The Newtown Shooting Tragedy Should Change Everything About This Country's Gun Culture

Rant 191

Newtown ShootingThe tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is every parent's worst nightmare. Like everyone else in this country, I spent yesterday glued to my television, heartbroken, sobbing intermittently. What monster does this to children?

And then another question, a darker one, one that every parent and citizen of the United States should be asking: Are we to blame?

When James Holmes finished shooting up a movie theater during a premiere of the film Dark Knight Rises last July, 12 people were dead and dozens more injured and we were told: now is not the time to talk about gun control. We listened then. Stunned and stupid. And then it kept happening. 

In 2012 alone, there was the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin, another in a coffee bar in Seattle, another in a college in California, and then, just a few days ago a gunman shot up a mall in Oregon. It all begs the question: When IS the time? One of the three days a year there isn't a mass shooting?

Like many parents, I hugged my children a little longer last night. After they fell asleep, I went into their room. I looked at my own Kindergartner, safe in her bed, thumb in mouth, blanket wound around her little head like a towel. She was soft and warm. She was safe. Thank God. But then I thought of those other Kindergartners who never came home.

I thought of them still lying in a cold classroom. I thought of parents who could not even hold the broken bodies of their babies. All the times my daughter has been sick I have held her, rocked her, and wiped her tears. I have kissed boo boos and applied bandages and held her body in all its many forms from babyhood to now. It was all gone in a second for those parents. One flick of a finger and all those years of nurturing mean nothing. Just like that.

I wept for them. I prayed. I asked why. But I want to do more. I want to finally -- FINALLY! -- take a stand.

I want to give my children a better country than the one in which we currently reside. It was not enough to shoot up a movie theater. There have been 31 school shootings since Columbine and no one has done a damn thing to enact change. The death of children is just the continued price we pay for our fear around this issue. Why is this the third rail of politics? Why is it NEVER the time to talk about it?

Let's not upset the gun lobby. They have guns, after all. In case you are wondering, the National Rifle Association's "official" comment was not to have a comment yesterday. There were not even condolences for those innocent lives lost at the end of a gun. There was nothing. Only silence. And that is what they expect from us, too. They expect us to roll right over and be silent as usual.

But we won't be this time. We can't be. It is too dangerous. The NRA is a powerful lobby and their allies have given us the best language to deal with these issues. "Gun control" has become "gun rights." "Respect" for the victims means "not politicizing" it. And yet, we must. We must lift the veil on guns and the way people value their "right to bear arms" over the rights of school children to attend school safely and without harm. 

There is so much misinformation swirling around about guns, it's maddening. But let's clear a few things up right now:

  • Now IS the time.
  • Guns DO kill people
  • We DO need more laws
  • The NRA is willfully misreading the Constitution

The facts are plain and simple, but the gun lobby has distorted them for years. We need to stand up for them and stop allowing lies and distortions to permeate our conversation about guns. A knife-wielding man in China stabbed 22 school children yesterday. It was tragic, devastating, and terrifying for all those parents, I am sure. But those kids lived. They survived. Guns make it easier to perpetuate killing on a massive scale. Anyone who says a madman will find a way to kill if he can't get guns is right. But our lax gun laws make it a hell of a lot easier. Is this really the world we want to pass on to our beautiful babies?

If we can't change our society for the innocent shoppers in a crowded mall or the weakened and ill patients in an Alabama hospital (because, yes, there was another shooting TODAY), let's do it for our kids. Let's do it for those of us who are too young to lobby or fight and whose only knowledge of insanity and weaponry is tinged with bits of magic and heroism. Their worlds are simple. And this should be simple, too: Make guns harder to obtain. Let's ban assault weapons and stop permitting this ridiculous love of guns and violence to permeate our culture and harm our children without repercussion.

Obviously, guns are not the only culprits here. We also need to look at how mental health is handled in this country. But it's a pretty excellent place to start.

Let's all agree this is not a partisan issue, but a righteous one. Let's do this for the many kids who should never have to know the horror of a gun in their face, who should never miss this Christmas and every one after it because a troubled young man had access to his mother's legally obtained guns.

Please President Obama, do something. Do it now. Don't speak to us as a father. Speak to us as a President and get it done. Let's do it now because if not right now, then when? How many more of these must we endure?

Do you support better gun control laws?

 

Image via sidewalk flying/Flickr

 

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tuffy... tuffymama

Oh, right, Sasha. Let's take the guns from law abiding citizens so the only people who have then are criminals and jack booted thugs who come to take away the rest of our freedom and even our lives. You know who else took away gun rights? HITLER! You know why? So citizens could not stop the evil he intended to perpetrate upon his nation. Fucking learn from history, you daft fool, and recognize how fucking stupid you have been.

2cent... 2centsCDN

All I can do is shake my head at the idiot comments I keep reading (not just on this site) of people defending their right to guns. Gun control laws don't work?  Really?  Where's your proof?  And saying that people at the school should have been armed?  WTF kind of thinking is that???  Do you really want to send your children to school knowing there are guns on the property??  And that stabbing in China...those children were HURT not killed.  Had it been a gun(s) I'm sure their parents would be mourning just as those in Newtown are, instead those parents are hugging their children.


I can not think of one good reason why anyone would ever need a military grade semi-automatic weapon to defend themselves.  I'd also love to hear someone defend why anyone would ever need to own more than one gun for protection?

tuffy... tuffymama

Oh, and if you must know, I have guns. I have not fired at a single person in my life, not even when I was in serious danger of being physically assaulted. I will, however, exercise deadly force against the person who tries to harm my kids or who comes into my house uninvited.

Lilyp... Lilypad523

Sasha, I appreciate and respect your passion to do something but criminals will be criminals. More gun laws will only affect the law abiding citizens, who certainly aren't the ones who shoot up movie theatres and elementary schools. Think about it like shoplifting. Despite the stupid security tags, the censors, the cameras and the security officers, people who want to steal STILL find a way to steal and the people who don't steal have to deal with false censors going off and those stupid tags at the bottom of pants that they always forget to take off after they deactivate them so I have to take them back to the store after I get home! That was long winded. LOL. Again, I think your passion to stand up and do something is great but I don't think disarming the law abiding citizens or making them jump through hoops to own a gun is the solution.

tuffy... tuffymama

Two notes from my dad today:

"If they genuinely wanted to reduce the likelihood of the mass murder of schoolchildren, they would ban mass schooling."

and

"The worst mass school murder in American history took place on May 18,1927 in Bath Township, Mich., when a former school board member set off three bombs that killed 45 people."

BOMBS, people. Not guns. Bombs can be made of stuff you have in your house right now.

worms... wormspoop

Oh sorry they were just hurt, my bad that's not a big deal, it won't cause any mental issues in those children.

Flori... Floridamom96

Yep. A GUN walked into that school of its own accord and shot all those people. Clearly the inanimate object was somehow able to animate itself and commit a monstrous crime. The only answer, obviously, is to outlaw inanimate objects for fear they may yet again act of their own volition.



Perhaps it's time we fill the void left by the removal of God and morality from our schools and other public spheres (into which evil has readily sidled) by putting God and morality back.



But most importantly, why don't you shut the hell up with your selfish political agenda and let these people bury their babies without your inane chattering obscuring their loss!

kelti... kelticmom

Those of you using the stabbings in China yesterday as a defense, either you are intentional liars or you can't read. Yes, 22 kids and 1 adult were attacked, however NO ONE DIED. They all survived! Look at gun deaths in Japan, the UK, Australia, etc then get back to me on how tougher gun laws don't stop killings. Btw, both the Arizona and Colorado shooters purchased their guns LEGALLY, and this nut got his Bushwacker semi automatic rifle from his mother, who purchased it LEGALLY. Who honestly needs assault rifles? You can defend yourself and your kids with a handgun. You can shoot a deer with a bolt action rifle. Ammunition should be registered to buyers and limited in quantities you can purchase within a specific time frame. Mandatory psychological evaluations and waiting periods should be required before purchasing firearms. And you should not be able to purchase a weapon in the same store you can get footballs, aerobic dvds and jock straps.

AdryF AdryF

No disrespect intended but if guns kill people... Do pens misspell words???? Just asking because if so I have been wrongly blamed for the what my pen did! Seriously people get a life and teach your kids that it is NOT OKAY to kill another person. J/s this is nuts. We have always had the rights to bear arms and now it is a problem?? Nope I think maybe we should be worried about our morals and taking responabilty for our own actions...

amazz... amazzonia

Yes they are, USA is the only country were a kid can go and buy a gun, is the only country were such things happen! How can you fucking be pro guns after this, after the shooting in Oregon, after the one in Wisconsin, Colorado, just to mention e past few months! You are just sick people! Why don't we give e gun to our kids when they go to school so they can defend them selfs? Guns should be given only to the military, not to average people! 

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