Tragic. Senseless. Heartbreaking. Unfathomable. Trot out all the usual adjectives to describe another massacre. Twenty six people, including 20 children, are dead tonight because someone who shouldn’t have been allowed within 100 yards of a gun held one in his hands.
A man walks into a crowd carrying a gun. Sounds like the first line of an old joke. Yet the only stories repeated more often than old jokes these days are stories about killing sprees in movies theaters, malls and schools. The latest story took place in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. This one hit too close to home; but in reality, they all hit too close to home for someone.
Before too long, another massacre will hit too close to home for someone else. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun advocates will once again remind us that, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” They’ll also remind us of our constitutional right to bear arms — for protection. But I’ve always wondered, how come we never hear stories about people sitting at home minding their own business and having to kill armed intruders for protection? Instead, we hear stories about places like Virginia Tech, Columbine, Aurora and now Sandy Hook Elementary School.
When are we going to wake up and address this national epidemic? Sure, we can put x-ray machines and metal detectors at the door of every school, store and public building in the nation. Yes, we can produce public service messages about gun safety. Yet these solutions are like applying a band-aid to the gaping wound caused by an automatic weapon.
When the founders of our country insured our right to bear arms I hardly think they imagined a day when a gun could kill dozens of people in the time it took them to load, fire, and reload their reliable old flintlock rifle. The only people who need these guns are the people who want to kill lots of other people and kill them quickly. The best way to prevent the next massacre is to cut off some lunatic’s easy access to automatic weapons. If that means the rest of us can’t get our hands on them either, consider it a fair trade-off for real safety — and a much more effective means of protection than taking our shoes off before boarding an airplane.
Innocence went up against evil this morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School and innocence lost. How many more times do the innocent have to lose before we match the gun advocates dollar for dollar, sound-bite for sound-bite, and lobbyist for lobbyist, and get automatic weapons off the street and out of our neighborhoods?