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Joe the Plumber: ‘Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights’

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Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber,” has a message for the families of the victims shot to death in the mass killings near the University of California at Santa Barbara: “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”

Wurzelbacher, who became a political mascot for the Republican Party during the 2008 presidential race after he confronted President Obama about taxes for small businesses, penned an open letter titled “To the parents of the victims murdered by Elliot Rodger” and posted it on his website. 

“I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now,” Wurzelbacher writes. “But… [a]s harsh as this sounds — your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”

Wurzelbacher said his letter is directed “only to the families of the gunshot victims in Santa Barbara” and not to the families of three victims who were stabbed before the shooting spree.

Wurzelbacher continues:

“As a father, husband and a man, it is my responsibility to protect my family. I will stand up for that right vehemently. Please believe me, as a father I share your grief and I will pray for you and your family, as I do whenever I hear about senseless tragedies such as this,” he continued.

Richard Martinez, the father of one of the six victims, told reporters on Sunday he blames the NRA and politicians for his son’s death.

Wurzelbacher addressed Martinez, saying, “Mr. Martinez and anyone calling for more restrictions on American’s rights need to back off and stop playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.”

He ended his letter by saying:

“To the parents of Elliot Rodger’s stabbing victims: I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m sick to death every damn time I turn around and some poor soul with obvious violent mental sickness is allowed to exact this kind of pain on a family. Elliot Rodger deserved help, yes – but your child deserved so much more. I’m very sorry and sad for you.”


  • stinger90

    I will never..I mean NEVER give up my right to bare arms for protection of my home and family. I’m truly sadden for the loss in Santa Barbara, but you will have to kill me before I give them up. Take it how you want..

      • guzzi3

        @kill the poor. yes my good man, I see you have not read the document that you are living under. You see there was once a time where people believed in something greater. They also believed that our (maybe not yours as you believe man gave you your rights) rights were given to us by God. The document even says it. Say what you will but I believe the old guys more than you because they were way smarter than you or me. Just for fun you should try to read the Federalist Papers and I dare you to do it without a dictionary.

      • Kill The Poor

        Adam Wood- The governmant under BOTH parties have slowly been taking away your “rights” for decades. Im sorry you’re to blind or stupid to realize it. Japanese/American citizens alive in 1941 will tell you that. The NSA (long before Obama was in office so don’t give me that tired excuse) have been raping your 4th amandment “rights” for years.

        Stinger90- If the government went all out and sent in the FBI, National Guard or whoever to take your guns away, they would take you out without breaking a sweat, so quit thinking your a badass just because you own a gun.

      • mojorisin73

        They would have a fight on their hands because I can bet that a lot the ones serving would take his or her oath seriously to the Constitution and refuse to point their weapons at an American citizen but instead defend that person from the tyranny of this government just like the a lot of the oath keepers did at the Bundy ranch. We the People are sick and tired of having our Constitutional rights taken away every time a crisis happens and the government wants to “protect” us. “One who gives up liberty for temporary security deserves neither liberty nor security” —-Benjamin Franklin

      • Kill The Poor

        Guzz13- Ahh God. The God excuse. The last refuse for a man with no idea or arguement. “it came from God”. If your “rights” came from God then he would have given people the right to clean water, food, shelter ect. Nah God is more worried about weather you own a gun or not. I’m sure if the government went to take away your guns, God will reach his hand down from heaven and stop the feds dead in their tracks, just to protect your “rights”.

      • stinger90

        Never said that I was a badass, and who said that I had one gun dickhead. Send those people over. You can’t seize what you can’t find smart guy. Besides, if they send all those people you wonder the government is so f-up.

      • guzzi3

        I wonder what ole Charlie would say now. Now to me what you are saying is that you cannot be free, right? Other men wrote the rules so you have to obey and that you have no say. So are the men in power better than you? Do you believe that you have the right to speak your mind, and you say that right came from other men? I for one can speak my mind because it is a natural right. But you believe you can because some other guy said you could, and that man can take it away from you without recourse. Did someone tell you when to eat too? I bet you are one of the ones that take no responsibility for your own actions and mommy and daddy will bail you out. And I bet that you would be one of the ones that would take money out of my pocket and give it to someone else too because you are self righteous and would make others bow down to your superior intellect. Tell me I’m wrong.

      • Chris

        Yeah send in highly trained people that like guns because they use them on a daily basis to take away guns. How many people do you think would stick with their organization if the government tried to take away guns

      • Chris

        Do you really want to talk about God because with the people that you listen to (that contradict themselves as they talk). I could tell you about the God I believe in and the God the country was founded by. The video you linked, the man said how come your God would have different numbers of amendments in the Bill of Rights in different countries. Not because he doesn’t exist but because their is few countries founded on Christianity other countries are founded by Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamic, etc so their God isn’t the same or they believe in the same God but a different belief in Jesus. So if me and you have different thoughts on how our country should backed because of religion, then we would have different Bills of Rights.

  • Queen Bee

    I think his “message” is thoughtless because he has NO IDEA what those parents are going through. No idea. And until he loses a kid to this kind of senseless violence, he never will understand.

    • don

      I wonder how many of these commenters have served in the armed forces and been ordered over seas to protect and defend the constitution.

    • Jerry Tucker

      I tell you how I would feel. My anger would not be directed towards the NRA or the millions of law abiding gun owners/carriers who have nothing to do with this. My anger would be directed politicians who have enacted laws that have done nothing but turn away those who need help from an already failing mental heath system. That’s how I would feel Queen Bee. And I have had friends killed by both guns and knives but it has not changed my opinion of the 2nd Amendment nor has it kept me from owning and/or legally carrying a firearm. If anything, event’s like that and this one have strengthened my resolve to carry to protect myself and my family.

    • Chris

      The way he said that sounds harsh but he’s trying to make a point that it’s not the guns it’s the people. Their was murder in the world before there was guns

  • just say'n

    Whether or not it is our right to bear arms, the fact still remains that the mentally ill are getting their hands on weapons and are out to do harm to whomever they feel is the cause or a threat to them…I feel sorry for them, just as I do for their victims and the families…while I do believe that it is our right to bear arms, I also believe in stricter gun control…it is also our right to feel protected and when you turn your t.v. on and every other day you hear about such senseless tragedies, it’s hard to feel safe…

    • GC

      Can you show me anywhere where we have a “right to feel safe”? Last I checked there is nowhere in the constitution that gives us that right.

      • Texan Born and Raised

        From the Declaration of Independence
        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

        That seems to me to say I have the right that my family can walk down a street and not be gunned down by a nut job who claims his right to bear arms in a well regulated militia trumps life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • Steve

    Wow, I appreciate his message but you think maybe he could re-phrase his overall point? To tell people who have just lost their children to a senseless act of violence that “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights” shows he has zero empathy whatsoever. Heartless, inappropriate, and ridiculous.

  • Hmm..

    At times like this, only one quote comes to mind: “One man’s death is a tragedy; A million’s is just a statistic” As insensitive and socialist as that sounds, we shouldn’t be changing the lives of ~300 million to compensate for the few. It is truly a tragedy though.

  • sophie

    My mother was murdered in cold blood in 1972 by a stupid, selfish, disgusting old bast ard with a gun. NEVER ONCE have I questioned our second amendment rights. I have always wondered what would have happened if someone else in the business where it happened besides that murdering s.o.b. would have had a gun. Would he have been able to unload it on her or would he have been stopped before issuing the fatal shot?

  • WeBuiltThisCountry

    First his ancestors slaughtered Indian’s, then his grandparents raped, beat and murdered African American’s. So looking into his savage bloodlines these Statement’s shouldn’t be surprising.

    • Chris

      Really you bring up slavery and the Indians. You said raped and beaten, while 90% of slaves weren’t raped or beaten. The “beatings” that you saw from some Hollywood producer made you think it happened to all of them. The 10% that were beaten was because a few times groups of slaves would slaughter the men, women, and children that were white in their areas. And one group stormed a us armory and killed over 100 people. Just thought Id give you some facts before you think just because I own and will use my gun if need be that I’m some racist piece of shit

  • satirist

    What a great spokesperson for the NRA. Nice and classy, full of compassion and empathy. I think he should make a commercial. Maybe he can get some speaking engagements booked. What company wouldn’t want him to be their mouthpiece? At a bare minimum, he can do some political commercials for the upcoming election cycle.

  • joe

    CNN should be ashamed of themselves for showing this very emotional time for a father that just lost his son. They turned their political agenda into a shameful display of an emotional time in some ones life. I too agree that the government needs to leave our right to own a gun alone, but lets leave this political BS for them (CNN) to make fools of themselves.

  • Beth

    No, Joe, dead kids don’t trump your rights. But human decency and compassion trump your idiotic heartless comments.

  • nonna1

    My defenseless step son was murdered, in cold blood, while fleeing a gang banger, who shot him five times, three times in the head, close up.

    Neither his father nor I will ever, ever give up our right to bear arms.

    Execute murderers and rapists.

    Do NOT tie the hands of law enforcement and therapists who KNOW they have nitro-glycerin on their hands with these head jobs. Change the “lawless” laws regarding these dangerously, mentally ill people.

  • Chucky

    I understand what Joe is saying and I agree with him to some extent but it is a heartless way to put it and his rights would not be affected if we look at better ways to screen those who purchase weapons as well as better ways to catch those who might do something like this guy did. This whole thing might have been prevented if someone had looked into it further when it concern was reported over the guy’s behavior. His videos should have been a clue that there was a potential problem looming. Ultimately, the government has failed these victims and their families. This is not the first person to commit such an act after someone was alerted of concerns.

  • Chris

    The young man got the guns and ammo legally. As have others. He went through the process. Don’t know how anyone could have stopped him. There’s no way anyone who sees a mental health professional should be on a list of some kind, not the way to go. Don’t know what the answer is, other than those around be aware. And his parents did seek help. In this case, I see where police who investigate (those who interviewed this young man) should search rooms, more than just talk to person. Maybe that is one step the authorities can take.

  • Terry

    Does anyone know which guns were used? Were those guns legally registered? Or were they illegally obtained?

  • tired of the left!!!!!!

    Why is no one calling for knife or car control. He did kill 3 with a knife and ran over several more. Why are they only harping on firearms? Why not bats, clubs, hammers?

    • kamoze357

      I agree. I’ve been dating the same thing. He started the day off by stabbing bus 3 roommates to death but no one asked to ban knives. … If someone is seton doing harm to another, there’s no much you can do besides staying vigilant.

    • terrier brown

      Maybe the reason they are not calling for car or knife control is because bullets travel and anyone can get hit

      • Chris

        Gun control will do nothing but get more people killed. You think drug dealers or people in gangs care if they now have to buy their guns illegally because the government banned guns. Can’t you see the bad guys will still get guns. The only thing you are doing is causing the good people to loose theirs. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”

  • Mark

    What a controverted and nonsensically edited article. The web staff must not have gotten their energy drink this afternoon.

  • labman57

    Sam “My name really isn’t Joe and I’m not really a plumber” Wurzelbacher is a spotlight-seeking opportunistic political poseur, desperately in search of something relevant to say … you know, kinda like Sarah Palin.

  • sperlaine

    The former editor of ‘Guns and Ammo’ was run out of town because he suggested more stringent controls such that Rodger wouldn’t have gotten his hands on guns in the first place. Ignorant people like Plumber’s Crack were screaming about the 2nd amendment rather than payinto attention to the context. After all this, an apology to the editor and the parents of the dead would be more fitting.

  • bdnb

    What’s worse is I don’t think a lot of these guys realize how sociopathic they sound. Who tells people whose children were killed that their children’s lives don’t trump some guy’s right to own guns? Do some of these people really think they’re so important that the prospect of a background check is far worse than some college students getting killed? While I trust most gun owners, some of them are beginning to sound a bit unhinged. Once they lose that sense of common humanity, they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want or to protect what they fear might be taken away. And their fears have no grounding in reality.

    Fear makes people dangerous and there are few people more fearful in this county right now than 2nd Amendment fanatics who shout down any dialogue and want to take their guns everywhere. Hopefully common sense and civility prevail, not to mention a sense of our shared humanity. For these fanatics, everyone else is the “other” who must be feared, and they’ll never feel safe no matter how many guns they own.

    To talk of some people’s rights trumping the lives of other people really speaks to the complete loss of empathy for the concerns of other people.

  • William J Urmson

    Joe the Plumber and other heartless NRA drones display behavior that’s other than human. They love their guns more than people. With politicians in NRA pockets all we can do is brace ourselves for their next sponsored slaughter. People like Joe the Dumber who support these mass murder’s have the same amount of blood on their hands as The NRA and will answer for it. The policies and laws created by The NRA killed the kids in Newtown and allowed the vigilante George Zimmerman to murder Trayvon Martin. Back ground checks, that the NRA strongly oppose, would help keep guns out of the hands of unstable people preventing many deaths. Powerful weapons like the AR-15 are offensive not defensive weapons and have no business in the hands of the NRA idiots of today. These powerful weapons that The NRA has flooded this country with have one purpose, to overthrow the US government. When you saturate a country with guns as The NRA has done, you can expect these kind of results and they will answer to God for this carnage.
    STAND YOUR GROUND is nothing more than a license to legally hunt and kill innocent people PERIOD~

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  • Gretchen May

    I have been searching the internet and still haven’t found where Joe the plumber was interviewed and admitted writing this letter. I realize it was “posted on his site” but I’m trying to find somewhere where he admits that he is the one who posted it on his site. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

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