Town hall was not a ‘death trap’

To the Editor:

Dear Rep. Costello:

We are very sorry to read (“Costello says town hall could have been ‘a death trap,’” July 23) that you are afraid and that you worry that public events are “death traps.” Please be assured that our group does not wish you (or anyone) physical harm.

As you know from our frequent interactions (approximately weekly since January 2017 and often covered by local press), we are a group of concerned citizens of your district who are consistently peaceful and respectful. Our concerns involve the destruction of America’s Constitution and legislated safety nets and environmental protections. From our earliest meeting, we expressed to you our interest in protecting public education, clean air and water, safety nets for the disabled, health insurance for all Americans — especially those with pre-existing conditions and those, who, despite working more than one job, cannot afford health coverage. We want to protect our seniors who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and the Social Security safety net. We want a safe, welcoming America for people of every faith or none, every ethnicity and all sexual orientations.

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If you find any of this frightening, we apologize. But we will not be quiet or stop seeking to protect American safety nets and defend our planet.

You know that we expressed to you our outrage and sympathy over the shooting at the baseball practice you missed. Over 60 of us signed a letter to you expressing this and also sympathy for the 93 Americans shot every day, both before and after that baseball practice. Perhaps what you fear instead is the difficulty in America of protecting all of us from the minority of gun owners who are unstable, untrained, angry and impulsive. In America today, seemingly normal people shoot an innocent 19-year-old woman in the head over lane changes while driving. We are all afraid. Perhaps, as a legislator in America, you could support gun safety? As you may be aware, on the very date of the baseball shooting, there was a hearing scheduled on something called the “Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” legislation aimed at making it easier to acquire armor piercing bullets and silencers. Perhaps legislators in America should stop taking money from the NRA and listen to the vast majority of Americans who support common sense gun safety.

In any event, based on numerous interactions with you, we believe that you cannot actually suspect us of laying a “death trap” for you. As we discussed with you months ago, you claim to have watched the video of the Feb. 25 town hall we arranged in Phoenixville. You expressed your surprise that it was “not too partisan.” We know that your staff observes us each week through the windows and sees our children at our rallies chasing bubbles or doing schoolwork. This is what democracy looks like, and we relish the freedoms which allow us to peacefully gather to express our opinions.

As our elected representative, the concerned constituents of District 6 call upon you to meet with the people you represent without fear and work to alter the political environment that makes us all afraid. Voting in lock step with an administration actively working to destroy social and environmental protections is not the answer. Refusing to entertain reasonable gun safety legislation is not the answer. Accusing your constituents of setting a “death trap” is not the answer. Please, sir, do a job that makes you happy and helps us all feel safer.

— Claire Witzleben, Costello Constituents Action Group