In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, America is once again talking about gun control, and it's a long-overdue conversation. We seem to be able to process when people do horrible things to grownups. But someone using an assault rifle to slaughter 20 babies? How did we ever let things get this far?
The acts of cold-blooded murderer Adam Lanza were so chilling, so horrifying to people across our nation that some people, people who have long been opposed to gun control measures, are finally starting to realize that something must change. In fact, two prominent conservatives have already publicly reversed their stances on gun control this week.
MSNBC's conservative Morning Joe host, Joe Scarborough, spoke Monday morning about how the shooting has helped him see the light on gun-control reform. His children are about the same average age as the 6- and 7-year-olds killed in the Sandy Hook slaughter.
For the sake of his children, he said, he finally chooses change:
It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas. It's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our schoolyards than putting together their next fundraiser. It's time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas when we're losing the war at home ... For the sake of my four children and yours, I choose life and I choose change.
But is this something that's going to stick? Is he just waxing poetic in the wake of the tragedy or is he really going to change his tune and fight for reform? Only time will tell.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a "proud gun owner," has also changed his tune.
"Who would have ever thought, in America, or anywhere in the world, that children would be slaughtered?" he told CNN. "You know -- it's changed me." He calls for a common-sense discussion that brings about real reform.
And we need it. There is no scenario in which any American should need a semi-automatic weapon. I don't even know how I'd get one. But it's a problem that I could get one if I wanted one. Sure, I'm an upstanding citizen. I've never been convicted of any crimes. One time a cop asked me to dump out my wine before heading onto the beach, but that's the extent of the police interventions in my life. Therefore, I could buy an assault rifle. Just because. And I think that's pretty messed up.
Sure, some people like hunting. I can support that. I can even understand wanting to have some weapons for protection if you live somewhere rural. But for those of us in cities and suburbs, guns really only bring pain and sorrow.
It sucks that it's taken 28 corpses -- 20 of them small, innocent children -- for us to have a real, adult conversation about what it means to have access to guns. And to discuss what we're so damn afraid of in the first place.
Did the Sandy Hook tragedy change your opinion on gun control?
Image via MSNBC