I’m not sure there’s a single American in the country today who opened a newspaper, got on their smartphone, or connected to the Internet who doesn’t realize that today is exactly a year since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Even now, the memories of that terrible day are resurfacing in my mind’s eye: sitting in bed, seeing that a school has been shot up by a gunman. Fatalities, fear, fingers already being pointed, conspiracy nuts shouting their insanity. But for a little while, the American people, a people so prone to heat and rage and division, were united in a way that hadn’t been seen since 9/11. We cried and memorialized the dead. There was grief for the 20 children and six adults who died, grief from people who’d never heard of Newtown until that day. There were numerous memorials and tributes, online and on TV and across the nation by everyone from children to the most powerful of politicians.

However in the days, weeks and months since Newtown, as we learned about the gunman Adam Lanza and we heard stories about the dearly departed. that unity broke up. We looked for solutions to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again. In a year full of monstrous mass shootings in Aurora, Wisconsin, and now in Newtown, advocates for stricter gun safety laws hoped that Congress would pass sensible gun control laws. And with ninety percent of Americans behind measures such as a ban on automatic rifles and expanded background checks, it looked like there might actually be some change this time. Second Amendment advocates meanwhile balked at these proposed measures, and instead said gun control laws didn’t work and called for administrators to be trained in firearm use and to hire security guards for schools. In the end, some states such as Colorado, New York, and Maryland passed their own restrictions, while President Obama passed 23 executive mandates and Congress failed to pass any laws that would truly satisfy either side.

Normally I would use a post such as this to advocate for stricter gun laws, but I’m tempted to not do so in order to keep the dead in mind on this horrible day. However, I read articles that show that the gun maker for the rifles used in the massacre actually had an increase in sales after Sandy Hook, and I feel a little sick to think anyone could profit off a tragedy such as this. Not to mention that nearly a year after Sandy Hook, there was a shooting at a school eight miles from Columbine High School, as if to remind us how little has been accomplished since then.

So I’ll speak and say, a year later, parents are gathering around dinner tables with a vacant seat. They wish to hold their kids close to them, but they can’t. And across the nations, parents and children, siblings and cousins, friends and families, lovers and colleagues, lose someone dear to them because of gun violence. In fact, approximately 30,000 people each year are lost to gun violence, the equivalent of nearly 1154 Sandy Hooks.

We need to do something about this tragedy, but is throwing more gasoline on a fire really going to help? No, it will not! We need to choke out the fire, not give it more fuel. So if you can, call or email your legislators. Support gun control groups if you can afford to. And if you own firearms of any sort, make sure it is in a safe place where it won’t hurt anyone who might accidentally stumble upon it. And I know any Second Amendment advocates will be furious with what I’ve written here, but let me tell you, I’m not advocating for taking away all guns from your homes. Even freedom of speech is regulated when that speech is used to incite violence or is used in a malicious manner. Shouldn’t guns be treated the same way?

And besides, do you really need a military grade automatic rifle? There are no zombies or enemy armies waiting to attack, you can’t go hunting with that kind of gun, and a simple handgun is enough to ward off any burglar or rapist. Just saying, is all.

I’m going to leave you with this video I found. It describes all the grief I feel for the victims of Sandy Hook, and I think it’ll resonate with you too on this most horrid day.

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Comments
  1. karmicangel says:

    A horrible anniversary from which I agree, no united solution actually arose. What I remember from that day was my FB post wherein I lamented the lack of gun control, and got not a few comments from gun supporters explaining to me that it wasn’t the fault of the guns, it was the fault of the madman who wielded it. I referred them to Toby’s quote from the West Wing:

    “If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you’ll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it’s because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it’s because those guys have gun control laws?”

    In the arms of the angels, may you find some comfort here – amen Rami, amen.

    • I know Angela. It’s insane how we’re unable to reach any consensus on this. And every country has its madmen, but we Americans seem to have more gun deaths. I wonder what that tells us. I just hope that next year things are a little different.

  2. I’m curious to know where you got the statistic that 90% of Americans favor gun control?

    As for the fact that no-one needs a semi-automatic weapon, the definition of a semi-automatic is not what you think. Gun control advocates who wrote the law define a semi-automatic weapon as any which holds ten or more rounds of ammunition. This encompasses a large majority of handguns and even includes .22 rifles. There are also lots of other ridiculous guidelines for a semi-automatic weapon that applies to more than what you traditionally think of as “semi-automatic.”

    Gun control also has nothing to do with the number of shootings in our country. Criminals are going to get guns, no matter how many laws are in place to prevent them from doing so. The only ones that gun control laws affect are law-abiding citizens who use their guns for legal things like hunting and self-defense. When guns are taken away from citizens, it leaves them at the mercy of the criminals who are going to get guns regardless.

    I think that arming teachers at schools is a more effective solution to all of these shootings. How many criminals are going to try to enter a school to harm children if they know that all of the teachers are packing?

    • The 90% came from a Washington Post-ABC News poll published back in spring. The same pole showed that nearly three-quarters of NRA members support gun control measures, surprisingly.
      And by your logic, if thieves are going to steal regardless of burglary laws and people are going to run red lights regardless of traffic laws, we should abolish all laws that people might disregard. I don’t know about you, but anarchy isn’t a solution either.
      And I can’t imagine that, in a school system that’s already broken, that arming teachers will help out in any way to promote school safety or attract people to the education profession. And just where would they keep the guns? And how would they prevent the guns from being found by children or by being used against the kids themselves? Having a tool that is manufactured solely for the use against others in a school just doesn’t seem like a solution to me.

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