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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nonmember avatar Pam

After seeing all the anti gun reports today I feel better having read some of these comments, knowing that there are a least some realistic people still left out there! Seems many,MANY people have forgotten that we are a nation solely because individuals had the guns to get rid of an unjust government. If you want to willingly give up your right to defend yourself and your family, by all means do it. However, DO NOT ever expect me to not defend my self or my family. I guess what they say us true....ignorance is bliss.... (Btw- while we are at it, how about outlawing alcohol and cars since approximately the same numbe of people died in alcohol related crashes and gun violence!)

worms... wormspoop

@2cents: What you don't think those kids who were stabbed are going to be scared to go out in public and back to school, just like the survivors of the shooting?

Flori... Floridamom96

Well, we know what happens. This year as of December 6, in Chicago where guns are banned 2,570 people have been shot.

Doomy234 Doomy234

We need to focus on the 'who' (in this case, a mentally unbalanced young man) and not the 'what' (guns). We need to come out and stop being so politically correct for emotionally/hormonally/mentally inbalanced individuals and make sure that those people cant get weapons. But taking away guns from good, law abiding citizens will do nothing. Criminals and the criminally insane dont follow laws. Like I mentioned yesterday, this young man walked into a building that said No Weapons Permitted on The Premises with weapons because he decided beforehand what he was going to do. He decided that he didnt care about rules and laws and didnt care about who he hurt. He was also 20 years old, too young to own a handgun. But where did he get it? He stole it! Gee, sounds like this man was a real upstanding citizen, doesnt he? Stop trying to punish innocent law abiding citizens for one man's faulty and criminal actions. Thats just asinine.

tuffy... tuffymama

@wormpoop, true. And families cannot have their mentally ill committed long term anymore, so they live with the growing, festering nightmare of mental illness, never knowing if and when the darkness will turn on them or society. If indeed mental health care were as easily attainable as guns, perhaps we wouldn't be reeling from the unfairness of life and those little beds would not have been empty last night. I do wonder at a woman living in a half million dollar home with an untreated nutcase. I would sell my home and get help for my child, if he needed it. I'm not blaming a victim, but if in fact it comes to light that his mother knew he was a monster and did nothing (AND let him have access to guns), then I won't be sorry she was sacrificed.

worms... wormspoop

Aw, but semi automatic rifles are so much fun to shoot. Plus if a zombie outbreak does happen your chance of survival goes way up. lol. i"m going to work, this issue is pointless to talk about, cause whether they ban guns or not, I'm keeping mine.

Emma Reeves

You are too far left to see the real problem. Is fertilizer illegal? No. See Wikipedia:Timothy McVeigh (19 children in a daycare)Whackos are whackos and no "Gun" laws will stop them. Think about it if you are truly a caring parent - you + gun = saving your child. GET IT.

kelti... kelticmom

Floridamom, Wtf are you talking about? The handgun ban in Chicago was overturned in 2010, you can have a gun provided you have a permit and no prior convictions for violent offenses.

tuffy... tuffymama

I wish I could keep my AR-15, but dang. Would t you know it? My guns all were lost out in the gulf on my last fishing trip. Shucks.

WCURi... WCURiverRat

Do your research. Guns laws would have done nothing to stop this kid. He was already too young to legally purchase hand guns. The guns were legally owned by his mom, who they found dead by his hand. If someone wants to be batshit crazy and go on a shooting rampage, stricter gun laws aren't going to stop them. Just ask Chicago, they have some of the strictest guns laws in the country, and also some of the highest violent crime rates. Not working out so well, huh? Heroin and meth are illegal too, yet people still do them. Laws don't do jack shit! Laws are like locks, they only keep honest people honest. If someone really wants something, no lock or law is going to stop them.

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