automatic guns waging war against opposing armies with tanks and missals. So then you conclude that there is no point to owning one - a person with a semi-automatic gun cannot take down an army. Which is true. But what you are dismissing is, no force in the world can control a nation as large as the continental US by force if its citizens are armed. If you look at history the only way to effectively control by force is to disarm the citizens.

By your logic: you would say that under current conditions there is no threat to us being controlled by force. After all, we trust our government and the military is strong enough to protect us from external forces, right? You are naive if you think that those facts are absolute. Globalization is shifting power throughout the world. There is no guarantee that the US can remain a global leader in the future. An armed society also helps ensure that any war waged against us will not be fought on US soil.

Why do you insist we ignore the root of the problem. The fact of the matter is that behind every gun is a person. That person is not committing immoral acts simply because they have the means to do so. Besides, we do not realistically have the ability to strip all wrong doers of the means to carry out their ill will. Any body promising that they can do that is a flat-out liar.

Reading Comprehension vs Needless Pontification

brian,

Maybe you should read "exactly" what I wrote a few more times! At no time did I specify that the "rifles" like the AR-15 are the 'only' legal weapons capable of firing mass quantities of bullets via high volume "magazines"(haha back atcha). I never mentioned the AR-15 OR "A semi-automatic rifle (what you are now calling an assault weapon)"!! I never wrote any of that!! I do realize that there is a variety of handguns with the same capability. I am not some young chickie who just fell of the turnip truck. I have been around guns all my life. My father, brothers, uncles and several of my cousins were/are hunters, gun enthusiasts, and collectors. That farm land also had bountiful woodlands that were great for hunting. I also have a son in law that was a Marine for 8 yrs. He owns several serious handguns. All have high ammo capacity. So you typed your little superior fingers to the bone for naught on that account! I never said to take ANY guns away! I do think there should be a restriction on "magazine" capacity size! Reloading a new magazine is how the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was ultimately thwarted. He was jumped by victims and bystanders while he was about to reload, thus ending his shooting spree. See any value in that? I think a lot of people in that Tucsan shopping center that day do! He had multiple 31 round magazine/clips whatever. Had he only 10, the desired limit, he would not have been able to shoot 20 people, killing 6 and leaving 13 others with varying degrees of wounds.

Next, I said that the idea of "guns" being effective against "government Tyranny" was "antiquated", NOT the guns themselves. Your idea that our government can't be trusted not to turn on us regular citizens, well get out the tin foil. You need a new hat!
What I did say, and truly believe is, "A large majority of governments all over the world have the technology to have to blown you off the face of the earth or even vaporized before you even know they are anywhere near your state or town, never mind in your sights where any type of gun you own will be of any use."!
Can you say NUKE??? The issues these days are not over land/territory. Any foreign tyrannical government wants US GONE, not subdued! Get a grip pal. You call me "childish and naive "?? This is not the 18th or 19th century where battles were over who is going to rule the people or own the land. American genocide is what they would have to do if they were to attempt anything. The US retaliation would blow them off the face of the earth and not one gun would have been drawn. That was the entire point of my original comment!!!

So, since you obviously read more into what I wrote. Didn't actually read or comprehend it in its entirety before your oh so superior lecture. I suggest maybe you might want to do the little things like that before you go blasting anyone with your extremely youthful and in this case, seriously misguided lesson on weapons, history, and current events.

I know that you are a 'transplant' in Newtown and didn't actually grow up there, so therefore it is not actually your hometown. It's not your roots. Well, I attended Sandy Hook School. I graduated from Newtown High. Newtown has been my hometown for more than half a century. My family has been in Newtown for over 150 years. Countless numbers of my immediate and extended family still live there. I had family in the school at the time of the shooting. Cousins' grandchildren. A good friend's grandson and the wife of a an old friend was one of the surviving teachers. Like 91% of this country, we want increased gun control. The more guns there are, the more shootings there are. Ya, logic. Go figure! I had no intention of going there with my original comment. You obviously needed to rant about your opinions on guns in general and so you did. It really had little to nothing to do with what I originally said!

RE: Reading Comprehension vs Needless Pontification

Knowing people who are gun enthusiasts and having a son in law who was in the military does not mean you know squat about firearms.

Here are a few things flagging your ignorance on the topic of gun control:

1) You called a magazine a clip.
2) You think the "vast majority" of governments have nuclear weapons. They don't.
3) You called your son in law's pistols "serious handguns". As if serious was a classification for firearms, and there are non-serious ones. They are all potentially deadly.
4) After I pointed out your use of clip - you say "magazine/clip whatever". Clearly you don't even care to be informed.
5) You still say "there is a variety of handguns with the same capability" - No, ALL handguns that accept external magazines have, so called high capacity capability.
6) You said "Like 91% of this country, we want increased gun control". That statement screams ignorance - at best. Possibly you are being intentionally dishonest.
7) You say "The more guns there are, the more shootings there are." Which, first of all, you cannot prove. Look at Chicago, D.C., NYC compared to places like Florida and Texas. And secondly, even if it were true - it is skewed because violent crimes is the true indicator of safety. Isolating the most convenient form of violent crime is misleading and inaccurate.

So anyone with any intelligence can 'read more' into your post to see your lack of knowledge on the subject.

Apparently my reading comprehension is a little better than you might think. Especially since you don't even know what you - yourself said:
"these guns capable of what Adam Lanza did".
"Stop deluding yourselves that those guns are useful".
"Guns needed to hunt, protect your home and family, or even target practice, do NOT need to have 30-100+ round clip capacity".
Three times you talked about the GUNS. Not magazines (or in your case clips haha).

You offered a poor example to prove your case on magazine size. You mentioned Jared Loughner because he was stopped while reloading. It came down to dumb luck (as it almost always does) that he happened to drop the magazine while reloading. Saying "Had he only 10, the desired limit, he would not have been able to shoot 20 people" is a flat out lie! You do not know that, and there has not been a single study to support your false claim. In fact, the panel that reviewed the VT shooting concluded that magazine size would not make much of a difference. But a single example would hardly be sufficient to justify such restrictive laws.

Are you seriously saying that we should give up more and more of our liberties simply to make mass murders a tiny, little bit more difficult? Then we sit back and just hope for some good luck? IF, magazine size were to make significant difference in the deadliness of a mass killing (which it wouldn't), I can tell you with certainty that these sociopaths will find other ways. Whether it is by breaking one more law and obtaining a high capacity magazine or by practicing reloading until they are flawless in the transition.

So to recap - there is a call to ban all magazines holding more than 10 bullets with zero factual, statistical or empirical evidence that it will make any sort of positive impact. All you have are loose, non-scientific biased theories you personally believe would work. You want to continue with failed policies like the 1994 AWB. Makes perfect sense :/

If you had any knowledge or experience with firearms, you would know that there is a very good chance 10 rounds would not be enough to protect yourself. Whether it is a home invasion, a robbery or an attempted rape. Moving targets can be especially hard to hit. That is the very reason police officers carry what you call high capacity magazines. Because they are practical and not excessive.

It's bizarre that you continually brag about your Newtown "roots" when talking about gun control. You are correct-I am what you want to characterize as a transplant. I CHOSE and continue to CHOOSE to live in Newtown. In fact, most people do no live in their hometown their entire life, as you probably know. It is hilarious that you bring that up for the second time considering the fact that you are a MA resident. You are pathetically stretching to validate your opinion despite the fact that ther make no sense.

I try to believe that we are all well-intentioned and rational. That we want what is best for everyone and simply have different ideas on how to accomplish that. There is a big difference between those who argue for something they believe is righteous (regardless if they are right or wrong) and then there are those who are narcissistic, irresponsible, and oblivious.

Let me point out that you grew up protected by your armed family members. You rely on police officers to protect you with their firearms. That sort of safety has caused many people to feel so protected that they don't seem to live in the real, sometimes brutal and evil world. They take it for granted. Now you are pointing your finger at everyone who has worked to provide a safe world for their family - those who are doing it the same way your family did for you. You are saying they can't be trusted unless they have a badge. You are saying that your son in law, who was a member of the military and devoted himself to the protecting all of us, can be handed real assault weapons and trusted to use it against enemy forces.... yet when he returned home he couldn't be trusted with more that 10 rounds in a magazine???

You appear to be so far gone that you can't even see the harm being caused by the very policies you advocate. You only had the courage to admit to magazine bans - but your opinion is clear in a single quote: "The more guns there are, the more shootings there are." The children who were robbed of their lives and a future on 12/14 were solely targeted because they were seen as easy prey - because they were in a 'Gun-Free Zone'. Snap back to reality and take responsible for endangerment that the policies you support directly cause. Am I being too presumptuous in thinking that you support gun free zones?

I am not fighting for my right to bear arms because I want to hunt (which many people are justified in that reason) or because I have some conspiracy theory of US invasion or internal tyranny. I fight for it because I believe it is the right thing to do as a member of society and as an American. There is no single specific reason. But rather, there is a collection of philosophical ideas and historical events that support this ideal. And they all tie in very appropriately to modern times.

I believe an extreme ban like limiting to 10 round magazines flat out treads on an individual’s right to bear arms. I buy into the tag line that an armed society is a safe society. And I understand some people have a different stance; that an unarmed society in theory would be safer. But the reality is – guns are too easily manufactured, transported and acquired. There are too many of them out there in the wrong hands and sadly there is no way to change that. It is irresponsible and a horrible idea to continually limit and strip the rights of law abiding citizens in the hope that the ripple effects will someday affect criminals. You support policies that are directly putting people at risk. These policies turn everyone into victims and make us depended on a protection that will never be guaranteed.

You must register or login to post a comment.