I can't wrap my mind around what happened in Connecticut on Friday. I think that's for the best because I think to be able to fully comprehend the horror of it would be completely overwhelming. How would you ever stop crying?
This one hit closer to home than the other recent shootings because it happened in a school. School is meant to be a safe place for children, yes, but is also a second home to those of us who work there. I can't imagine what it must be like to have that sense of safety so entirely violated.
I realize that "this could have been my school/classroom/students" is not as deeply unsettling as the feeling all of you parents have this this could have been your child. I can't understand the terror those parents felt as they raced to the firehouse in desperate hope of finding their children alive and unharmed. I hope to never know the depth of sorrow of the parents whose children weren't there.
All of these things are beyond me. But that's not all.
I cannot understand how anyone could look at this and say "Guns are not the problem." It doesn't make any sense at all to me. In the last decade, there has been a massive increase in guns owned in the US. There has been a huge increase in mass shootings. Easy access to guns is not making us safer.
People say, "Someone who wants to hurt people will find another way if they can't get guns." I don't understand not wanting to make it as difficult as possible for them. Adam Lanza may very well have killed his mother with a knife. But it wouldn't have gotten him through the locked door of the school the way he was able to shoot his way in with a semi-automatic rifle. A person armed with something other than a gun does not succeed in killing dozens of people.
You may point out that Timothy McVeigh used a bomb to kill people. Yes, he did as an act of political terrorism. He planned it and risked being caught in a way that a young man having a psychotic break picking up his mother's legally owned firearms didn't have to.
Because if your argument against gun control is that criminals will find ways to get guns, I will point out that the vast majority of guns used in mass shootings were legally obtained. I will tell you that I do not understand the mindset that says my right to own any gun of my choosing trumps the right of twenty children to grow up.
There is an assault rifle in my home right now. It's here because our roommate walked into a store with a gun-loving friend and was able to impluse purchase it. It makes me feel less, not more safe and I can't help but feel that if we are burglarized, we will have armed a criminal and will be complicit in any deaths it causes. I don't understand how a person can consider him or herself both pro-life and pro-gun.
I know that people use guns for hunting and recreation. I don't have a problem with this. I've heard people say that maybe instead of "gun control" we ought to say "gun regulation" because maybe this phrase wouldn't trigger the knee-jerk You Want To Take My Guns Away response. Nobody is saying that. But why, as a responsible gun owner, would you have a problem with background checks, waiting periods, licensing and registration?
I don't understand what anyone needs with an assualt rifle, huge clips, or armor piercing bullets. The fact that you feel the Second Amendment entitles you to them is not reason enough. Because when you say that guns don't kill people, people kill people, I will point out that when people kill a lot of people, they overwhelmingly use guns. And I don't understand not wanting to make that as difficult as possible for them.
Most incomprehensible to me is the argument that people need guns in case they need to stage an uprising against their government. You cannot stockpile enough guns to overtake the US military. You cannot. So either this is a fabricated excuse or these people are dangerously delusional.
I understand that we desperately need to address how we deal with mental illness in this country. We need to address the stigma, the lack of coverage for mental health services, and the lack of options available. This is a big problem that will take time to address and change. I don't see why we wouldn't work in the meantime to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not well.
The idea that we'd be safer with guns in schools is beyond my capacity for understanding. Mike Huckabee says it happened because we systematically removed God from our schools. Not only do I wonder what kind of God he believes in who can be removed from anywhere, I can't fathom that he really believes having said the Lord's Prayer every morning at school would keep a mentally ill person from acting on the urge to harm people. And I really can't understand feeling ok about saying anything that conveys that a school had this coming on a day when educators gave their lives for their students.
When I read about administrators who died because they ran toward the sound of gunshots, about a teacher who was killed protecting her students, I understand that. In all my years of teaching, I can think of very few coworkers who wouldn't do the same. That's as it should be. Because if you don't love your kids, then you have no business in this line of work. And that's what love does.
I wish that we could come together in the face of this tragedy. I hate all of the divisiveness I see happening on Facebook over what our response should be. But this is too important to worry about ruffling feathers. Because I would argue that now is not the time to talk about gun regulation (or massacre prevention as I've seen someone suggest we call it instead). The time to talk about it was before twenty children were taken from their parents. But now is the best we can do. Now. Before it happens again.