“The Time Has Come Today”

And so it begins…

Twelve of 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14 In the top row, from left to right, are Emilie Parker, James Mattioli, Chase Kowalski and Charlotte Bacon; Middle row: Olivia Engel, Grace McDonnell, Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner; Bottom row: Jessica Rekos, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene and Avielle Richman.

As is always the case when a tragedy the magnitude of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School occurs, the fall out that follows the event is extraordinary. Even as a shroud of sadness and sorrow blankets a nation mourning the loss of the 20 young children who were viciously murdered, the questions, rumors, theories and solutions abound.

Yes, even as the first of the slain young cherubs are being laid to rest today, the buzz continues as people everywhere try to wrap their minds around the tragedy. Why did it happen? How could it happen? Was it preventable? Would tougher gun laws have averted this nightmare? And what about God, would bringing religion into the classroom help avert potential disaster? Potential solutions and Hundreds of unanswered questions. The same sort of questions and concerns followed the killing of 15 at Columbine High school back in 1999, Virginia Tech where 33 were killed in 2007 and in Aurora Colorado where earlier this year a gunmen opened fire in a movie theater killing 12 and injuring 38. Yes the same type of questions were raised and many answered, yet here we are again.

It seems apparent that the uproar and furor following these mass killings ignites like a match head, burns brightly for a long moment then quickly burns out. And what’s really changed? What great strides have been made. About the only thing that ever changes is the names, those of the killer, the killed and the killing field. Absolutely nothing else.

And as we’ve come to expect, the media sensationalizes the killings and ride the news wave for all it’s worth, grabbing at everything and anything they believe will keep the viewing public tuned in. As an example I give you the meaningless interview with the former students or the gentleman who claims to have baby-sat the killer regularly ten years ago. He had nothing new to bring to the table except that he remembered him as being rambunctious  and prone to temper tantrums. And while watching the young assassin he was told by the mother “not to take his eyes off of him for a moment!” OMG! How The dramatic! But what real news did he have, what new insights did he give us?

Then of course there were all the erroneous reports on Friday about the incident, as news networks fought to scoop each other including misidentifying the older brother as the killer. How professional was that? I’m sorry, but for the news media it all about “dirty laundry” and bragging rights.

So how did this tragedy occur? Did someone namely the killers mother miss some recent,  warning signs? Did she fail to see the handwriting on the wall? Or perhaps she saw it but chose to ignore it in order to protect her son from the system? Maybe mom just couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. If this is truly the case I’d say she paid dearly for her lapse of judgement.

There are many saying that the mom is at fault here. She was an avid shooter who took great pride in her gun collection. She even taught her boys to shot and enjoyed going shooting with them. Because of her the killer had easy access to the weapons. Think about it, if mom had taken up a different hobby there wouldn’t have been guns in the house. Makes perfect sense, no weapons, no killings, but there is no guarantee that he wouldn’t have gotten hold of a gun anyway or found another way to kill.  

Are guns really the culprit here? Would banning guns altogether or creating stiffer gun control rules and regulations have really made a difference: Any gun advocate will tell you “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  As a gun owner myself I have mixed feeling. Granted in the wrong hands a gun can be deadly. So the real question is not should all guns be banned, but rather how do we keep guns out of the wrong hands? Banning guns will not cause the problem to disappear. The type of gun that needs to banned are high capacity  AK-47 style assault riffles with multi-round clips. They have no business on the streets. But even if banned, criminals will always find a way of getting hold of a gun.

The banning of all guns will simply take them out of the hands of the good guys and put them into the hands of the bad guys. As one article pointed out, how different might the outcome have been if the principal or someone else in the office would have had access to a gun and been trained to use it. Perhaps those children would still be alive today. Who knows.

No, what we need are better gun laws and better enforcement of those laws, and more  thorough background checks. Changes need to be made to protect lives and current laws need to be enforced more ardently. Do you know that currently those wishing to purchase a gun are not required to disclose if they have ever voluntarily been treated for mental illness or if someone with mental illness lives in the home where the gun will be kept. Incredible! I think these are two crucial background questions that should be asked, don’t you?

There are over 270 million privately owned guns in America today. That’s roughly 9 guns per every 10 people! We are second only to the Arab Nation of Yemen and also have the highest rate of gun related deaths.  Perhaps this tragedy could have been averted, perhaps not, but the deaths of so many innocent children can not be ignored. As tragic as these deaths are perhaps they will be a catalyst of change in our gun crazy society. This past weekend President Obama called for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.” He’s right. I believe that time has come and is long overdue.

Just a Thought,

JS

 

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