Before the gun lobby, before the mental-health professionals, before the video-game industry, Vice President Joe Biden wanted to first meet with law enforcement in the hopes of working toward a solution to curb gun violence in America. This was his first step in assembling the gun-control recommendations that were revealed on Wednesday.
As he explained to the panel of assembled police leaders on Dec. 20, "you have a much more holistic view about how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country." Sitting directly to right of the vice president was a man for whom these words must have felt all-too fitting.
It was Thomas Nee, a Boston police officer and the president of the National Association of Police Organizations. In 2008, his son Joe was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison for plotting to commit a Columbine-style massacre at his Massachusetts high school.
Conservative websites such as Breitbart.com have used Nee's family history to shoot claims of hypocrisy toward and cast doubt upon the gun-control working group. But even if a cursory glance at Nee's history appears hypocritical, can't it be instructive?
Thomas Nee was in an obviously unique position, sitting on a panel instigated by the type of crime his son was committed of plotting. But it's a position that mirrors the nebulous heart of the gun-control issue: Even where it seems like it shouldn't exist (an elementary school or a police officer's home, for instance), violent thoughts and actions occur.