By Paul Helmke
Memo to 14-time Emmy Award-Winning Daily Show Host Jon Stewart:
I’m a big fan.
Unlike Oprah, I’ve been featured on your Emmy-Award-winning fake news show. It happened this year on April 12, in an interview about Open Carry with Wyatt Cenac. Brady Campaign VP Dennis Henigan also has been a guest of yours.
We understand why you were voted as America’s most trusted news anchor in an online poll conducted by Time Magazine. America adores you. And you won’t find a Brady staffer who isn’t a devoted watcher of The Daily Show. We love you and your show as much as you love Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams.
So it is with a heavy heart that I ask: Really, Jon? Really?
Did you really suggest on the Oprah Show while promoting your Rally to Restore Sanity that when it comes to the horrific experience of school shootings that it’s not the guns that are the problem, but “crazy is the problem”?
Did you really say that if all the guns were gone that there would be “a 100,000 percent increase in school bludgeonings”? Did you, Jon Stewart, really say that?
If you did say those things, then I have to ask: Did you mean what you said?
When, really, was the last time somebody in America was able to terrorize a college campus, kill 32 people, and wound 17 others in less than 12 minutes with a blunt instrument? The Virginia Tech killer was able to do these incredibly awful things by getting off 174 rounds with the two semi-automatics that he wielded. In less than 12 minutes.
Our Capitol Hill staffer, Colin Goddard, was one of the 49 people shot at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. It became the worst school shooting in America’s history. Colin was shot four times, but bravely was the first to dial 911.
Colin lived, thank goodness, but had to spend weeks in rehab learning to walk again. Earlier this month he underwent a second surgery on his hip to remove some of the leftover bullet fragments from the shooting. It took him a week to recuperate and still more fragments remain.
Colin is now featured in the upcoming documentary, Living for 32, because of his journey of renewal and hope, since the tragedy. Colin is a big fan of yours, too, Jon. He’d love to talk to you about what he experienced as a victim of a school shooting, and what all Americans can learn as a result of it.
Colin also would address how schools could improve their policies and procedures to limit the suffering, in the case of a shooting, and how mental health policies play a huge role in preventing violence in schools.
Colin would tell you that in America often those with malicious intent have too easy access to guns because our gun laws are so weak. Right now, anyone can walk into a gun show in most states and buy a gun without a Brady criminal background check. This is how the Columbine shooters got their guns. We need to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons. We can save lives with commonsense steps.
Colin would have the kind of conversation that you’re hoping to spark with your Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30.
So I encourage you, Jon: Have Colin Goddard or someone like him on The Daily Show so that you can talk face-to-face about what it’s like to experience gun violence and maybe lay the groundwork for more sanity regarding guns in America.
Americans account for 80 percent of all firearm deaths among high-income populous countries. Every day in the United States, around 300 people, including 65 children and teens, are injured or killed with guns in murders, assaults, suicides, and accidents. A police chief recently testified before Congress and stunned them with the fact that “America has lost more people to gun violence than during all the wars in the 20th century combined.” Isn’t that insane?
Having Colin on your show, as someone who knows the real difference between what a gun and blunt instruments can do could be the just the thing that America needs, along with your rally, to walk us back toward sanity. Really.