Lately Monroe citizen and P&Z Chairman Patrick O’Hara has had a lot to say about the right to bear arms, text books and the failure of Monroe educators to assure accuracy in teaching our constitution. As reported in the Monroe courier Mr. O’Hara was very upset with one particular text and its summary of the second amendment which read” Second Amendment. The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.” Apparently that characterization wasn’t good enough for Mr. O’Hara, so he set out after educators in an e-mail demanding, in his own words that the textbook be “…PULLED IMMEDIATELY!” It seems that Mr. O’Hara will not stand for anyone or anything so bold as to summarize our nation’s most holy verse.
But here’s the thing, the text book O’Hara is so enraged about is not even a text book at all, rather it’s a reference document for teachers. So then, this begs the question, how did any of this come to the attention of Monroe’s Republican Chairman of Planning and Zoning in the first place?
The answer may lie in a photograph. It’s a photo of a finger pointing to the very text in question. In an effort to arouse attention, Mr. O’Hara e-mailed this picture to educators, elected officials and to the press. O’Hara’s photo is a cropped version of one that can be found in an on-line extremist publication known as the “Liberty Forum”. The original photo was taken by a Texan named Sean Getts who started this controversy by demanding that this same reference material be removed from a Texas school. Interestingly, Mr. Getts is also a gun enthusiast that proudly sports a Facebook photo of himself dressed in camouflage and holding a military style assault rifle.
So, is everyone getting the picture now? It seems that Mr. O’Hara, a NRA member, a gun enthusiast himself and Monroe’s Republican Chairman of Planning and Zoning has a friend in Texas. It seems that Mr. O’Hara’s love of guns solution for America went looking for a problem. And he found one, or should I say he created one here at home that never existed before he got busy.
In the midst of this newly created controversy many educators including Monroe’s superintendent of schools have had to dedicate much time and energy in responding to Mr. O’Hara’s incendiary remarks. That’s a shame when educators are already tasked with the daily challenges of teaching our kids and providing for their safety.
And doesn’t Mr. O’Hara have better things to do as Monroe’s P&Z chairman in a town that is continually criticized for being business unfriendly. Rather than causing trouble about the 2nd amendment, guns and education why isn’t Mr. O’Hara focused on how to bring quality businesses to Monroe so as to lessen the tax burden of homeowners?
What I think most people who are aware of this situation find most disturbing is “Why”? Why do we need this in Monroe, this isn’t Texas or the gun toting Bible belt. Censoring school reference material is that really what educators and elected officials like First Selectman Vavrek and State Rep. Hovey need to be working on?
Just consider the sentiment involved in this matter? Why would anyone interject such a divisive topic into a town so affected by the 12-14-12 tragedy in neighboring Sandy Hook? After so many Monroe citizens have dedicated themselves to healing that wound, why is Mr. O’Hara lobbing this political grenade at us? No matter how hard he tries to dress it up as patriotism, it is plainly clear to everyone what his real motives are. I guess parading around Town Hall wearing a black NRA hat and openly criticizing new gun legislation to anyone who will listen isn’t getting it done for Mr. O’Hara any more. It seems that he now has to take political aim at educators too.
Mr. O’Hara is up for reelection in November, I hope Monroe voters and especially town republicans consider what they are doing.