A few people have expressed surprise to me that I haven't really verbalized my thoughts on the Newtown CT Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I'm sure some people who follow me on Facebook are relieved that I haven't pulled out my soapbox to speak my mind whereas others have expressed that they like to hear my perspective. While I'm flattered to even have my opinion thought of, I have to say, I have definitely retreated a little in the wake of this incident.
I guess the reason is that this is just too real for me. This hits me too close to home and is too similar to the things that my worst nightmares are made of. The whole event stings of awful, soul crushing, intolerable pain and I guess I have been just trying to sit in it and let it process.
However I do have a few things that I feel that I need to say and since some time has passed I can begin to pull my emotions together into a somewhat linear thought process.
The first thing that comes to mind is the absolute gut wrenching punch of pain that I feel when I think about these victims, their parents and really, the whole community that will never be the same. That piece of it - the pain - is the portion I can't really even deal with because it literally renders me speechless and doubled over. I know that there is something that must be done with that pain - something that helps and even honors those lost but I am still too overwhelmed by it all to figure out exactly how I can do that just yet.
After that I have to say the following: this is an issue of public safety. This is something that truly needs to change.
One of the many things that have bothered me since this happened was how many people said that this isn't a gun control issue. "Don't politicize this" they cried out.
Sorry but seriously, situations like this are political whether we acknowledge it in 140 characters or not. They're politicized by speaking up and they're politicized by not speaking up too. Imagine if people had said not to politicize the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, for one random historical example? Would there be changes to factory regulations and safety precautions today? I doubt it.
The point I'm making is that these are political issues. The thing NOT to do is just bury them under the carpet of sadness, shame and grief and call it respect. Real respect is to do everything in our power so these babies didn't die in vain. Real respect is changing something in their name so other children are safe going to school every day. I mean truly, shouldn't we be shocked that I can even SAY that? That young children aren't safe in school anymore. FIRST GRADERS aren't safe and yet here we have people arguing not to make this a political issue? What else is it if not a political issue? There are policies that MUST be changed - they MUST. Our children - the defenseless citizens of our society are at risk and this isn't a political issue? This isn't something that policy should influence? Sorry. I don't agree.
I'm sure it's not surprising to anyone that my stance on this is that more gun control is needed - absolutely 100% necessary even. I honestly don't feel that there is a single solitary reason that any civilian or non-uniformed officer in America needs a gun. Not a single reason. The 2nd Amendment says that we have the right to bear arms for the purpose of forming militia. Oh, okay, how many of these mass-murderers are in militia groups? That's what I thought.
The other arguments for retaining guns as private citizens are equally as absurd: you want to have a gun in case of an intruder? Yea, because home invasions are such a huge epidemic? A friend of mine put it well on Twitter when she said that it's way more likely that your own kid will fall victim to an accidental shooting with the gun you've gotten for Home Protection than the odds are that any intruder will be gunned down in the name of your safety. People who rob houses generally do so when no one is home. We aren't living in some culture where people are storming into houses on a regular enough basis that we should be armed inside our own homes. Know what kind of culture we ARE living in though? One where people are getting murdered in public places on a regular basis. That's insane.
Then there's the other argument: hunting. Sorry but I'm pretty sure that's another invalid reason. Not only am I morally opposed to hunting anyway but truly, it's not much of a sport if you're just hiding in a tree and waiting until some game wanders into your scope. Get the hell down and go running through the woods with a cross-bow like your ancestors did if you're so interested in the "sport" of hunting. Shouldn't it be an active process? Why would you need an automatic weapon for this? Why would you need any firearm at all? Thousands of years worth of humanity have been hunting without firearms. You do not need a gun.
How many people need to die in order for congress to suck it up and stand up to the lobbyists in Washington?
And what kills me is that, like all other things in our culture, this comes down to money. Money, money, money.
I ask, how much more valuable is money than human life? Because that's the message here: money matters more than anything else. The precious dollar must be worshipped. The dollar means more than God, more than the self, more than the Earth, more than our own little innocent children. The dollar is all that matters.
Well, not to me. Our children are more important than sucking up to the NRA and their financial influence. You can't put a price tag on the lives and the safety of our babies. If our president is even half of the man he presents himself as he will finally just stand up to his cabinet and DO something about this. He will throw caution to the wind and he will take a stand to protect the innocent people of our country. It is time. A change is needed. This is just out of control.
I have more to say but that's enough for now. I still am trying to avoid facebook and twitter, still needing to scroll quickly past the photos of these children who have been torn from life too early and too violently for me to stomach.
We ALL need to stand up and do something. This isn't something we can wait on. How many more public spaces do we need to be afraid of before something changes? I already don't feel safe in malls, movie theaters, college campuses and high schools. Now i have to worry about elementary schools to? What is wrong with this nation? We're supposed to be the most advanced culture in the world? Pfft. That's laughable and ridiculous. Anyone who believes that guns aren't the problem here is delusional and brainwashed. Sorry, but that's the way I feel about it.