Tooker: Prayer Vigil Sunday; No Imminent Threat Here

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker says:

“My heart is aching today as we collectively grieve the loss of innocent lives in Uvalde, Texas.

“Our Interfaith Clergy Association of Westport and Weston will convene a prayer vigil on Sunday (May 29) at 2 p.m. on Veteran’s Green in front of Town Hall to allow us to come together to mourn, show our support and just be together as a community in the wake of this tragedy. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join.

“There is no imminent threat in Westport. However, we will have a strong police presence at our schools and throughout our community to ensure our residents, our kids, our educators, our business owners and our visitors feel safe. Our principals, educators and psychological services teams will be available to our students at every level who would like to speak to them.

“Also, our Westport Together alliance is ready to offer support to the broader community at

“But that is not enough. Congress must pass legislation that protects all of us with common sense gun regulations consistent with Second Amendment rights. We cannot endure another tragedy like this. Action must be taken.”

25 responses to “Tooker: Prayer Vigil Sunday; No Imminent Threat Here

  1. susan iseman

    Thank you for the lovely posting – yes all of our hearts are aching. “Thoughts & prayers” is a common refrain after yet another mass killing. Perhaps as a republican, our Selectwoman can explain why her party continues to block common sense gun safety legislation nationally. A bill on background checks has sat on Senator mitch mcconnell’s desk since 2019, I believe. mitch himself has declared himself to be the “grim reaper.” We are not amused.

    • Thank you, Susan, for that post…and while our 1st Select woman explains her parties voting atrocities, perhaps she’ll do us all the honor of publicly denouncing Trump, Republican governors trashing womens’ rights and the January 6th supporters currently up for election this November…I’ll bet her thoughts and prayers fall short of wishing those bastards ill.

  2. Pamela Long

    Prayer is not going to bring those children back or save us from another school shooting. Let’s stop talking about common sense gun laws and actually put them in place. How about we make it illegal to own an assault weapon which has one purpose – to kill a lot of people very quickly. It’s not a weapon for hunting or personal protection. It’s the weapon of choice for mass destruction in our schools, churches and communities. I’m tired of being sad, why aren’t we enraged that our children are dying in order to protect our right to bear arms? I have no problem with responsible gun ownership, but it’s easier to buy a gun than to buy a six pack, and no one needs an AR-15.

  3. Stephanie Bass

    I want more than grieving together. We need to change the laws. Asking out officials to do so also not enough to get done what we need to get diner. I feel lucky I live in Ct. Do we have to change laws here so if we see scary declarations in the internet we have the power to take action without criticism that we gave free speech: we have to get into this debate and decide how much we can do- it has to be more than it is now. I keep hearing about these killers: people knees; it was in line; teachers afraid of interjecting; sone parents have blinders or encourage their kids to get guns and on and on. I do not think grieving in a large group is going to help me feel better or be hopeful for our future. Nice for people who will get something from it. We are all in this together I get. So far I have been lucky that it hasn’t hit me closely but that’s as if today.

  4. David Webster

    Please, no more prayers. And honestly, Jen Tooker is a long standing member of the GOP and has never, to my knowledge, publicly repudiated the foundational elements of the GOP platform that have gotten us into this situation.

    The GOP, and its unholy alliance with the NRA is the reason we don’t have common sense gun laws. Period.

    Her last comment including a reference to “second amendment rights” is also a bit grotesque on a day like this.

    And before the rest of you respond, please spare me your hand wringing about not holding a local elected official responsible for the actions and policies of the national party she belongs to and is supported and endorsed by.

    She has always been free to run as an independent or at least be vocal and proud of declaring her independence from the platform of the party she is a brand ambassador for. You can’t say you want common sense gun regulation and be OK with the GOP in 2022. They are diametrically opposed to each other.

    • Robert M Gerrity

      David, Thank you for going there, re Jen Tooker’s maintaining her R affiliation after her name. I am very aware of how important many “R” selectpersons have been for Westport, what great people they can be, how broad-minded they can be (cf Jen at the Pride Cook-Off). That I have to write a sentence like that tells us all how bad the situation. If you have an R after your name on a ballot, I am not voting for you, not even if you actually qualify for sainthood. (And I voted for Romney in Massachusetts.)

      As you noted, she hit the Dog Whistle with that “consistent with 2nd amendment qualification.” For all you so-called Original Intention people out there, it is quite clear that that amendment was meant to apply to making sure “a well regulated militia” [note the use of the phrase well regulated] was available to serve. And that “militia” is now the National Guard, a reordering of military service reality that happened nation-wide during 1820-1850. It was NOT meant to support the arms manufacturing businesses in the country. But it is doing so now.

      And just wait for the new army rifle to go into general public production. Current cost is $8k per piece. It has a killing zone a third longer than ARs. The NEXT School Massacre with that weapon will be Sandy Hook + Uvalde +….

      So, Go Independent, Jen. As you seem to be doing a good job, Westporters will re-elect you without remembering your recent years as a member of the Party of Insurrection.

      As an American historian, I know how the true facts will be written down in the near future. (With a tip of the hat to Alan Bennett for showing me the way.)

    • Wish I had said all that, David.

  5. Clark Thiemann

    I’m not sure what “common sense gun regulations consistent with second amendment rights” means. If you believe second amendment rights gives basically everyone 100% access to a gun at all times (like the Republicans in congress) there is no “common sense” regulation. As a result nothing ever happens.

    We need real gun control which means weapons which can kill an entire classroom of kindergartners in seconds aren’t available to anyone except in very rare cases and that you need to prove that you can use a gun responsibly to get one rather than our current system which is you can get one unless you’ve explicitly proven the opposite.

    The idea that we’re getting emails about the police presence at elementary school field day and we think that’s ok as a country is embarrassing.

    • In addition, Clark, pre 1898 hand guns NEED NO LICENSE, NO DOCUMENTATION AND NO REGISTRATION of any kind…thousands of pre 1898 “six shooters” are out there, perfectly usable and are actually ‘semi automatic” weapons as they shoot six times without reload…they are legal to carry anywhere, by anyone and no new gun legislation is going to control them. Gun wise, I’m afraid, America is screwed.

  6. Arline Gertzoff

    I have nothing against prayer vigils or marches for causes BUT nothing has changed since Sandy Hook except some states have made it even easier to buy guns and assault weapons. TheGOP has just continued and will continue to block any meaningful legislation .Senator Chris Murphy said it all for me I will pray at home for change

  7. Sue Iseman

    Perfect responses- so proud these folks have spoken up – makes me proud to live in this town with sensible, like minded citizens!

  8. Bobbie Herman

    “consistent with Second Amendment rights.”

    That says it all!

  9. Dermot Meuchner

    Nothing more American than mass shooting events. It literally happens nowhere else but we like to think we the morality police of the world.

  10. Kerry Foley

    I read the “consistent with Second Amendment rights” statement differently than the others here. There is no doubt that the Second Amendment does confer some (I’d italicize the word “some” if I could) rights. By her statement — which is explicitly a call to action — Selectwoman Tooker affirms that those rights are not unfettered, and that gun regulation is not antithetical to the rights conferred by the Second Amendment. Many in the GOP do not share that view, and I think the more members of the GOP who stand up and acknowledge that gun regulation is not unconstitutional, the better.

  11. Russell Gontar

    The holy second amendment’s first four words are : “A well regulated milita”. How can there be a question about “regulation” when it’s written in the amendment itself?

    Note that the amendment only refers to the right of the people to bears arms in the militia “being necessary to the security of a free state”, not individuals for personal home defense. “Arms” being muskets for all you originalists in the audience.

    • Elaine Marino

      Russell: I was not familiar with the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on the Second Amendment, which is from 2008. The first paragraph of that decision (see below) refutes your claim as it states that an individual has the right to possess a firearm “unconnected with service in a militia”:


      1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

      (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

      (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

      (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment . Pp. 28–30.

      (d) The Second Amendment ’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

      (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

      (f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.

      2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.

      3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment . The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

      478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.

      • Russell Gontar

        Elaine:; I was familiar with the Heller decision. It was in the news. But as Alito said about Roe, incorrectly, it was wrongly decided. The 2A simply doesn’t mention an individuals right to possess a firearm in any context outside of a militia. And anyone who assets otherwise is just making stuff up or as we used to call it, lying through their teeth. Here’s the real story in case you’re interested:

      • Russell Gontar

        Do you think the founding fathers had in mind “personal use” that comprised an inconceivable amount of destructive power and horror at the finger tip and dangling from your backpack? Are there no lines to be drawn? Shall we require parents to give DNA samples so that the bits of the children’s remains can be identified? Is that the kind of world we want to live in? Are we willing to sacrifice our children if that is the cost of owning an assault rifle? Is that worth it? What the hell?

  12. Pamela Long

    How about convening a community meeting on how we can affect change in our community and state? And I’m not talking posting armed guards at our school – that’s a band aid. I am tired of sending my children to school and my heart stopping every time a text from the district comes in. I’m tired of anxious children who need to go to the school counselor during the day and who think that active shooter drills are normal. I’m tired of thoughts and prayers. We can collectively make changes. They may not be perfect or solve the problem entirely but we have to take a step forward.

  13. Daniel Stein

    Meanwhile, China enjoys another peaceful day under an oppressive regime.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      Why would anyone bring up China after 18 kids were slaughtered in an American classroom?! Is America so exceptional and great as Republicans claim that we NEED armed guards in every school in America so more Americans can own AR-15s?! That is just third world insanity! Our country is the most dangerous place for children to live! The leading cause of death of children in America now is GUN wounds! Look it up! I have no clue how anyone can be more concerned about the rights of an unborn fetus and regulating a woman and her uterus rather than regulating guns and protecting the born childten! Yet they have more outrage for transfenders, pronouns, diversity and equity teaching, and CRT! They were more angry about mask wearing and wanting to ban masks!! This country is broken.

  14. Russell Gontar

    Oh sure. Great idea. But could you kindly tell us all where we can relocate to in the USA where we are not at risk of being shot the moment we leave our front doors? Of course, that may not work either even if you are inside of your own home, but in the wrong zip code with the wrong skin color.