News & Events

August 7, 2019
Our "Peculiar institution"
I’ve been writing these NTD News essays for a number of years and I’m sorry to say that I’ve written about today’s subject far too many times already. Once again, it’s guns.
It’s been just a few days since the horrific slaughter of human beings in El Paso and Dayton. But in those few days we’ve heard pleas for action from the families of the shooting victims, followed by dozens of opinions from the right and left declaring what needs to happen next.
The general consensus among those willing to support new gun laws is that universal background checks and “red flag” laws would each make a difference. I’m sure they’re right, and it now seems likely that such reforms have a good chance of being adopted.
Gun bills passed by the Democrat-controlled House include such modest measures. Unfortunately, that legislation has been blocked for months by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, his reasoning being President Trump would veto it anyway. However, these two most recent massacres, in states Republicans need to hold in 2020, could revise that position. And the fact is, polls show that a large majority of America’s gun owners favor substantive and sensible steps such as background checks.
But still, a disgusting number of legislators (mostly Republicans) and the Trump White House remain reluctant to support any approach that might raise the campaign financing hackles of the National Rifle Association. So, this week they’ve come up with diversionary language that cites too many mentally ill Americans and violent video games as two causes of our frequent mass shootings. Both claims are false.
To be fair, I would guess that even the most cowardly or closed minded Republican (unless he/she is psychologically incapable of empathy) does want to see the probability of future mass shootings reduced. But when it comes to taking a virtuous stand that could prevent future tragedy for hundreds, but might also endanger future reelection, those Republicans seem to be falling back on that legendary prayer: "Please God, make me good, but not just yet"
It is also interesting that with this most recent pair of American mass murders, one right wing suggestion for combating crowd shooters has pretty much been missing: the idea that good people with guns stop bad people with guns. Although, I actually did hear one Republican politician spout that simplistic solution.
The realities in both El Paso and Dayton clearly reveal that the above-mentioned politician is an idiot. The El Paso shootings occurred in a state that has some of the most permissive gun carry laws in America (and they are about to get even looser). So the odds are that several people in that Walmart had handguns. All any of them had to do was simply stop, aim and fire their handgun while the shooter sprayed the crowd with his AK 47 style rifle. -- Would you?
And in Dayton the fallacy of guns carriers countering a shooter was made even clearer. Within 30 seconds of the first bullet fired, the Dayton shooter, Connor Betts, was shot dead by off-duty officers -- good people with guns. However, during the 30 seconds before Betts was killed, he got off enough shots to end the lives of nine people and wound 27 others.
Betts had a .223 caliber high capacity military style automatic rifle with a 100 round drum magazine, and he had more magazines with him ready to use. According to the NRA and their gun manufacturer sponsors, this is weaponry that every American with “a clean record” has the right to purchase.
How is such an insane situation allowed to continue? -- The NRA and the people behind them want it that way.
The NRA was created in the post-Civil War years to improve the marksmanship skills of Americans – especially northerners. They’ve sure come a long way since then. Over the years they successfully built the image that they exist to protect the gun rights of hunters, marksmen, freedom loving Americans. Meanwhile, they’ve become the politically savvy lobbying arm of the manufacturers of guns.
At the most basic business level, gun manufacturers are no different from makers of bowling balls, bicycles or brassieres. Manufacturers exist to sell their products and gun manufacturers make weapons. They cannot remain viable without new sales and profits every year. Year after year.
The NRA and their gun-maker overlords do not want to have another national discussion about whether assault weapons or high capacity gun magazines should be banned. If they can keep the range of reforms down to procedural changes and new layers of paperwork, I suspect they can live with it. – Besides, they know that procedures will be handled with different degrees of difficulty in different states. The subject of how many people can be killed in seconds by their products is a discussion they’d like to avoid.
The NRA and the politicians they control do not want the public and their legislators going directly after the real problem in American -- the proliferation of high-powered weaponry in the hands of tens of millions of people.
In the years before the Civil War, a former South Carolina congressman and U.S. vice president referred to slavery as “The peculiar institution.” Those benign words labeled a terrible aspect of American life.
With an estimated 393 million guns circulating in our nation of 330 million people, it may be time to start referring to guns as 21st Century America’s “Peculiar institution.” This is definitely not our finest hour.

Nels Howard
NTD Member Since 1973
New Trier Democrats' Events
Saturday, September 14, 2019: New Trier Democrats’ Annual Meeting & Picnic at Gillson Park

When : Saturday, September 14, 2019 - Annual Members' Meeting from 1:00pm to 2:00pm; Picnic for Everyone from 2:00pm to 4:00pm

What : At our Annual Members' Meeting, you'll hear what we've been up to this past year, as well as our plans for the 2020 election season. Please note that the Annual Meeting is restricted to Members only - If you're not currently a member,  why not join right now?

Our Picnic will begin immediately after our Annual Meeting and everyone - family, friends, neighbors - are welcome to attend. Our Picnic is always a great opportunity to meet fellow Democrats and hear from some of our local elected officials and candidates. We look forward to seeing you there!
Other Events of Interest
Inclusion in our "Other Events of Interest" List – whether it’s a fundraising event for a specific candidate or an event concerning a particular issue – does not mean that the New Trier Democrats have endorsed that candidate or adopted that position on an issue. 
This Sunday, August 11, 2019: Gun Reform Rally Downtown Chicago

When : Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Where : Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago
What : From the organizers: “Shootings every day in Chicago. Mass shootings at schools, places of worship, stores, clubs, concerts & on & on. Sandy Hook didn’t wake up our legislators. #EnoughIsEnough Something has to be done about guns. Full stop. #MoscowMitch needs to allow there to be discussion on sensible gun laws. We will gather at Federal Plaza at noon on Sunday to listen to people speak on what we could be doing. Bring the sign of your choice & flowers to hold in tribute for all those lost to gun violence.” Confirmed Co-hosts include: Chicagoland Brady United Chapter, Indivisible Oak Park Area, People for a Safer Society, Indivisible Chicago, Women’s March Chicago, Moms Demand Action Illinois and ILGVP Coaltion. For more information,  visit their Facebook event page .
This Sunday, August 11, 2019: Touch-A-Truck & Park Day in Morton Grove

When : Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Where : Austin Park, 8336 Marmora Ave., Morton Grove
What : State Senator Ram Villivalam, Special Guest Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Josina Morita with the Morton Grove Fire Department present this event. Bring the whole family to explore fire trucks from the Morton Grove Fire Department, learn about water conservation, and enjoy Austin Park. Parking is available on all sides of the park. Water, sunscreen, and snacks will be available.  Link to RSVP . Questions call 872-208-5188.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019: Sen. Julie Morrison Community Forum on Microplastics

When : Wednesday, August 14, 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where : Highland Park Public Library, 434 Laurel Ave., Highland Park
What : State Senator Julie Morrison holds a community forum highlighting the problem of microplastics. Learn more about how they are impacting your family and what you can do to help. The event features expert speakers from Shedd Aquarium, Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Prairie Research Institute. For more information to RSVP,  register online .
Thursday, August 15, 2019: MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita Hosts Joint Asian American Leaders Caucus Launch Party

When : Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where : Clarity Partners, LLC, 20 N. Clark St., Chicago
What : Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Josina Morita hosts the Chicago Launch Party of the Joint Asian American Leaders Caucus.  Come to network and have a drink. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information and to RSVP,  register online .
Thursday, August 15, 2019: Ida B. Wells Annual “Legacy and Libations” Features Film Screening

When : Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Where : Film Row Cinema – Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago
What : The annual Ida B. Wells Legacy and Libations Event features a screening of the film  Lincoln is Crying: the Grifters, Grafters and Governors of Illinois.
Saturday, August 24, 2019: Deputy Voter Registrar Training Sponsored by Tenth Dems

When : Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 10:00am to 11:00am
Where : Northbrook Public Library, Interactive classroom, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook
What : A training for Deputy Voter Registrars will be held. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote in Cook County. The event is open only to Cook County residents who are interested in helping to register new voters. Deputy Registrars must be trained in the county in which they live, but once trained, can register voters anywhere in Illinois. Training takes less than an hour. This training is being held through the County Clerk’s Office and is free of charge. Sign-ups will be taken up to five hours before the class starts. In most cases, late sign-ups will not be added to the class.  Register online in advance . For additional information contact us at, or call 847-266-VOTE (8683).
Wednesday, September 11, 2019: State Rep. Gabel’s Chief of Staff Available for Assistance

When : Wednesday, September 11, 2019 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Where : New Trier Township Hall, 739 Elm St., Winnetka
What : Rep. Robyn Gabel’s Chief of Staff, Karen McCormick, will be available to answer questions about State of Illinois services. Township residents and neighbors are encouraged to drop by during the scheduled office hours.
Need help contacting your
representatives in government?

Visit our website for a complete list of everyone who represents the residents of New Trier Township - from Federal to Village level - and links to contact them.
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will make a difference. Come join us!

When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process by: participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, and playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain  free admission  to select forums and events throughout the year.    

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New Trier Democrats memberships are on a calendar year basis. We encourage our members to renew their dues annually every January.
Paid for by the NTDO-FED and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board’s official website ( or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.