Tuesday, January 08, 2013
‘A Cruel, Brutal, and Truly Inhuman Blow to My Heart’
The Westport father of an 18-year-old who died in a fall at a Canadian university dormitory after he had been drinking urged the Representative Town Meeting tonight not to “exploit” the slain Newtown children by approving an anti-gun sense of the meeting resolution.
Iain Bruce addresses the Westport Representative Town Meeting tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Iain Bruce, 53, whose son Cameron died in a September 2010 fall at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, (See WestportNow Sept. 13, 2010) said politicians, activists, and others exploited his son’s death to pursue long held goals.
He said such statements were a “cruel, brutal, and truly inhuman blow to my heart, my head and my guts.”
Following is the text of Bruce’s remarks:
I apologize for not having prepared remarks. I wasn’t sure I was going to talk tonight. So I apologize in advance if my comments are in some disarray.
Members of the RTM. Many of you are friends of mine. You know me for a long time. My wife served as a member of this body for four years.
I’m going to ask you to do something that I don’t think anyone else is tonight and uniquely, perhaps, I’ll take no position on this ordinance. No it’s not an ordinance. I apologize. It’s a sense of the meeting resolution.
I want you before you cast your votes—I ask you to search deeply within your souls and look at yourselves in the metaphorical mirror and ask yourselves whether it is worth the exploitation of the death of children to make a political statement.
What I just said may sound harsh. As most of you are aware, 27 months ago, my 18-year-old son died. He died in a six-story fall from his dormitory window. It’s not a secret he had been drinking.
While the Town of Westport was pouring out its love and support for our family, cooking meals, taking care of walking our dogs, pouring us coffee, in Canada, my son’s death was being exploited by politicians, by activists, and by others to make political statements and to pursue goals that they had long held.
Every statement of someone –a university administrator, a coroner, a police officer, a mayor, a politician, the editor of Canada’s largest circulation newspaper—to the effect that he wanted to ensure that my son had not died in vain—comments that I just heard made in connection with Newtown – was a cruel, brutal, and truly inhuman blow to my heart, my head and my guts.
You can tell yourselves all day long that you are not exploiting the deaths of children in pursuing this resolution. The fact is you are. And you will be. It is a fact. You can rationalize to your heart’s content.
I will submit to you that what to do with the death of a child is not up to politicians or elected representatives or the public at large. If it’s up to anyone, it may be up to God, if you believe in God. It may be up to the family.
What to do with the death of our son is something that my wife, and my daughter and I struggle with daily and expect to struggle with daily for the rest of our lives.
Your lives have gone back to normal after the shock of Newtown. The lives of those 26 families will never go back to normal. But it’s up to them to decide what to do with what they have been given, the hand that they have been so cruelly dealt.
I submit that it is not up to you. I submit that it will be an act of extraordinary hubris to take that upon yourselves.
That’s my view. I ask you to search your hearts, search your souls and be aware of that perspective before you cast your vote. Thank you.
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Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport