Standing at the curb, annoyed by the canceled shuttle service from the hotel to LAX, Cathy and I reminisced about the wonderful time we enjoyed at Disneyland the past few days.
As I glanced at my iPhone to catch up on the news, I saw the headline “Shooting at Connecticut School”. Not again I thought and looked down the street for the bus.
The journey home was uneventful – on-time flights, polite crowds, cramped coach seats – but as we learned more about the “shootings” the sadness sunk in.
At Disneyland, we saw many kids. I often commented on the number of strollers. The new moms and dads taking their kids out for a spin. The easy laughs of children on Peter Pan, Dumbo, It’s a Small World or Alice in Wonderland. Yes we rode them, along with the kids.
The horror of the killings sunk in as we got home. We silently watched the news, asking the same question asked around the world – “Why?”
They should not be lost in the headlines: 6 adults, 12 girls and 8 boys. The children were either 6 or 7 years old. The teachers from 27 to 56 years old.
I went to bed that night thinking of the parents and the unopened Christmas presents, the car seats no longer needed – the horrible aching that would never go away, the new normal in their life. The sister lost forever.
I thought of guns and why we have them. The purpose of 2nd amendment when it was written in 1791 − 220 years, 11 months, 29 days before this shooting.
I read Twitter and Facebook and shared silently in the outrage of my social media friends. The ones who post pictures and videos of themselves shooting their guns for fun were silent. The teachers were livid. Everyone was sad.
I watched the Sunday morning news programs and listened carefully to the gun control debate. The pro-gun Senators and Congressman choose not to participate.
If a defense was to be made, it was the background checks worked, the killer was not allowed to buy a gun a few days earlier. He used his mom’s weapons. He was mentally ill – so guns are not to blame.
Left out was that it seems he selected the automatic weapons from his mom’s gun collection, a Bushmaster M4 semi automatic weapon similar to the model used by soldiers in Iraq, not the deer hunting rifles. He is thought to have used ammunition designed to inflect as much damage as possible, not humane ammunition – an oxymoron at the least. It appears that he knew what he was doing.
President Obama said what he needed to say. He shed a sincere tear thinking of his own 14 and 11 aged children. Then he said:
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
We are at an inflection point in the United States. Advanced countries have adopted more reasonable gun laws for decades. The U.S. has taken a simple concept of self protection and allowed it to be morphed into the absurd. Don’t let the details of the Sandy Hook killings distract from the main point – the United States must become civilized.
I often talk about memories in the context of Alzheimer’s. If you have not experienced an older person not remembering their husband or wife or where they lived for years, think of the small child who will never have the chance to make those memories.
I am sad.