For those of us who live in Colorado, the Aurora theater murders were personal. As I watched TV on that awful morning, I called my children. Two were in college in Fort Collins; my oldest had graduated. All three were the right age to want to see the midnight premier of a blockbuster movie. Eventually, everyone awoke to the voicemails and texts, and all, thankfully, were OK.
As the assurances crept in, the shocking reality of random violence, borne of madness, was relentless: It could have been my kids. It could have been me. Even worse: It still could be.
Also on TV that day was Michael Bloomberg who, unlike us, was not moved to respectful silence for the dead. Instead, he summoned television cameras to proclaim that the beliefs held by me, my family and my fellow gun owners were somehow to blame.
I don't remember his words, but I remember what I felt: disrespect. Disrespect first of all for the families affected; for me and all responsible gun owners, whose grief he dismissed; for those permit holders who carry a gun lawfully in sober anticipation for the terrible moment when they may have to act to save innocents from grievous harm.
That disrespect infected our own officials who, goaded by Vice President Joe Biden in Aspen, insulted women repeatedly: Sen. Evie Hudak informed rape victim Amanda Collins that her concealed firearm, denied to her by the University of Nevada, Reno where she was attacked, would not have helped her. Sen. Jessie Ulibarri advised Colorado college students to resist armed attacks with ballpoint pens. Sen. Joe Salazar told women they were not responsible enough to know if they were being attacked and might just "pop a round at somebody." And congresswoman Diana DeGette didn't even know what a magazine was. But she wanted to ban them.
Leading them in their campaign of condescendence was our Senate president, John Morse, who advised his colleagues to ignore the emails and calls of their constituents. Those who disagreed with him had a "sickness" in their soul. Just last week, he sniffed that going door to door to talk to his own supporters was "tedious and boring."
Most intolerable was his disrespect for our law enforcement officers. All 62 of Colorado's sheriffs signed a position paper opposing his gun control crusade, but Morse barred nearly all of them from testifying. Fifty-five of those sheriffs have now filed suit in federal court to overturn his agenda.
(That disrespect bore fruit: The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association, officers with whom Morse served, endorsed his recall.)
But misleading us is the highest form of disrespect. Morse's own failed "Assault Weapon Liability Bill" told us there was an "extreme likelihood that an assault weapon that is sold or transferred will be used in a crime or will result in serious injury or death." Yet, the FBI flatly reports that those arms are used in less than 2 percent of all crime. Morse's own party persuaded him to pull his bill.
Now, Morse would like us to think the recall is an abuse of the law, when the Constitution plainly instructs us that the dissatisfaction, whatever the reason, of the electorate is sufficient to set the recall procedures in motion.
Morse calls the recall unnecessary, as he's term-limited in 2014. But when could it ever be inappropriate for voters to rise up and strike down arrogance? The fact that they do so knowing Morse is term-limited doesn't diminish their cause; it advances it.
Finally, Morse minimizes our anger, claiming a zealous minority (and maybe a bunch of ringers) is responsible for all this fuss. The truth is that a whole lot of people are peeved at John Morse. The recall is an unprecedented grass-roots display of anger - the kind of anger that only comes when people feel they have been treated with condescension and disrespect. That is, when they're not being ignored outright.
Clay Turner is the creative director for NRA's America's First Freedom magazine and a 16-year resident of Colorado Springs. He was the chairman of the 2000 Pikes Peak United Way campaign and is a past chairman of the Children's Literacy Center. He has lived in John Morse's district for more than eight years.