My name is Lindsey and I am Whitney’s cousin. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I am a gun owner. I am also a board member and supporter of Whitney/Strong.
If you asked me 10 years ago about my political ideology, without hesitation I would have answered Republican. Today, unless you want to engage in a civil political discussion (does that exist anymore?), my answer would be the same. My ideology has changed a bit, but this is the short answer to a question that has a more complex response. I’m not one for labels, I don’t like to put people in boxes because of a perceived ideology. I think society does this too often and too quickly today. I support the Second Amendment, responsible gun ownership, ending gun violence, and advocating for effective legislation that accomplishes that - for example, The Fix Nics Act.
The other day I was listening to an old episode of my favorite crime podcast, Sword and Scale. It was a detailed account of a 2012 school shooting in Chardon Ohio. At the end of the episode, the host stated "in 1999, the year that Columbine shocked the nation, there were another 5 school shootings. In 2015 there were at least 20, and the mass shooting trend doesn't appear to be slowing down." We have to figure out why this is happening and stop this madness. This is why I support Whitney/Strong.
It goes without saying, but responsible gun owners don’t want this to keep happening. We don’t want guns getting into the hands of people who should not have them. Supporters of the Second Amendment and gun reform advocates agree on this. This is why I support Whitney/Strong.
After Whitney was released from the hospital, I came back to Louisville to help her recover and help the family. Before I even got to town, Whitney had already started to establish Whitney/Strong. This didn’t surprise me. I told her first she needed to rest and recover. She didn’t listen. My plan was to stay for a week and then head back to Chicago to my husband and my job. I stayed for almost a month. I watched Whitney as she answered everyone’s calls and texts of love and concern, she didn't leave one unanswered. (Thank goodness for talk-to-text!) I watched her pull herself together for tv interviews when she couldn’t even pull up her own pants. I watched her create a sense of normalcy for her family so her children's daily routine wouldn't be affected. I watched her work every waking moment on creating the W/S mission statement and start to outline what the strategic priorities of W/S would be. All while trying to recover from being shot 12 times. This is why I support Whitney/Strong.
If you still don’t connect with any of the reasons why I support Whitney/Strong, I’ll give you one more. Not too long after I returned home, a friend, knowing my staunch Second Amendment views, and knowing that I was part of Whitney/Strong, asked how I was handling what she perceived to be two conflicting notions. I answered with this - I don't have all the answers. I still believe that the right to bear arms is a fundamental one, but what I can tell you is, that morning, not knowing whether Whitney was alive or dead, what I felt, is indescribable. It's probably the worst feeling I have ever had in my entire life, and I don't want anyone else to ever have that feeling.
As a gun owner, I feel that I have to speak up. We have to work together and find common ground to solve this problem. And I believe that with the leadership of Whitney and the guiding principles of Whitney/Strong we can do just that.
"The greatest good we can do our country, is to heal its party divisions, and make them one people." - Thomas Jefferson