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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bills... billsfan1104

Nope no and hell no. What more laws stop these murders from happening? In most cases the shooters are mentally sick. How about we do more for our sick and help them before it gets to this?

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

Controlling our gun rights will not make this go away. Criminals and crazy people who want to kill will always find a way to get their hands on guns. Taking them from us, and making then harder to get well do nothing but leave us exposed and vulnerable to said criminals. Anyone who thinks making it illegal will fix it is delusional. We made drugs illegal, those are still all over the place. Think this will be any different? No.

nonmember avatar Jo

This is do horrible I pray for those children and families... Everytime this happens it's we need more gun laws, but the ones who are doing the shootings are 20 yr olds. The generations that god was taken out of the schools. The same generation that many moms and dads sit their kids in front of the tv playing video games... Not only that most of the shooters have had personality disorders... Not normal day gun owners!!!!!!!

KWnav... KWnavywife

No, guns do not kill people any more than spoons make people fat. Guns are a tool. One, that just like any tool, is used in a malicious manner can do damage.

Then you have the FACT that never has making ANYTHING illegal stopped those who care nothing for the law from doing/having those things. That is obvious enough in the battle with drugs.All it will do when it comes to guns is keep them out of the hands of citizens who need protection from the criminals.

Also, what do you say about the STABBING rampage in China yesterday? 30 children and 1 adult was killled with a kinfe. Sooo should china out law knives? After all a knife kill those children.

What this boils down to is this- when someone is determined to harm others, to kill them, they WILL find a way- a tool- to use. Making more laws will not stop the lawless. It will not stop criminals and those intent on harm from their actions. It will only cause those of us who chose to own a gun for protection/ sport, who do so lawfully, to be put at a disadvantage.

I urge you do to some REAL research. Look at the countries with laws requiring homes to have guns, look at their crime stats. Then look at those places where guns are the hardest to get. You can even seen the differences in the cities in our nation with the strictest guns control laws. They are more lawless, more dangerous than their counterparts.

dreab... dreabug23

Billsfan, I agree with you 100%.

I feel like we should hug or something.

Gun control laws do not work. Millions of people own guns. Very few of them go on killing sprees.

worms... wormspoop

Well while your depending on the Government to protect you and your family, i'm stocking piling up on ammo and more guns. Maybe if people weren't tought so much self entitlement and were actually held accountable for their actions as children we wouldn't have such an issue with mental health. Taking away guns is the dumbest thing that can be done. Do some research on several towns here in America that require all citizens to have a gun, there is virtually no crime rate. Instead of asking Obama for stricter gun laws why don't you tell him to stop killing innocent children with his drone attacks, or does that not matter to you cause they are not American children? Had those teachers been armed or had the school had a armed guard the fatality rate would have been minimal

amazz... amazzonia

I just don't get it, how can guns still be legal to sella, buy, own... And I just don't understand how people can support the "freedom" of gun owning.... We are to blame especially those people who want guns, who owe guns, is just sick, they are sick people in a sick world

nonmember avatar Hanabee

If just one of those teachers had a concealed weapon liscense and carried a fun they could have shot this man before he hurt and killed more innocent people. I am not for having guns around small children but tighter him laws will drive them right into the black market in criminals hands. Then the law abiding citizens will have no means of protection. There will always be mentally ill people or just mean people who have an urge to hurt others. Taking away the protection from those who follow laws will harm more than it will protect.

worms... wormspoop

Really amazzonia? Did you hear about the 22 children in China that were attacked with a knife outside of their school yesterday. Yeah guns are the problem, lol.


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