Of Valentine’s Day, Love and Gun Laws

Columnist Heather Borden Herve takes a look at the new meaning Valentine’s Day will have for thousands in Connecticut this year.


Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I love you so much,

I’m headed to Hartford on Valentine’s Day to try and make the world a safer place for you.

Who would have ever thought that one of the ways I’d show my children how I love them is to try and change the world by raising my voice against gun violence. I wish this Valentine’s Day would simply be about packaging up store-bought valentines for them to bring into class and distribute to their classmates, or that all I’d have to do would be to make heart-shaped pancakes before sending them off to school.

But that was before, when sending children off to school meant that they would always come home safely. That was before Dec. 14, 2012, and the unimaginable events at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 20 sets of parents sent their 6- and 7-year-old children off to school and instead of coming home safely, those children and their heroic teachers were brutally shot and killed in their classrooms.

Life is now different and things have since changed. Like moms and dads and family and friends all over America, millions of us woke up on Dec. 15, 2012, as armchair activists no more. I’ll be marching on Thursday in Hartford with March for Change, as a love letter to my children, along with thousands of other like-minded Connecticut residents.

What we’re hoping to achieve is simple: to show state legislators that there are many of us who want safer gun laws enacted in Connecticut, and that it can be done so without sacrificing the Second Amendment. Universal background checks on ALL sales and transfers. A stronger assault-weapons ban. Limits on high capacity ammunition magazines.

The march starts at 11 a.m. at the State Capitol building in Hartford. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be there as well as legislators and elected officials from both political parties. There will be representatives from communities all over Connecticut who have experienced gun violence, as well as families of the Sandy Hook victims. Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, and Stephen Barton, a Connecticut resident who survived the Aurora, Colo., shooting massacre will speak as well.

It will be multi-faith, bi-partisan and, hopefully, peaceful. Because that is ultimately what we’re marching for — less violence, more peace and safety.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

Guns kill.

My 10-year-old son will be marching at his first rally, joining many kids from around the state taking part. One of the activities leading up to Thursday’s rally was a fundraiser for a 9th grade social studies class from Bridgeport, which wanted to travel to Hartford in order to take part in the March for Change. These students have personal reasons for wanting to attend, as were clearly evident when they each answered the question that asked them how guns affected their lives:

"Guns have taken a close friend from me. Gun violence needs to stop because they are taking the lives of many innocent people and that is not fair. Guns are supposed to keep us safe, but they are doing the exact opposite," wrote one. 

"Guns actually have affected my privacy and freedom. For example, when I ask my mom if I can go to the movies and she says, "oh you can't go because they'll shoot you like the have done to the others." Then there is also the times when there are shoot-outs at Marina Village my mom will come into my room and sleep with me," answered another.

These children will learn that their voices and efforts can be put toward making change, toward impacting the legislative process, toward contributing toward democracy. Just as they’ve learned that there are harsh realities of life that happen to children — sadly, because of guns — so too will they be able to see that they are not powerless, and that there are adults who will advocate for them and help them learn how to advocate for themselves.

On the day of love, I will write a new love letter to my children, promising that a mother’s love knows no bounds, even when it means that protecting them means more than just kissing a scraped knee or making sure they bundle up against the cold. If it means we move mountains, if it means we march on Hartford, if it means we change history, then that’s what Valentine’s Day will now forever mean.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Onward to Hartford, because, simply,

I love you too much not to.

Pat Barisi February 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Here we go again... The carpet bagger entitled soccer mom who worked for the "media" spewing her leftist anti gun BS again.... Go do what you do best Heather... Drive your kids to another soccer game. Once again you do not want address the criminal and mental illness issues in this country... That would require effort and critical thinking which liberals like yourself who only run on emotion cannot seem to grasp. Just keep reciting your liberal dogma of taking the guns.
Fairfield Old Timer February 13, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Dear Heather, When are you going to raise your voice against motor vehicle deaths!? 4,700 Pedestrians / Cyclists were KILLED by motor vehicels in 2009!!!! http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf That is an outrage! We must rise up and demand that these dangerous assault vehicles be banned immediately! "Motor vehicle violence needs to stop because they are taking the lives of many innocent people and that is not fair. Motor vehicles are supposed to keep us safe, but they are doing the exact opposite." Think of the children!!!!
Donald Borsch Jr. February 13, 2013 at 01:10 PM
**Sqwauk! Heather want a cracker, sqwuak!** Tedious. Ridiculous. Predictable. Here's her July 4th entry: "I would celebrate the independence of our country, (even though it is nothing more than white privilege being forced upon Native-Americans and the introduction of European diseases and greed), but how can I knowing that our children are not free from guns and gun violence. I wrote a poem about it that I put on our fridge and my children have memorized. My life is so miserable due to guns. I hate them. I love you. I hate guns. *boo-hoo, sob, sob* Please, please, save the puppies from puppy mills, adopt a rescue dog, and don't let our children be killed by guns!"
Jim Eastwood February 13, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Good Morning All Roses are Red, Violets are Blue Guns Killl?????? BUT SUV's DO TO !!!!
steve sheppard February 13, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Heather...Fairfield has a long history in the firearms industry. Ruger was founded here in the "Little Red Barn", we have skilled firearms craftsmen who live and work in Fairfield. We used to have a gun Club in Fairfield which is now a development called "The Ridge."
Neena February 13, 2013 at 06:56 PM
You morons who continue to compare CARS to GUNS - Cars need a license, insurance, recorded with the DMV, and are not intented to kill. Guns are NOT, and their only purpose is to hurt. so stop the analogy you imbeciles.
Alrick H Man IV February 13, 2013 at 07:41 PM
your a brainless wonder neena maybe you should move to some rural town where there is a population of ONE and then you can have it your way just like burger king!
Tucker February 13, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Neena-Don't waste your breath. This board is overflowing with Tea Party Patriots who think that anyone who may mildly disagree with their "correct" stance (since all other stances are wrong) and have nothing better to do that spit vitriol, ignorance, bigotry, and hate. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it's the same as theirs. It's shameful. Good luck if you choose to engage.
TJC February 13, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Wow... it seems to me that this is a nicely mannered letter, (opinion piece) with a whole-lotta really nasty defensive comments... I'm very much pro-second amendment but I would never attack someone like this for saying that she is partaking in activity for her kids. Why all the hate? Why are you all so threatened by something like this?
Sandra February 13, 2013 at 09:00 PM
TJC-read Heather's other opinion pieces and you will understand.
Igor February 13, 2013 at 09:14 PM
That was a pretty damn stupid remark old timer. That is not the purpose of a motor vehicle and you are aware of that. You're just playing silly little games. Do I think they should take guns away? No I don't but please don't be childish about it. You have stated some valid points, but you lower yourself with that comment.
Neena February 13, 2013 at 09:22 PM
dear Alrick H Man IV, you are the one that needs to move to a rural area with your guns and your fear of goverment and people and CARS. the rest of us civilized educated people will stay here, thanks. and ps. I dont eat at burger king like the rest of you folks.
Neena February 13, 2013 at 09:23 PM
thanks. they are a waste of time and the human race.
Sandra February 13, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Neena for a civilized person you got some mouth on you. You come out of the gate calling people morons and imbeciles. Look in the mirror girlfriend.
Alrick H Man IV February 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Thank you Neena but I don't eat at Burger King. I am a law abiding gun owner. I am certainly not living in fear of anything especially the Government. The only thing I have a strong opinion about is bleeding heart Idiots like yourself that think after some 225 years it is a good idea to change the constitution. Why don't you try coming up with some real ideas that will address the problem that were facing and that is mentally deficient people getting hold of a weapon (not just a gun) and going berserk. If you really wanted to make a difference you might spend sometime coming up with solutions instead of jumping on the band wagon with all the other idiots. Think about it...........
TJC February 14, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Sorry, I'm still confused. The author says, directly, that she is NOT pushing to change the 2nd amendment, just to tighten up rules around gun control. Yet posts above attack her for wanting to change the Constitution. Are we reading different letters? I don't want to have to go read past letters, that should have no bearing on this article. If she says she doesn't want to change the amendment,and you can all keep your guns, what's the problem? I'm not trying to be obnoxious... Just trying to understand.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 14, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Neena, Tsk, tsk. Play nice.
FfldParent February 20, 2013 at 02:53 PM
I'm as confused too, TJC. Some may find that letter a bit preachy, but I don't hear anything about taking away EVERYONE's guns. That said, I'm coming from the middle ground. I don't own guns so I'm not worried about people taking them away. But before Sandy Hook, I was signed up for a gun safety/pistol permit class with a friend. So I'm not anti-gun either. When Sandy Hook happened, my friend was more adamant about getting the permit while I cancelled. For me, the LAST place I wanted to be was around guns, but I'm not some "gun grabber" as I've seen many people called. I do not have problem with responsible, law abiding, mentally stable (that will be the BIGGEST issue) gun owners. I do have a problem with illegal guns and loopholes that allow guns to get in the wrong hands. I have a problem with "regular" citizens owning guns that can kill dozens of people in a few seconds & armor-piercing ammo. Who needs that? I don't understand why the only people we seem to be hearing from loudly are those who fall far to one side or the other. There has got to be some middle ground.... things we agree on. No one wants armed bad-guys, right? They kill innocent people & vilify responsible gun-owners. Why don't we start there? For every recommendation put forth by one side, the other will have a counterpoint with some validity. Work together to come up with viable, effective solutions. Concessions must be made by both sides, but this doesn't have to be a win-lose battle.
TJC February 20, 2013 at 03:00 PM
we're on the same page. It seems to me that every moderate suggestion that comes up is argued with "you can't change the Constitution." I haven't actually heard many people (or any?) say that they want to do that. I think that the only way we will ever see change, unfortunately, is if the responsible NRA members choose to invoke it. The NRA is too powerful, and every one of our elected officials is ultimately bullied into a corner where they dare not argue against it. If change comes from within the NRA, it seems to me that this would all be smoother. Anytime people propose change from outside--even small ones that are middle ground--they are accused of being left-wing ararchists dead-set on changing the American way of life.


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