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Matt Webb

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Two years ago, when we first relocated to Southern California, our son befriended a lovely classmate who was polite, courteous, fun—and the son of a man who sells guns.

I did not feel particularly great about this.

I mean, what did I know about guns? I was never aware of any of my New York pals and/or neighbors owning one. I certainly didn’t feel the need to keep a firearm in our house. So, again, being a guy who believes strongly in greater tracking and less access to firearms, I was not euphoric upon learning this little piece of information.

Then I met Matt Webb.

First, he was simply a nice guy. Second, he was a ridiculously involved father. Third, he was open minded and a fantastic listener. And, fourth, we talked about guns. And talked more about guns. He was chill and up front. He taught me some things I never knew, and was far from enamored by the NRA and the idea of unlimited, unchecked weaponry. When our son went to the Webbs for a play date, and the wife asked about a firearm in the home, they could not have been more decent. In short, Matt Webb is good people.

Hence, I asked him to come and be the 275th Quaz, and talk about guns and protection and hunting and safety and the NRA. Matt’s company, Badrock Tactical, can be found here.

Matt Webb, you’re the magical 275th Quaz …

JEFF PEARLMAN: Matt, I’m gonna throw one at you, because it’s always fascinated me and you’re a good person to ask. So I often hear people with guns in the home saying they have a weapon present for safety. “I want to protect my family,” etc … etc. And I get it. I truly do. But statistics seems pretty clear that a gun in the home is far more likely to kill/injure a loved one than stop an invader. So why, in your opinion, is it good to have a weapon in the abode?

MATT WEBB: Let me start by saying that “having a gun in the home” isn’t a universally good idea at all. So, in my opinion, one should only have a gun in the home as a mechanism for protection if they are equipped to have said weapon. To provide detail on what I mean: Are you trained in handling a weapon? Do you have adequate weapon storage security? Do you have a FEAR of handling the weapon? If there is ambiguity or uncertainty when you answer any of these questions, then you 100 percent SHOULD NOT have a weapon in the house. If you are a safe, have adequate storage and training, then having a weapon in the house can provide peace of mind in knowing that you could neutralize or eliminate a threat should one arise. The reality is that the police and 911 are not tasked with protecting you. They will actually tell you that if you ask them, so if one feels threatened, it is a way to provide security if proper measures have been taken to ensure safety.

J.P.: Your business, Badrock Tactical, specializes in the selling of—among other things—high-end AR platform tactical rifles. I am not a gun expert by any means, but the wording “assault rifle” immediately causes me to shudder. I ask with total seriousness, and zero snideness: Are you selling dangerous weapons that should not be out there? Why is it OK to sell assault rifles? And how can dealers like yourself make certain they don’t wind up in the wrong hands?

M.W.: The first thing we should do with respect to this question is clarify a detail that may seem frivolous to you, but it really grates on knowledgeable firearms owners … we DO NOT sell assault weapons. An AR-15 is not an assault weapon. What may seem like semantics to you is in reality a very big detail that gets glossed over by mainstream media. An assault weapon is a “select fire” (meaning it has the ability to shoot in full automatic mode). Now I realize that legislatively we as a society have started to lump many firearms in as “assault weapons” simply by visible characteristics (pistol grip, detachable magazine, flash suppressor, folding stock) … which, by the way, none of these attributes makes a firearm more or less dangerous. Now, with that out of the way, we do sell AR platform weapons, which are no more or less dangerous than a lever-action, bolt action or other semi-automatic type rifle or pistol. They simply “look scary” and the platform is used by our military, so it is assumed it is more dangerous.

The reality is that an AR type weapon is popular because it is highly modular, highly accurate and simple to operate. As far as sales of firearms, it doesn’t matter if it is an AR15 or a wooden-stock 22 long rifle … a purchaser in California (the only place we, as an FFL, can sell firearms) is required to complete a firearm safety course, submit to a background check, provide a thumb print and go through a 10-day wait/background evaluation before a firearm can be purchased. So is it possible to 100 percent guarantee that a firearm won’t end up in the hands of someone with ill intent? Of course not. No more so than I can guarantee a person won’t go into a hardware store and buy an axe or a Wal-Mart and buy a knife or get behind the wheel of a car drunk.

J.P.: We’ve spoken at length about the NRA, and you’re a gun owner who seems somewhat turned off by the organization. Why?

M.W.: My thoughts on the NRA are that it is far too stodgy and inflexible. As a responsible firearm owner, I feel like both sides (pro and anti-gun) need to look at options to make our country safer. I think the NRA falsely represents a “redneck” stance that does not embody all firearm owners. I, for one, am in support of waiting periods and background checks in every state. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require a test and a license to own a firearm. We do it with a car, so I have no problem with that concept and feel that it should be a part of firearm ownership.

J.P.: What do people like me not understand about guns, gun ownership? What do you feel like we’re missing?

M.W.: I don’t know that people like you are “missing” anything, per se. I think that more knowledge about firearms in general would help curb some of the preconceived notions about different types of firearms. The media gets it wrong so often and really tends to generalize, which is very frustrating for someone like me. But I think it’s just a cultural thing. People either appreciate and/or enjoy firearms activities (target shooting, competition shooting, hunting, etc) or they don’t. Obviously, given the large percentage of firearm ownership (in both absolute numbers and percentage of Americans who own firearms), firearms are popular to own in America. For those who don’t “get it” … my guess is that they have only focused on the negative and they have never had the opportunity or interest in exploring any of the positive or enjoyable parts of shooting sports. If you grow up in New York City, for instance, owning a car may be “odd” and taking a train is absolutely the norm. To someone growing up in North Dakota, this would seem extremely odd and they may not “get it” … but it’s just an exposure thing, I think.

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J.P.: How did this happen for you? Like, what’s your background? How did you first become familiar with firearms? With shooting? What was the draw for you?

M.W.: I’ll start by pointing out that I grew up in Montana. Specifically, Badrock Canyon, in Northwest Montana near Glacier National Park. The actual community was Columbia Falls, MT located in the heart of the Flathead Valley. As a Montana boy, I spent much of my free time hunting, fishing, camping, target-shooting and just being an outdoorsman. I was raised in a house that had guns, obviously, and I learned to shoot at a very young age (probably about 5-years old) from my grandfather. Both my step-father and my grandfather were avid hunters and shooters and both had been in the military (Vietnam and Korea). For me, guns were not a big deal in the sense that I had a very healthy respect for them, but I didn’t view them as evil or an instrument of violence. They were used for hunting and for sport shooting. Now that I live in California, I certainly don’t hunt anymore, but I do enjoy target shooting still when I have the opportunity.

J.P.: Whenever a school shooting happens, we wind up in this huge, ugly, unproductive political debate. The left screams about cutting back on guns and increasing background checks. The right insists a gun is merely an instrument, that we need to focus on mental health. Matt, what says you? What can we do that would have a legitimate impact on safety?

M.W.: Nobody likes when there is a mass tragedy of any kind. Whether it’s a shooting, or a train derailing, or building blowing up or a multi-car freeway accident … on and on. As you pointed out, though, when such a tragedy occurs with firearms, it provides a political platform and the bickering starts. My feeling on it is that I think we could always do more to help in the areas of mental health, but I don’t think it will stop mass tragedies. We could completely ban firearms, and it’s not going to stop mass tragedies. The reality is (in my opinion) that bad people find ways to do bad things. It is naïve to think that a “gun ban” would take the guns out of the hands of the people who are causing harm anyway.

And even if it did, just for the sake of argument, bad people would still do their thing. It’s incredibly simple, fast and cheap to make a homemade bomb. You don’t need a driver’s license, you simply need YouTube and Home Depot and about five minutes of free time and you could make a device far more devastating than a firearm. I’m not sure what we can do to have a legitimate impact on safety. I guess if I were allocating dollars for programs it would be on teaching tolerance and promoting civic activities that brought people together rather than politicizing everything and tearing us apart.

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J.P.: It seems like some guns are demonized more than others—and that gun owners often say, “Dude, you guys have NO idea what you’re talking about here.” So what’s an example of a gun people fail to grasp? And why?

M.W.: Some guns are definitely demonized more than others—like the AR15!! I kind of covered this a little bit before, but it’s worth repeating. The AR is demonized because it is popular to pick on and it has the “look” that it should be more dangerous. There are far more crimes committed with handguns. A high-powered rifle (.300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua, .50 cal, etc) are far more lethal, yet an AR is an easy target because our troops carry it, so the thought goes that the general population should not. I obviously do not agree with that stance.

To me, in my eyes, the AR is simply a firearm no more or less deserving of our care and respect as firearms owners than any other weapon. It is not an assault weapon, capable of full-automatic firing. Those types of weapons are for our military or for those that are willing and can afford the nearly two-year long and extremely expensive process of getting approved for one.

J.P.: In 1994 Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assaults Weapons Ban into law—and many Democrats and Republicans cheered. It expired in 2004 under intense pressure from the NRA, and now no longer exists. What did you think of the ban? Was it useful? Useless? Important? Unimportant?

M.W.: The 1994 Federal Assault had no impact on gun crime. The FBI Crime Reports support that fact unequivocally. Primarily because, even prior to the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, less than 2 percent of gun crime was committed with said weapon. The reality is that violent crime with a firearm has continually declined in total for the past 25 years—and the crimes that do take place are primarily committed with a handgun. So, no, an assault weapon ban will have zero impact in my opinion. Because like with most gun control laws, it only will impact law abiding citizens. I hate to point out the obvious, but people who commit crimes, with or without guns, are by definition criminals and couldn’t care less about whether there is a “ban” or not.

With wife Robyn
With wife Robyn

J.P.: You have three kids. What is the best way to approach gun safety with children?

M.W.: With my three youngest boys, we have taken the position that they should be comfortable with the idea of firearms. What I mean by that is that we have taken the time to teach them basic firearm safety. I’ve taught them how they work and what they are used for. We have also instilled a healthy respect for their power and capability of devastation. Since they have been exposed to them in a safe, non-threatening manner and had the opportunity to ask questions and go target shooting … they have become a “non-issue” in that they don’t even think about them being at our home because they are completely unaware that they are in the home due to the type of safe we choose to keep in our home.

I should point out that I’m a firm—absolutely firm—believer that firearms in the home have to be in a gun safe. There is never a scenario that a firearm that is in the home shouldn’t be locked away and inaccessible to anyone other than the owner. I was raised that way and we never had anything that came close to an accident or problem and I feel the same way as a parent.

As a matter of fact, in today’s world it is a good idea to inquire about homes where your kids may go to play or hang out. It was something I took for granted until your lovely wife Catherine made the inquiry to us … and it really hit me that we should be asking that question too. Not everyone is as responsible or as careful as us, and we should know what kind of environment our kids are hanging out in. I know my kids won’t pick up a gun that isn’t theirs or play with a gun, but I have no idea what other kids may do …

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QUAZ EXPRESS WITH MATT WEBB:

• Rank in order (favorite to least): Matt Kemp, Chubby Checker, David Beckham, E.T., Flo Rida, Spotify, Montana State, Jude Law, Judy Dench, Kiki Dee, boogers: 1. Flo Rida, 2. Spotify, 3. ET, 4. Chubby Checker, 5. Matt Kemp, 6. David Beckham, 7. Judy Dench, 8. Kiki Dee, 9. Boogers, 10. Montana State.

• Five all-time favorite ice cream flavors: 1. Salted Carmel, 2. Cherry Cheesecake, 3. Cookies and Cream, 4. French Vanilla, 5. Chocolate

• What scares you more: Ebola or climate change? Why?: Hmmmm … Ebola because I don’t know how I would get it and it would freak me out. With climate change, I feel like I’m already “dealing” with that and it’s going as well as can be expected.

• Tell me your best joke: Teacher: Whoever answers my next question, can go home.  One boy throws his bag out the window. Teacher: Who just threw that?  Boy: Me and I’m going home now.

• One question you would ask Garry Templeton were he here right now?: If Garry Templeton were here right now … I’d ask him how he ever blew a gig like managing a baseball team in Maui.

• Would you rather eat a 12-inch log of Jeff Beck’s poop or stick a needle in and out of your eyeball?: I’m going for the needle in the eyeball over Jeff Beck’s 12 inch poop log … in a landslide. Great guitar player, but the poop? No thanks

• Who wins in a 12-round boxing match between you and Jerry Brown? What’s the outcome?: I crush Moonbeam in a scheduled 12 round bout. It’s over in the first round. His corner throws in the towel.

• Greatest movie line of all time?: Val Kilmer in Tombstone. There are actually two. The first one is when he and the gang are going room to room in the brothel and they tell everyone, “Don’t move!” Then he sees a couple getting busy and he says, ”No, no, by all means … move.” The second one is, of course, his very famous line: ”I’m your huckleberry.”

• In exactly 17 words, explain why Beverly Hills Cop II is a superior film to Gone With the Wind: My wife said this is a ridiculous question because Gone With the Wind is so much better

Categories
Blog

Terror

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Last night, while working out at the gym, I watched Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich mock Barack Obama for his inability to see the biggest threat to American safety.

It’s not climate change, they insisted. It’s ISIS, and the looming, ongoing nightmare that is fundamentalist Islamic terror. That, they agreed, is why we all should be nervous, and what our energies need to be focused upon. Climate change? Meh. Not a big deal.

Then the commercial came, someone tried to sell me a car, and that was that.

This morning, in case you have yet to hear, up to 20 people were shot at a county services office in San Bernardino, California—not all that far from where we live. The details are sketchy, but it’s believed a couple of the shooters are on the run. The suspects, a spokesperson said, are heavily armed and were possibly wearing body armor.

Yup.

This is a rant: I’m tired of hearing about ISIS, and refugees, and protecting our boarders. I want to hear about guns. And not how we need more of them; how, if someone in that office was armed, this might have not happened. Nope, nope, nope. I want to hear a plan—a legitimate plan—for making our nation safer. Maybe it means longer waiting periods, maybe it means more law enforcement, maybe it means a nation filled with metal detectors. Whatever—I don’t care. But I want solutions. Real solutions. Oh, and to hell with the Second Amendment. Wait, let me re-state: To hell with the modern far-right interpretation of the Second Amendment. Do you really think Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson aspired to a nation where everyone carries the high-caliber weaponry of their choosing? Do you really think that’s the answer? More guns? Imagine the scene. You’re in a restaurant. Someone thinks there’s a robbery going on. He pulls out his gun. Then someone else thinks that guy’s the gunman, and he pulls out his gun. They start shooting, and others pull out their guns. How about fights at Little League games; disputes at cash registers; a suspected robber who’s actually your uncle using the key beneath the flower pot.

Guns. Guns. Guns.

This is not safety. It’s insanity.

But you know what else is insanity? Believing ISIS to be our biggest threat, when we have weekly mass shootings. That’s no exaggeration—every week, on average, we now have mass shootings in America. These are our terrorism. Imagine if this San Bernardino tragedy were carried out by an Islamic fundamentalist? The response would be a bunkering down; a call for higher security; renewed indictments of Muslims. But if—as will likely be the case—this was carried out by a bunch of good ol’ asshole American shooters, we’ll react thusly …

A. Statements of sympathy and prayer for the victims.

B. Repeated pleas not to politicize the moment.

C. Nothing gets done.

ISIS? Islamic fundamentalism? Horrible, awful, need to be eradicated. No doubt.

This guy, however, is our Osama. We just don’t seem realize it …

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Categories
Activists Blog News QUAZ

Paul Ercolino

I try not to excessively editorialize in this particular forum, but—in this case—I’ll make an exception.

The gun nonsense in this nation has to stop. It absolutely, positively has to. There are too many guns, used by too many unqualified and unreasonable people, who obtain them too easily. There are too many angry citizens being paired with devices of anger. It’s a joke. Beyond a joke. People are dying, and our elected officials—thanks in large part to the power of the NRA—nod and do little.

I’m sick of it.

So, for that matter, is Paul Ercolino, the sort of man I aspire to be. Four months ago Paul’s brother, Steven, was shot and killed by a deranged former co-worker outside the Empire State Building. He was 41. At the ensuing wake, one of Steven’s cousins asked a question that now, in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook, so many are also wondering: “Why are the good ones taken?”

Paul Ercolino hasn’t accepted the tragedy meekly. The president of U.S. Monitor, the nation’s leading mail monitor service, he now devotes himself to curtailing gun availability in the United States, and has become an outspoken critic of the proliferation of violence we’re experiencing. He’s actively involved in the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence, and longs for a time when these tragedies cease. You can—and should—follow him on Twitter here.

I am honored—beyond honored—to have Paul Ercolino participate in the Quaz …

JEFF PEARLMAN: Paul, before I go anywhere with this interview, I’d like to ask about your brother Steven, who was shot and killed four months ago outside the Empire State Building. Who was he? What was he like? What was your relationship like? What do you want people to know about him?

PAUL ERCOLINO: Steven had a big personality and carried himself with a certain swagger. As my sister Maria said in her eulogy “When Steven walked into a room, you knew it.” First, you were captured by his bright smile and blue eyes. He was full of life and had a work ethic and drive like no one else. He was artistic, creative and articulate.  Throughout his career in the fashion industry Steven helped people, changed their lives for the better, advised and mentored them. Steven had an amazing ability to make others laugh and he had a knack for impersonating people and movie characters, which always left people hysterical.

Steven had finally settled down with his soul mate Ivette and he was as happy as I can remember the last time I saw him in August at a family get-together in Warwick, N.Y. He was a wonderful brother and son to my parents, but what I really admired most about him was what a great uncle he was to my children and his other nieces and nephews. He would take my son Vincent into Little Italy for dinner and always have the latest handbag for my daughter Sofia. The little ones called him Uncle Duckie because one time he came to a family get together with his hair dyed blonde. He loved life and he lived it.

Sports were a big part of our family growing up. We were Mets, Knicks and Rangers fans but we split on football. My dad and I are Giants fans, while Steven and my brother Peter are Jets fans. In fact, my last conversation with my brother came after a phone call to WFAN’s Mike Francesa. After I hung up the phone, I got a phone call from him and he said, in typical Steven fashion, “You’re still talking about the stinkin’ Mets.”

It hurts, I really miss him.

Steven Ercolino, a beloved uncle, with his nieces.

J.P.: I’m writing these questions just four days after the Sandy Hook nightmare, and everyone’s talking gun control-gun control-gun control. This has obviously become an issue near and dear to you. What, Paul, needs to be done? What can be done? I’m fearful time will pass, distractions will take place and, as always, we’ll do shit. Please tell me I’m wrong …

P.E.: I think you are wrong this time, Jeff. The tragedy in Newtown has had such a powerful impact on the country as we watched in horror the slaughter of children and their teachers. The American public can’t allow this to pass and do nothing about it. We must demand that our politicians on both sides of the aisle get together and tackle the issue of curbing gun violence. The first and most obvious thing to do is ban assault weapons and high capacity ammo clips. We can close gun show loopholes and mandate background checks on anyone who buys a firearm. Just as importantly, we need find ways to stop access of lethal weapons to the mentally ill.

J.P.: How did you find out  about your brother’s death? How did you and your family handle it? And is there any advice you can offer to the Sandy Hook families? Is there a way to cope with this? Is it even possible?

P.E.: We were moving my son into his dorm as an incoming freshman at Syracuse University. We had just finished breakfast and were walking to the Carrier Dome for a ceremony when my father called me with the news that turned one of the happiest days of my life into the worst nightmare I could ever imagine. We have pulled together as a family after this tragedy and have become a stronger unit. No longer do we go a month at a time without picking up the phone and talking with each other. Our faith in God has been renewed as we feel the energy of Steven around us in everything we do. We will be starting a Steven Ercolino Foundation that will give back to the causes he believed in. The Sandy Hook families are in a much more difficult place than we were. I had 41 years to love my brother, while these poor families had the lights of their lives ripped from them at the ages of 6 and 7. My only advice is too celebrate their short lives and try not to agonize over their horrific deaths. That is what I am in the process of doing and it is very difficult.

The Ercolino Family, together for the final time two weeks before Steven’s death. Writes Paul: “It was the last time we were all together and it just breaks my heart looking at the smile on my mother and father’s face. They were so happy that we were all together. Little did we know this would be the last time.”

J.P.: After the incident, you were outspoken in your criticism of the media’s handling of the incident. Why? What, specifically, bothered you? And how do you feel about the Sandy Hook coverage?

P.E.: I was outraged by the New York Times Online Edition and the New York Post front page posting an overhead graphic photo of my brother that was recognizable to anyone who knew him, lying in a pool of blood. The photo was taken by someone in my brother’s office building and sold to the New York Times for $300. As a brother of the victim and former journalist, it sickened me that someone made the decision to run that photo. As for the Sand Hook coverage, I think the rush to be first with a story has led to so many inaccuracies. They identified Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old brother of the murderer, as the initial suspect. It was reported that the mother was a teacher in the school, and was killed along with her class. When did get it first instead of get it right become the norm? In our case, reporters would not stop calling my parents’ house, which led me to hold a press conference outside their home. At least in Sandy Hook, I believe the press has respected the victims’ privacy and allowed them to grieve privately.

J.P.: Why do you think people are so passionate about guns? To me, they’re objects. Inanimate objects that kill. Why such strong feelings from gun owners?

P.E.: I am similar to you, I have never owned a gun and I look at them as objects that kill. Some people have a passion for cars, I look at them as an object that gets me from point A to B. I was brought up with sports in my house and I have a passion for sports. I guess in some cultures in America, guns are a way of life, people grow up with them and start using them at an early age. Now, when the government discusses putting limits on their passion, people get very protective of their guns.

Paul speaking with the media shortly after his brother’s passing.

J.P.: This might sound stupid, but I’m wondering—can you walk past the Empire State Building any longer? Do you avoid it? Do you even look at it?

P.E.: It is not a stupid question. The first time I had to drive into the city for business after the murder I was crossing the George Washington Bridge and looked at the skyline as I had done hundreds of times before and started to cry. I realized this symbol of American greatness was now an image of horror for me and my family.  In November, the family got together for what would have been his 42nd birthday.  We went on the roof of his Union City, N.J. condo and released balloons in his honor. Before we released the balloons my 5-year-old nephew, Matthew, said, “Hey, isn’t that the Empire State Building? That was Uncle Steven’s favorite building!” It was as only a 5-year old could. It brought more tears to my eyes but I realized that Steven bought this condo for the view of his favorite building in the city he loved and now I can look at the Empire State Building again.

J.P.: Has anyone from Jeffrey Johnson’s family ever reached out to you? Apologized? Anything? And did/do you want them to? Does it matter?

P.E.: No one from the Johnson family has ever reached out to us, nor would I expect them. It is not something anyone in our family is seeking and there is really nothing they can say at this point.

J.P.: Whenever tragedy happens, clergy speak of “learning” and “healing” from said incidents. Is that nonsense to make us feel better? Or is there learning and healing to be done?

P.E.: No, I don’t think it is nonsense—there is learning and healing that can come from tragedy. What I learned from my brother’s murder is that life is too short to be worrying about all the BS that goes on around you in your daily life. Life is precious and it can be taken away from you in an instant, without warning.

Steven was a Jets loyalist.

J.P.: Paul, I know much about your brother, little about you. Where are you from? What’s your life path? Job? Kids?

P.E.: I was born in Brooklyn and we moved to Nanuet in Rockland County when I was in first grade. I graduated from Clarkstown South High School and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. My wife Elisa and I have been married for 21 years and we have two children—Vincent, 18, and Sofia, 12. I worked for five years after college as news anchor and reporter at radio stations in Rockland and Westchester, N.Y., as well as in Tampa, Florida. After Vincent was born in 1994 in Florida we decided to move back to New York to be closer to family. After being the runner-up for a reporter position at WCBS News Radio, I began working at my in-laws’ direct marketing company. Eighteen years later I am now the President of U.S. Monitor, the nation’s leading mail monitor service. Since my brother’s murder, I have been working with Dan Gross at the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence and I have become active in ethics in journalism regarding victims’ rights.

J.P.: Do you think we’re a violent people who need to learn to be peaceful? Or are you peaceful people who gravitate toward violence? And is there a solution?

P.E.: We are peaceful people who gravitate toward violence. I think the solution starts with parents, teachers and mental health professionals. If we recognize the warning signs early and make the choice to take the appropriate action, many of these tragedies can be avoided.

QUAZ EXPRESS WITH PAUL ERCOLINO:

• Three most important steps we can take, RE: gun control: Ban assault weapons, close gun show loopholes, background checks on 100-percent of gun sales.

• If you could say one thing to Wayne LaPierre, the NRA CEO, it would be …: Do the right thing and rise to the moment.

• Do you believe video games predispose people to violence?: No, I think people are predisposed to violence and those people when exposed to violent video games may become more predisposed to violence.

• Your brother’s five favorite Jet players: His favorite all-time was Joe Klecko, he also liked Freeman McNeil, Wayne Chrebet, Curtis Martin and Darrelle Revis is no particular order.

• Does God exist?: Yes and in the past four months my faith in God has become an important part of my life.

• Do you believe in the death penalty? Why or why not?: My position has evolved on this issue. I used to be pro-death penalty but I have been convinced that it is not a deterrent and that life in prison without parole is a harsher punishment for murderers.

• Why do you think people who commit violent acts don’t just shoot themselves?: Why take out others, too? I think they want to go out in a blaze of glory and destroy the people who they feel are responsible for their lot in life.

• You studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse. Why aren’t you a broadcast journalist?: I worked as a journalist for five years after graduating from Syracuse and after my son was born in 1994 I decided to work in my in-laws’ business. Journalism is still in my blood, though.

• On your Facebook page you “liked” Walmart. I know no one who likes Walmart. What up?: Last I checked over 26 million people agree with me … who are you hanging out with. 🙂

• Why Syracuse’s football team ever win anything?: Coach Doug Marrone has us on the right track, the move to the ACC should help us. As for competing with the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world—that is wishful thinking. Let’s talk Orange basketball …