The past few days have been heart-wrenching not just for the community of Newtown, Connecticut, but the entire country. Last week I promised my retail post, but I had hoped you would find that adventure funny, and in light of last Friday’s tragic events, it seems a little too soon to laugh. So I am taking a momentary time out, please indulge me.
Since 20 innocent children — and six adults who dedicated their lived to teaching and caring for them — were gunned down by a clearly sick young man, there has been an outcry to re-examine our country’s gun control laws. There have also been dozens of heart-breaking images of frantic parents waiting to hear word of their children, terrified children being led from the school that was once a place of happiness, and a grief-ridden community ripped apart in a hail of bullet.
As a former journalist I usually gobble up details of big news stories, wishing to be back in the center of the action. Not this time. I have been actively staying away from the onslaught of coverage. I don’t want to know all the details of this story; they are just too terrible.
Some have said this is the time for a serious discussion about gun control. Some say this is not; instead it’s a time to grieve the innocent victims. Why can’t it be both?
It’s true that the guns used in this massacre were purchased legally by the murderer’s mother, so in some ways, no background check or waiting period could have prevented him from getting his hands on these weapons. It’s also true that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks Connecticut’s gun laws as some of the strictest in the nation. But does anyone really need these types of weapons? And all those bullets? Police sources say the shooter had hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
To think about the lives cut short can be physically painful. It has brought us all – including our President — to tears. To look at their pictures, with their bright eyes and big smiles, it’s hard not to think about what they would have done in the future, whom they would have become, all the joy they would have brought to their parents, siblings, friends and community. Wouldn’t the best way to honor these victims be to take a good hard look at our country’s gun control laws and work towards some common sense and practical procedures that can protect innocent people from tragic gun violence like that happened last Friday in Newtown? I hope so.
I’ll be back later this week to make you laugh, as soon as I stop crying.
I decided not to use the shooters name in the post because I did not want to immortalize him, or give him any recognition.