Friday seemed liked most Fridays for me; work, Spin class, lunch, work, home. Yet, by the time my Spin class ended, I learned of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the news unraveled on the TV screen at my gym’s locker room, my mind flashed back to the news of the shooting at a Portland, Oregon mall earlier in the week. But this time the shooting was not at a shopping mall, this time it was at a school, an elementary school.
The news reporting of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded like many of the other mass shooting reports. Aerial shots of the scene of the shooting, images of people fleeing the scene, images of people looking stunned and crying, police officers securing the scene, fluctuating reports of the number of people wounded, dead, and unaccounted for, and makeshift psychological profiles of the shooter, all followed a bizarre and all too commonplace sequence of reporting with respect to mass shootings. The familial way in which the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting story was initially reported served to momentarily shield me from the terrible reality of what took place there. Soon, however, the full weight of what happened at Sandy Hook sunk in and tears of sadness started flowing down my cheeks. 20 children ranging in from 6 to 7 years old, along with 6 adults, were gunned down by a maniac who blasted his way into their school with military grade assault weaponry stolen from his mother who he killed prior to arriving at the school.
And here we all are again, desperately trying to make sense of the unfathomable horror that’s blown a hole in the hearts of a nation. Cries to stiffen gun laws currently dominate the headlines, along with the fear by some that this shooting will lead to them being stripped of their right to bear arms. Last night at a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, President Obama gently resolved to do whatever was in his power to prevent this sort of incident from happening again, acknowledging that no single piece of legislation would effectively stop all individuals who have it in their hearts to cause this level of devastation. Indeed, no law, ordinance, legislation, or moral decree can ensure that this will never happen again. Enacting, and more importantly, enforcing gun restrictions and assault weapon bans is about staving off as many evil and deranged individuals from fulfilling their destructive fantasies. Bottom line, military- grade weaponry like AR 15’s do not belong in the hands of citizens, PERIOD! Outside of living in a place like Iraq or Afghanistan, protecting oneself, one’s family and/or business does not require the fire power of a machine gun, and unless you want to obiterate your prey, it should also not be required for hunting.
I support the right to bear arms for responsible, law- abiding, and mentally competent individuals for protection, and if they so wish, to hunt. Calling for stricter enforcement of gun laws, coupled with a ban on assault weapons does not minimize my support. But I, like many across the nation, have grown weary of reports of the brutal and senseless slaying of men, women, and children by shooters using guns designed to spew a blood- curdling amount of bullets. The “people kill people not guns” rhetoric is devoid of any significant meaning for me when the gun in question is an AR 15. I accept that enforcing stricter gun laws and banning AR 15 types of weapons will not stop all criminals and mentally ill individuals from plotting this type of madness, but it will stop some. Isn’t the hope of stopping “some” all we can realistically expect of any law, ordinance, or regulation? It’s time to step up and get real about the issue of gun violence in America. If not after Sandy Hook Elementary School, then when, when…
May they all be resting in the arms of an angel….