Dad of Sandy Hook Student Poses Critical Gun Control Question to All of Us

Inspiring 38

One father of a little Sandy Hook student refuses to keep silent anymore -- about gun control. He writes:

Why would we think that assault weapons should ever be in hands of civilians? Why are modified M-16s and Kalashnikovs sold in this country? What exactly is an appropriate civilian use for hollow-point bullets? Why do we have age limits, written and practical tests to acquire a driver’s license, but have nothing that would be at least as rigorous for acquiring a weapon that can take out countless lives?

Andre Nikitchyuk is the father of an 8-year-old boy, nicknamed "Bear," who went to school at Sandy Hook that horrible day, just like he went every other day.

But that day, Adam Lanza entered the school with a semi-automatic .223 military-style Bushmaster rifle. He had 30 clips in the round and hundreds more ready. This is a civilian firearm modeled after the military M-16 rifle and it has links to the DC sniper shootings. Yet, it is perfectly legal, and doesn't fall under the category of "assault weapon."

Andre and his son were supremely lucky that day. Bear did not end up being one of the 20 children and six adults killed in that school because a teacher grabbed him from the hallway and hid him in her classroom.

And now Andre is speaking out. He passionately continues in his essay in the New York Daily News:

I used to be part of the silent majority of people around this beautiful country that saw how weaponized and unsafe our society became, but kept our silence.

I thought guns are a part of American history. Many people know how to handle them and keep them safe. Our politicians know what they are doing and the situation will be corrected.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, chipped at those beliefs, but I averted my eyes. On Friday, this belief has been shattered for me, my wife, my relatives and friends, and -- most important -- my kids. It’s been long overdue, but it’s clear to me I have to speak up.

Someone can say that you need a human to shoot a gun. What they are not saying is guns allow human feelings of malice and hate to be amplified. They amplify them in a way that's God-like, final and irreversible. It takes away someone's life with just a slight pull of an index finger. No one should have that power.

Judging by all of the petitions I'm seeing going around -- and from people I would have never expected -- it seems a lot of people are no longer going to stay silent. Even Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, former conservative Republican congressman and NRA supporter, has changed his mind about gun control.

I've asked people who strongly believe in the Second Amendment why they think that people would need such high-powered rifles for home and personal protection. I usually get no answer. Maybe I get a picture of the Holocaust (this seems to be a favorite response of pro-gun advocates). I hear about how the teachers should have been armed. (Again, not answering the question.)

So I'll ask again and maybe someone will give me a straight answer: WHY does anyone who is not in law enforcement or the military need a military style gun that can shoot dozens of bullets in seconds? Anyone?

I'll end with Andre's words:

Please, everyone, think of what you want this society to be for our children (if we will be able to save our children to adulthood).

Ask yourself if our current laws are really protecting our children. When they ask why "bad men" can so easily get these guns -- when countless toys and strollers are recalled at the first sign of trouble -- what will you tell them?

Have you decided to speak up about gun control?

Image via Robert Huffstutter/Flickr

guns, in the news, crime


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Doomy234 Doomy234

If someone wants a reason for a civilian to own a weapon that can hold 30 rounds here you go (mind you, this explanation wont make ANY difference as you're already set in your ways and you'll just call me paranoid or crazy. Trust me, I already have been. Anyway...)

A lot of citizens have guns like AR-15 in case of a riot in which there is a complete breakdown of moral fabric and people begin looting and burning down houses in buildings. That is the type of scenario that a weapon with high capacity magazines would be used for, when a group of looters kicks in your door and threatens your life for a can of soup or a handful of cash.

And yes, those things DO happen, even in America. Tends to happen in highly populated disaster areas. An example? Katrina. Those people were looting and trying to get their hands on anything. Stealing guns so that they could take what they wanted. When shit hits the fan, EVERYONE is desperate.

Preparation. That is why. Stop blaming law abiding citizens for causing massacres. Anyone who is following the law is doing nothing wrong. Why should they be punished for the actions of a few madmen? So why should it matter if you or me or neighbor Joe owns an AR? If he's doing no wrong and keeping it in a safe place then it doesnt matter.

Candace Hellvira Miller

Doomy234, because the odds of what you are 'preparing' for are so slim compared to the number of innocent lives that are lost as a result of the availablity of these weapons, regardless of those that keep them in a 'safe place'. Sorry, I will take my own chances any day in the event of a possible 'uprising' or riot than risk anymore lives that are far more likely to be taken away from these types of guns. The odds just aren't in your favor, sorry.

Doomy234 Doomy234

*shrugs* I knew I wasnt going to alter the way you saw things. I am simply answering your question. But answer me this, what were the odds that Katrina or Sandy were going to be as truly devastating as they were? Yeah, you can guess, but until it happens you dont realize the extents of damage something can cause. You cant predict life's events, but you can prepare yourself to endure any number of situations. A gun for self defense use. Most hope that they never have to use it, but they would be glad they had it if the time can. Its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Feel free to take your chances without a gun. But since you're so afraid that people do have them, and people with guns feel relatively safe, they must be doing something right. If you dont feel safe owning a gun, then dont. No one is forcing you. But leave us gun owning law abiding (note: I mean people who follow laws and dont endanger others) citizens alone. We (still talking about people who ARENT CRIMINALS) are doing nothing to hurt you by simply owning them.

Candace Hellvira Miller

I never argued not having a gun, my whole family does from my grandmother on down, locked up and safe and properly trained. I was arguing the need for anything more than a rifle or hand gun, that we don't need semi-automatic weapons that go above and beyond protection and hunting. Jesus, read my comments before responding. This isnt Call of Duty or Walking Dead, it is life.

nonmember avatar andie

@Doomy, as far as we know, Adam Lanza was a "law abiding citizen" until he snapped and committed a massacre. He may have been odd but he committed no crime. So how do we know the difference between a latent madman and a great guy?

Doomy234 Doomy234

Sor-ry. No need to be nasty. I wasnt even referencing you personally. I was referencing to everyone that keeps pleading "No more guns! Guns are bad!". I have heard a lot of that these past few days and am getting really frustrated with it.

And I have no problem decifering life from video games and movies. You're right, it IS life. Thats why I accept the REALITY that bad things can happen. So forgive me if I dont want someone to tell me what I can and cant do with MY LIFE as to what I choose to own when I have personally nothing wrong.

Doomy234 Doomy234

Because he was too young to own a gun. He STOLE them. Making him a criminal at that point. Children can shoot firearms if accompanied by an adult, but going off by himself (not to mention the fact that he killed more than two dozen people) proves that he was not law abiding.

And we dont know. But that is why we need to have a better mental health care system. Something set up that we can get people evaluated (like our children) when they see something wrong. Chances are the mother knew her son was mentally disturbed (there are usually indicators) and either chose to ignore it, or could not find proper help for him. We dont know that either unfortunately. But chances are that there was some indicator that he wasnt well in the head. I am sure if she did know that she probably did her best to keep her guns out of his reach, unsupervised.

ethan... ethans_momma06

Candace- personally, I don't like firing a handgun. I do not like the recoil AT ALL, and much prefer a rifle. That's important to note, because if you are going to use a gun in self defense- you should feel as comfortable with it as possible.

Christopher Gott

Hate to sound pithy, and I know it will fall on deaf ears. but here is your answer in short form, I will elaborate after as well.

"It is better have have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them"

I am of the opinion that law enforcement should be mostly unarmed. It would save a lot of racial tensions, and make police more members of the communities they are supposed to "Serve and protect" than just their overlords who are there to enforce whatever laws the legislative masters dream up.

Having firearms in general, or "Military grade weaponry" in particular serves as a deterrent and bulwark against tyranny. sure, you can look out into the world and say "we are safe, our government would never oppress us" But take away the citizens means to resist tyranny, and it will raise it's ugly head as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

Arms control is older than firearms. Kings used to forbid citizens from owning longbows and crossbows. Only the kings army and his law enforcement could have those. Every king who enacted such laws turned out to be a tyrant.

Caesar forbade anyone but a citizen to carry a sword in public. Soldiers who were not citizens had their weapons int eh army, and had them issued when they needed them.

This is where the idea comes in that only men of arms are capable of carrying out the duties of citizenship.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Leonard courtney. (Often attributed to Jefferson)

Margaret Barrett

Nancy Lanza was a well armed citizen...I think if Adam Lanza had a hunters rifle that he had to reload for every shot maybe no-one would be dead right now. But no, the automatic allowed him to spray bullets like a water hose in any direction without loss of power. You "hunt" with this? That's BS and you know it. Get the easy load hi-power guns and rifles in the hands of the experts....those poor first responders. As for a teacher packing I would rather see a mental health official assigned to each school...costly, you bet! Maybe the NRA could put their money where our future is.

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