Please forgive me for digressing from my usual analysis of conditions in the Middle East. The tragedy that has consumed America’s attention demands a response.
Some decades ago, I wrote When There Is No Miracle, trying to help people understand and face tragedy. I came to the conclusion that there is no satisfactory answer to explain why it happened. The only recourse is to ask what can we do in response. This insight is particularly true in Newtown, Connecticut. No explanation can be spoken to the parents of the 20 innocent children or the kin of the six adults that will unravel the mystery of such a draconian disaster. But we must consider what can be done.
We can do more to stop these senseless catastrophes. I do know something about the after effects. I grew up in Bailey, Colorado where a lunatic entered the local high school and killed 16 year-old Emily Keyes. She had been my server on Saturdays at a local cafe. I know many of the local students still struggling with the impact of this senseless tragedy. Littleton’s Columbine High School where two boys shot 12 students and killed one teacher is not that far away. Last summer, I awoke one July morning to discover that Aurora’s movie theater had been the scene of 12 being killed and 58 injured by crazy James Holmes. I have observed the problem up close.
Extreme gun advocates like the NRA have their slogans in response to these tragedies such as, “Guns Don’t Kill, People Kill.” Really? The children in Newtown weren’t shot by bow and arrows? Obviously, guns do kill. The better slogan would be “Guns and People Kill.” We must face the fact that guns are intricate to this national problem. In the USA, there are more gun dealers than grocery stores or McDonalds.
Moreover, evil lays at the heart of the matter. Our national refusal to bring automatic weapons under control has provided the Evil One with a draconian means of completing his purposes. Yes, many of these killings came from disturbed and mentally ill persons. Our society has many such individuals wandering around. Can you think of a better reason to bring weaponry under control?
Certainly the issue isn’t intruding on hunters with sportsmen’s intentions or home owners protecting their property. They have a right to own weapons. The problem before us are the Mossberg 715T Tactical semi-automatic rifles, the Ar-15’s, the M-16’s, and a host of weapons that should have no place in a civilized society. Yes, we can crack down on gun registration and the ability to obtain weapons at gun shows as easily as buying groceries. We can do infinitely better in reining in these killing machines. We halted slavery; we can reduce shootings. Remember when you could smoke on an airplane and in a restaurant? If we reduced the cancer sticks, we can certainly restrict assault weapons.
Oh yes, the argument will be, “but you can’t stop criminals from getting guns.”
The trouble is these public mass murderers weren’t committed by hardened criminals. Just local folks.
Part of the irony of the Newtown tragedy is that shooter Adam Lanza’s mother killed that day was a gun enthusiast. The Glock and Sig Sauer pistols as well as the .223 caliber rifle carried by Lanza were from her stockpile of weapons. Not only did her personal arsenal not protect her, but she died because of it.
The time has come to wake up. We can make a significant inroad into these horrendous tragedies. We don’t need any more evidence. I can’t tell you why it happened, but here are suggestions for what we can do.