Bipartisanship is often sold as a noble thing. The idea of Republicans and Democrats working together to find common ground, to work with one another to make our nation stronger sure sounds great. The problem, though, is when one side wants to destroy a fundamental right that existed in this land long before our country even existed, bipartisanship often means someone has to turn their back on that right.
People like an Ohio state senator named Peggy Lehner.
One by one, state Sen. Peggy Lehner ticked off the names and ages of each of the dead of Dayton.
Then, the Republican from the neighboring suburb of Kettering added a few biographical details about the nine victims of the mass shooting, emphasizing they all died in but 29 seconds.
She paused when she recounted brief details of the life of 30-year-old Logan Turner. He was a machinist at Thaler Machine Co. in Springboro. Bill Thaler, owner of the company, is Lehner’s neighbor and one of her best friends.
Too many Ohioans, she said, increasingly know somebody affected by gun violence.
“When you know someone, it’s harder to turn our back. None of these people needed to die,” Lehner testified Tuesday before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
“I can no longer be on the sidelines of gun safety. I’ve been there too long … doing absolutely nothing is simply not an option,” Lehner told her fellow senators.
Oh, I get it. It’s hard not to consider gun control when the victim is someone you know and care about. Believe me, I freaking know.
But I also know that if your principles are strong, you also pick up pretty quickly that the problem wasn’t access to guns but that someone broke the law in using them. It’s not the tool but the tool using it. The Dayton killer, in particular, broke the law by lying on his 4473. I particular, saying he didn’t use illicit drugs when we know damn good and well he did.
Lehner, however, doesn’t have the internal fortitude to stand by her previous convictions. She didn’t truly have an understanding of the Second Amendment, what it means, and why it’s not to blame for insane people doing insane things.
She has turned her back on the Second Amendment, all because of some personal tragedy and the constant barrage of talking heads claiming that if you’re not advancing gun control, you’re doing nothing.
I get that she wants to turn her personal grief into action. Believe me, of all the people who clog the internet talking about mass shootings, I get it. Yet I can’t let this one slide.
I understand the need to do something. I understand the need to question what you believed.
However, if you believed that there were other options to combatting mass shootings, then why would that change because the name on the list is someone that you know? Lehner says she can’t stay on the sidelines, but why does that have to mean gun control? And let’s be honest, the phrase “gun safety” is a euphemism meant to distract people from what we’re really talking about here.
Lehner can cite her friend’s murder all she wants, but what really happened is that she lacked conviction in what she said she stood for from the start. This isn’t a simple evolution of a position, but someone who took a stand based on political expediency and is now regretting that. Nothing more, nothing less.
That’s the last thing anyone needs on their side.
She’s just fortunate that I’m not a constituent of hers. If I were, she’d hear me backing whoever wanted to primary her loudly and often.