Tragedy and Tears

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Crime, Government
Tags: , , ,

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom,not a guide by which to live” – RFK

Originally, I had a new piece ready for today about a corrupt parking operator in Port Canaveral. But then last Friday happened, and writing about some petty criminal just seemed inappropriate. To be honest, nothing feels “right” ever since Friday morning. So I’ll regale you all with stories of parking next week on Friday, but today I need to talk about what’s been going through my head ever since Friday morning.

There are many people in my life, both work and professional, that are proud, responsible gun owners, who use them for sport and pleasure. But the same could be said about cars, and yet no one sees that as a justification to stop requiring testing and licensing to drive a car. No one would argue that this basic system of regulation makes our roads and all of us safer. Does that eliminate all vehicle deaths? Of course not. But it does save a lot of lives. That is why I cannot for the life of me understand why we don’t do the same with firearms, why some say it’s not even appropriate to talk about that in the wake of a tragedy that could not have happened if firearms had not been readily available. On the same day that Adam Lanza murdered so many, a man in China tried to do the same, except because he could only gain access to a knife instead of a gun, no one died.

Preventing future incidents like this is not a simple matter. Gun control is not the sole solution to this problem (and it is an endemic problem here in the US, 15 of the 25 worst gun massacres in the world in the past 30 years were in the U.S., with Finland taking the number two spot at only 2 incidents), but it is one of them. Our failing schools and our outdated, underfunded mental healthcare system also share the blame and need to be examined and changed. But of all the factors involved, there is only one that empowers people to kill in an instant with just a twitch of the finger, only one that lets you turn life into an FPS video game. And in fact, in some states a 16 year old can’t buy an M rated video game, can’t see a rated R movie, can’t drink, can’t join the army, can’t vote . . . but CAN buy a concealed firearm with no permit; how is that a sane way of doing things in any way, shape or form?

I want to see all paths explored to prevent another Sandy Hook from happening in my lifetime. I’ve seen more of these massacres happen in the span of my life than my parents and grandparents saw combined in the time preceding it. I want to see reforms to our healthcare system so that people like Adam Lanza or Jared Loughner don’t fall through the cracks; I want to see our educators empowered to identify and help children with special issues long before their raging psychological problems have pushed them over the edge into becoming a monster; and I want to see a day when  it’s at least as hard to get a gun as it is to get a driver’s license or see an R-rated movie or join the army. How is any of that unreasonable? How is any of that challenging people’s rights? And yet, I cannot help but notice that many of the same voices that are saying we should be having a conversation about mental health instead of gun regulation are the same voices that argued against having a healthcare system that leaves less people falling through the cracks and a public education system that is robust and strong and nimble enough to meet the needs of our more troubled children. Something has to give, and despite my strong support of responsible gun ownership I cannot see any perspective from which making this country safer for our children and families isn’t worth having to go through a little more hassle to get a gun, or paying a little more in taxes so that there are less troubled, dangerous people spiraling down paths of self-destruction unaccounted for.

I know that this opinion will make me unpopular in some circles, but I’d rather risk being unpopular than risk someone else’s life. I rail against big government all the time in this blog, but this is one of those complicated issues that give purpose to government. This is why we form societies, why we have laws, so that we can ensure the peace and safety of as many people as possible. There is a role for government and for regulation, and this is one of them. Over the course of my life I have seen government checks on gun ownership weaken more and more, and subsequently have seen more and more acts of mass acts of violence and murder in that same time; why in God’s name would anyone be opposed to at least trying the reverse of that equation, one that has worked so well in virtually every other developed nation in the world, and seeing if stronger checks on gun ownership can reduce the number of tragedies we all see in our lifetimes?

My heart goes out to the community of Sandy Hook. I cannot fathom the depth of their pain and loss, and although it’s a bit selfish I hope I never do; in fact, I hope no one else ever does and that no one ever again has to experience this kind of tragedy. And I hope that as a nation, we can come together like we did after 9/11 and honor those lost by saying “Never again!” With that in mind, below is the list of lives lost last Friday. If I never see a list like this again in my lifetime it will be too soon. Those of you who pray, I ask that you pray for all of them and their families; those of you who don’t, I ask that you read their names and honor them both in memory and in deed. Never forget, never again.

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana M Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeline F. Hsu, 6

Catherine V. Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison N Wyatt, 6


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