Some of the most compelling voices in the current debate over gun violence are those who have been touched by it, particularly the parents of the twenty children slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14. It’s strange, then, that one of those parents, Mark Mattioli, has simultaneously been white-washed and virtually blacked out of the media’s post-Newtown coverage. While endorsing the NRA’s plan to arm school personnel Tuesday, Mr. Mattioli urged people to put politics aside, but it appears as though his politics may be a factor in the media’s treatment of him.

At a press conference to roll out the NRA’s 225-page report on school safety, Mark Mattioli praised the plan, and said “I think politics needs to sort of be set aside here, and I hope this doesn’t you know, lead to name-calling. But rather, this is recommendations for solutions. Real solutions that will make our kids safer.” …

Whether I agree with him or not, though, Mark Mattioli deserves to be heard. I can’t prove that his politics are the reason he hasn’t been, but it’s tough for me to think of another complicating factor. To the pro-gun regulation crowd, he’s an anomaly in a sea of victims they agree with, and maybe someone they’re afraid to disagree with for fear of looking bad. That shouldn’t be the case. Just as I’ve continually insisted that pro-gun legislators should have the courage to look parents like Neil Heslin in the eye, so should those in favor of gun regulations have the courage to engage Mr. Mattioli honestly and respectfully.