Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 20, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 20, 2013 


HOWARD Hays As I See It

GREG Welborn

“I’ve heard some say that blocking 
this step would be a victory. And 
my question is, a victory for 
who? A victory for what? It begs 
the question, who are we here to 

- President Barack Obama 

April 17, 2012

 Sunday nights are back to normal at our 
place. With the new season now underway, we’ve 
resumed our routine of weekly get-togethers for 
the latest episode of “Mad Men”.

 Aside from story and characters, I enjoy 
reminders of a bygone era; aspects once ubiquitous 
and taken for granted, but now jarringly of 
another place and time. Early in the first season, 
for instance, there was Betty driving home in the 
station wagon while her two kids jumped back 
and forth between the front and back seats. Seat 
belts were an option found mainly in sports cars, 
and “car seats,” as we understand the term today, 
were unknown.

 There’s the dining routine: Once seated, you 
have a cigarette with your cocktail; after the soup 
or salad, another cigarette; then the main course, 
followed by a cigarette with the coffee.

 (Stop now if you don’t wish to learn details of 
last week’s show.)

 In the second episode of this new season, 
Peter has an affair with the neighbor’s wife, and 
towards the end of the episode she shows up at his 
doorstep having been beaten up by her husband. 
Peter’s reaction is not concern for her condition, 
but annoyance that she blabbed to her husband 
about the affair and, because she did, his own wife 
now knows about the affair, too.

 In “domestic violence”, the emphasis was on 
“domestic”; as in a domestic situation between 
husband and wife, rather than as a violent crime 
which, after seeing to the care and safety of the 
victim, calls for immediate reporting to the police.

 Perspectives change, but such crimes continue 
in the real world. 

 Zina Daniel suffered three years of abuse 
from her husband, but finally managed to get a 
restraining order against him. In her request for 
the order she described how he’d threatened to 
kill her if she ever left him, throw acid in her face 
and burn her and her family with gasoline. “His 
threats terrorize my every waking moment”.

 This order would prevent him from purchasing 
a gun from a licensed dealer, so he got one over 
the internet. Last year he went to the Brookfield, 
Wisconsin beauty spa where his wife worked, 
killed her and two co-workers, wounded four 
others, and killed himself. Zina was 42 and left 
two small kids.

 Jitka Vesel was a 36-year-old Czech translator 
and teacher in the Chicago area harassed by an ex-
boyfriend. As a Canadian citizen, he couldn’t get a 
gun through a licensed dealer, but managed to get 
a .40 caliber handgun through In 
2011 he used it to pump 12 bullets into Jitka in the 
parking lot of the Czechoslovak Heritage Museum 
– five of them to the back of her head as she lay on 
the pavement.

 Jitka’s longtime friend Theresa O’Rourke 
commented, “Her murder was preventable, 
and she was failed. The American system and 
the American dream failed her by allowing her 
stalker, her murderer, to obtain a gun without 
a background check, without a single question 
asked. She didn’t deserve to die alone in a parking 
lot with no one there, with no one to hold her 
hand, with no one to comfort her. Her life wasn’t 

 Melissa Barton of Redmond, WA, Harvard-
educated lawyer and software developer for 
Microsoft, got a protective order against her 
estranged husband after repeated harassment 
which included threatening her with a loaded 
gun and breaking into her workplace. That order 
might prevent him from being able to purchase a 
firearm from a licensed dealer, so, a few days after 
the order was served, he went to a gun show and 
brought home a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver 
and a 9mm Taurus semi-automatic.

 Melissa Barton was shot eight times in the 
parking lot outside her home by her husband, who 
then killed himself. She was 36.

 Earlier this year during debate on the Violence 
Against Women Act (in a Republican-controlled 
Congress, passage of something called the 
“Violence Against Women Act” can be a nail-
biter), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pointed out 
that states that require background checks for 
handgun sales have 38% fewer women shot by 
their partners. According to 2010 FBI statistics, 
64% of women killed yearly are at the hands of 
a spouse or family member and, in incidents of 
domestic violence, a woman is eight times as likely 
to be killed if there’s a gun in the house. 

 A 2002 Harvard study found that while the 
U.S. has 32% of the female population of 25 high-
income nations, it has 84% of all female firearm 
homicides. The reason, simply, is the availability 
of guns.

 There were 1,280 gun deaths in the United 
States in the eight weeks following the massacre at 
Sandy Hook Elementary last December. Of those, 
90 were women shot to death by their spouses or 
domestic partners.

 I remember the “Mad Men” era, with congressmen 
warning of intolerable increases in new car prices 
should seat belts become mandatory. I remember 
“scientists” hired by the tobacco lobby questioning 
evidence of the harmful effects of smoking, as 
those hired by fossil fuel lobbies now question 
evidence of global warming.

 President Obama asks of a government 
that votes to defeat compromise measures for 
universal background checks, “who are we here 
to represent?” It’s not Zina Daniel, Jitka Vesel or 
Melissa Barton; it’s the lobbies insisting we not 
inconvenience abusers seeking guns.

 From my own research and experience, 
including jury service on trials involving domestic 
abuse, I find abusers to be basically cowards, with 
their own underlying issues of impotency. I can 
think of no better characterization of those siding 
with the gun lobby and against the conviction of 
the overwhelming majority of Americans. In this 
current debate, they represent the madmen. 

Who are you? You planted two bombs along the 
path of the Boston Marathon, you’ve killed at least 
3 people and maimed scores of others, so we’re on 
a mission to find out who you are. Notice that 
I haven’t asked what you are. We already know 
that. Regardless of your name – this we will 
ascertain in due time – we already know what 
you are. You are a spineless coward and pathetic 
representative of whatever demented cause you 
claim to represent and hope to advance. We also 
know that you are a failure, and I hope that sticks 
in your craw til the day you die.

That you are a coward is obvious at face value. 
You haven’t provided a declaration of war; you 
haven’t taken on a uniform to distinguish yourself 
as an armed combatant, distinct from innocent 
non-combatants; you certainly don’t wage a 
conventional war, nor even a guerilla war. Both 
of these would require that you focus your actions 
toward other soldiers, leaving the innocent alone, 
and would at least evidence a certain courage of 
conviction and confidence that your cause might 
triumph in a fair fight against others similarly 
armed and prepared.

Instead, you target innocent and defenseless 
people who had no chance of contesting your 
actions. You killed Martin Richard, an 8 year-
old boy who might have kicked a soccer ball at 
you; you killed Krystle Campbell, a 28 year-old 
restaurant manager who might have thrown a 
fork at you; you killed Lu Lingzi, a petite 23 year-
old graduate student who might have hit you with 
her math book. All of them might have done 
something, put up some sort of fight, had you 
acted like a man and given them a chance. But 
you didn’t do that. You reside in the shadows of a 
backwater alleyway of human refuse. Perhaps it is 
appropriate after all that you have not given your 
name, claimed responsibility or attributed your 
actions to some incoherent perceived grievance. 
We would prefer you remain irrelevant were it 
not for the fact that we need to find you in order 
to confine you to an even more dismal existence 
and eventually release you in death to the deepest 
circle of hell. How you can consider yourself 
brave or noble in any way is beyond human 

That you have failed may take a little more effort 
on your part to fully comprehend, so allow me 
to enlighten you. The purpose of terrorism has 
never been to win a battle or the war. Its means 
are never large enough, nor its scale broad 
enough, to accomplish 
that. Terrorism at best 
can seek to influence 
policy or keep a 
citizenry compliant 
through fear and 
intimidation. Perhaps 
it has been successful in 
other countries and in 
other times, but it has 
never been successful in 
the United States at any 

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman orchestrated the first 
bombing of the World Trade Center. He now 
rots in jail and is barely remembered. Osama 
Bin Laden and the rest of the Al Qaida leadership 
orchestrated attacks against Marine barracks, 
several U.S. embassies, the U.S.S. Cole, and again 
against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon 
and the White House, all in an effort to force us 
out of the Mideast. I’ve lost count how many of 
them we’ve killed, and we haven’t cut and run 
from the Middle East. They all failed.

Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City 
federal building, killing 168 people, in order to 
draw attention to and avenge the Branch Davidian 
cult. Timmy was executed, and I had forgotten 
all about Davidians until I took to writing this 
article. He failed.

And so, too, will you fail. In fact, as I wrote 
earlier, you already have. Whatever fear and 
intimidation you sought to create has instead been 
manifested in bravery and determination. Those 
who weren’t injured in the blasts, ran toward the 
terror, not away from it, to aid the wounded. 
Citizens poured out into the public gathering 
spots, markets and eateries in tremendous 
numbers last night and tonight to enjoy a spring 
evening. They didn’t cower in their homes. As 
one public official stated at an impromptu news 
conference the other day, Bostonians are giving 
you the middle finger. 

But perhaps the most poignant and visible 
evidence of your failure can be seen in the 
YouTube video of the start of April 16th’s Boston 
Bruins’ game. You should watch that video 
if you have any doubts. Rene Rancourt came 
out on the ice to sing the national anthem. Mr. 
Rancourt was unable to be heard – and he had 
the microphone – over the crowd’s singing of that 
anthem. Dozens of American flags were unfurled 
by those in the stands, and several impromptu, 
hand-lettered signs appeared encouraging us all 
to “be Boston strong!”

Ironically, whoever you are, I doubt you will 
ever understand why you failed. To think you 
could accomplish something by your cowardice 
bespeaks a profound ignorance of what makes 
America, America. Unlike any other country, 
America is at its core an ideal. It’s not just a piece 
of land; it’s not a grouping of people of the same 
ethnicity, features, or customs; it’s not a large 
tribe. America is about people who love liberty, 
seek freedom and honor bravery. These things are 
not easily abandoned. We may get complacent 
from time to time, but when we’re pushed, we’ve 
never hesitated to come together, stand tall and 
fight back. We sing our national anthem with 
greater reverence and more determination when 
the likes of you come out of the shadows because 
it emblemizes those principals and reminds us 
that we are the land of the free and the home of 
the brave.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance 
writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives 
in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be reached