Get our newsletters

Gun control and lives well-lived


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick made the news recently when he hosted Democrat Congressman Conor Lamb whose district includes portions of Allegheny (Pittsburgh area) and Beaver counties. Fitzpatrick stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss veteran affairs.

But I wonder whether the two quietly talked about white-nationalist terror and gun control? If they didn’t they should have. Sensible changes to prevent gun violence should include: (1) a ban on military-styled assault weapons, (2) prohibiting the sale of military-styled magazines and clips which hold multiple rounds of ammunition, (3) expanded background checks before purchasing weapons and (4) red-flag warnings about the mentally distressed.

Incidentally, there is no doubt in my mind that President Trump’s rhetoric inflamed the white supremests who massacred 31 people in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Make no mistake about the size of the white supremesist problem. There are thousands…maybe millions … who are angry that the white race in America will become the minority in a few years.

One of my friends suggested that the odds that any of the four mentioned items above will ever see the light of day are zero. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the strongest lobbies in America and it opposes anything that appears to restrict the sale of guns.

But my friend thinks that the NRA would not object to legislation that would ban assault weapons if they were held under lock and key at gun clubs. Assault weapon fans could still shoot them but only at supervised gun club ranges.

In just eight months of this year, 62 people have been killed in mass shootings.

I’ll have to ask Don, one of my critics from the Coopersburg area, for his opinion. Here’s what he recently sent me via email: “The more we seek to prevent such mass killings, whether caused by firearms, explosives or motor vehicles, the more obvious it becomes …that until we can identify, locate and arrange for appropriate identity for such mad killers … before they can obtain the weaponry to conduct their mass killings, we will continually be confronted with such deadly, murderous events for the future.” Don’s right.

Now, on an entirely different subject, there are two obituaries you should know about. The first is Robert Detweiler, a native of Quakertown, who passed away at age 85 near his home in Chambersburg. A basketball star, Bob was an excellent athlete in his Quakertown High School days.

“As a young man, Bob played collegiate (Moravian College) and then semi-pro basketball, including a season alongside future NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain with a Quakertown team,” his obituary reported.

Bob worked 35 years for W.R. Grace in his hometown, traveling the country as a sales representative and manager. He was active in the community as a member of the Quakertown Jaycees and a board member of the Quakertown YMCA. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held in November.

The second obit was Gertrude Flor, 97, a Holocaust survivor. Our Bucks County friends will remember Gertrude and her husband, Samuel. They were wonderful musicians who periodically performed at concerts we gave at our house. Gertrude was a pianist; Samuel, a violinist. Their love story would make a great movie.

Gertrude’s life at age 19 was shattered in 1940 when the Soviets overran her town. According to her obituary, she ran for her life and found refuge at the conservatory where she’d trained as a child. A young violinist (Samuel Flor) found her crying. Gertrude begged him to give her a job and told him the Soviets were after her and her family.

Samuel Flor said they should get married. He led her to the local registrar’s office, married her, and changed her name, thereby saving her life. Thus began a 56-year marriage and musical partnership. Gertrude was in her 60s when Mighty Betsy and I first met her. Gertrude was beautiful … stunning.

While her husband played in various orchestras, Gertrude built a career accompanying singers, playing chamber music, coaching and teaching piano. After the Flors came to Philadelphia in 1965, she taught piano at the Settlement Music School, coached singers in French and Italian diction at Temple University, and accompanied many singers and instrumentalists on the piano.

We have wonderful memories of both Gertrude and Samuel Flor.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

P.S. The movie at the County Theater, “Maiden,” is a fabulous documentary about an all-female crew that sailed around the world. Be sure to see it.