Newtown

We knew this was coming. Right? We all knew there would come a time when it wouldn’t be enough to kill high school kids or college students or people in movie theaters. We know many of these shooters are aware of past shootings. They want to up the stakes. You don’t get remembered if you’re just one of the herd. And let’s face it, people who carry off mass shootings in America—they’re getting to be pretty big herd.

And what did we do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Some of us wrote, some of screamed, some of us tried. But we didn’t get anywhere. It’s hard when half your government is terrified of the NRA and the other half’s on its payroll. It’s hard when the other side seems so angry. They’re ready to fight for their guns. They want to fight. 

Are we ready to fight, too? I hope so.

Ever since 16 children died at Dunblane, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone hit an elementary school here. What I did not know was that it would be this close to home. That I would have a dear friend who, although the beloved children in his life were spared, would be going to several funerals this week. That it would happen near a bookstore where I spent a terrific afternoon talking to the kids of Bethel. 

And I didn’t know that I would have a six year old son when it happened. 

After Dunblane, the UK banned private ownership of hand guns. So have other countries who went through this nightmare. Despite the fact that the bans appear to be quite successful, I am assured that such a ban will never happen here. That we will never find a way to restrict gun ownership to the modest weaponry that will protect your home and get you venison. 

Here’s one thing I don’t get. You like shooting paper targets? Rent the damn guns. Leave them at the range. That way, you get your jollies and more kids will get to grow up. 

The “right” to own guns that can mow down countless people in seconds—how many of us really think that’s what the Second Amendment meant? You think it’ll protect you from the government of the most weaponized country in the world? That argument is not worth having. 

Is our country so stupid, so negligent, so cowardly that we will fail to act again? That we will be held hostage by the thugs who insist their right to play with guns trumps our right to live our lives? Educate our children? Go to the movies? Church, mosque, synagogue? Hear our local politician speak?

People do pay attention when children die. When Emmett Till and Cari Lightner died, it mattered. Not right away. But things started to change. Because we’re not that stupid and we’re not that cowardly. 

This time, we’ll scream louder than they do. It’s not President Obama who’s coming for your guns, ladies and gentlemen. It’s millions of enraged Americans who have had enough.

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6 thoughts on “Newtown

  1. Tom Craughwell says:

    “It’s not President Obama who’s coming for your guns, ladies and gentlemen. It’s millions of enraged Americans who have had enough.” That’s right, and I’m one of those outraged millions.

  2. Perfectly put, Mariah. Thank you.

  3. Tim says:

    Nice argument.

    Except that the UK had far more stringent anti-gun legislation than the USA even BEFORE Dunblane.

    The only thing that has changed is that law-abiding citizens have been deprived of the freedom to enjoy what used to be a legitimate sport.

    Do you really think anyone who is planning to kill someone else is going to be deterred by a law that says it is illegal to own a gun? I’m afraid there is plenty of evidence to show that they are not.

    Criminals are criminals. They break laws. That’s what being a criminal is all about.

    Laws only inconvenience the innocent.

    PS I don’t own a gun. I don’t like guns. But I detest pointless legislation.

    • Except that the young men committing these acts aren’t “criminals” in the usual sense. They’re suburban, mostly law abiding—except for the odd misdemeanor, and probably lack connections to people who can get them illegal guns, just as they lack connections to people who could get them heroin. COULD they get them? Probably. But wouldn’t it be better if they couldn’t just go to mom’s closet or ask an older friend to stand in for them at a gun show, as the Columbine kids could? There are any number of laws people manage to get around. People do cocaine, people drive drunk, people beat their children. It doesn’t mean the laws against those things are pointless.

      And it’s unlikely the innocent will be inconvenienced, except that they will be restricted to buying the kind of weapons that serve the purpose they claim they’re supposed to. Self protection and hunting.

      • Tim says:

        After Hungerford, our government made automatic weopons illegal. It didn’t prebent Dunblane. After Dunblane, they made hand guns illegal. It didn’t prevent Cumbria.
        But it did mean that the Olympic sport of pistol shooting is now illegal in the UK. Our Olympic pistol shooters have to go abroad to practice.
        Thousands of non-olympic pistol shooters have been forced to give up their sport.
        But there are now more illegal guns on our streets than there were before Dunblane.

  4. Still, you don’t have 300 million guns in the UK. You haven’t had four of these events in one year. I am open as to the actual solution—as long as it doesn’t involve teachers packing heat. But I refuse to believe that this is our new normal and nothing can be done about it.

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