In the last few years, I keep it light around here. Mostly I write about blogging, WordPress, silly stuff about my kids. The heavy stuff is usually something about fatherhood and losing my own dad before I was a teenager.
I haven’t written about politics since early college, as far as I can remember. And I don’t think this is a political post either.
Monday was the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. Three years ago, an individual whom I do not wish to give any attention to by even mentioning his name, shot through the entrance of an elementary school, killing six adults working at the school, and killing twenty 1st graders.
Twenty children. Sixteen of them were six years old. Four were seven years old.
I didn’t process that when the shooting happened. I didn’t really pay attention to what that really meant until this year.
First graders. Six years old.
My six-year-old daughter is a first grader right now.
Why do we not care about dead kids?
Thinking about Sandy Hook makes me sick. And brings me to tears. Those twenty kids: Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison.
Those twenty families: The Bacons, the Bardens, the Engels, the Gays, the Hockleys, the Hsus, the Hubbards, the Kowalskis, the Lewises, the Marquez-Greenes, the Mattiolis, the Mcdonnells, the Parkers, the Pintos, the Pozners, the Previdis, the Rekoses, the Richmans, the Wheelers, the Wyatts.
The heroic actions taken by the staff at the school—six dead. Vicki Soto, 13 months younger than me, who hid her students in the classroom, told the shooter they were in the gym. Then when some of the scared kids ran out of their hiding places trying to get away, and the shooter began to shoot them, she threw herself in front of them.
The kids that survived seeing, hearing 20 fellow students and 6 adults they trusted and loved slaughtered. This poor boy who lost the two older kids on his street that made him feel safe on the bus. Thinking what the one single student left alive in one classroom must still be going through. The families still broken struggling to make it day-to-day emotionally.
And we don’t care. We don’t care about them. We don’t care about trying to fix the problem. We seem to care more about the people who do the killing than the victims or how to reduce the number of future victims.
Where is our outrage? Why has nothing changed? This individual committed no crime until he went upon school grounds with a gun.1
Not just a gun. A Bushmaster M4 with 30-round magazines. Within four minutes, this son of a bitch shot 154 bullets out of this gun into twenty six- and seven-year olds, and eight adults. All twenty kids killed. Six adults. He still had time to pull out a Glock handgun, take a random shot, then shoot himself. Four minutes. 156 shots. One shooter.
I’m not anti-gun. My dad owned guns and enjoyed hunting. Majority of my family hunts. Majority probably own guns. I’ve gone hunting. The last couple of bachelor weekends I’ve been on, we’ve went to the range to target and clay shoot. I had a great time. I have an interest in the back of my head to take a concealed handgun course, not to carry, but to become proficient on how to use a gun (I’m a decent shot with a shotgun, since well, it’s a shotgun, but my handgun skills weren’t great).
So, I say this not as a bleeding heart liberal that want to take every gun out of every private citizen’s hands and throw it into a molten pit.
Why is this gun legal? Why does anyone need this? Why does anyone need a 30-round magazine? Hell, why is it manufactured?
NBC News reports at least 555 kids under 12-year old were killed by guns since Sandy Hook. That’s probably low as suicides aren’t usually counted and there likely are other unreported incidents.
Despite this, any type of conversation on guns seem to be killed in the political sphere. Universal background checks on gun sales failed in the Senate. There’s no waiting period in Texas. No registration. No limit to the purchase of magazines. Private sales between individuals is legal as long as the buyer is 18, sober, and doesn’t intend to use it in a crime with no licensing, registration, notice, of any kind.
Where is our outrage?
Maybe guns aren’t the problem. Then, what is? Do we need more mental health specialists? Do we need to find ways to reduce the absurd stigma in this country associated with having mental health issues?
Where is the action to improve that side of the coin?
In any case, the solution is not having more people with guns around. Do we seriously want people working and visiting elementary schools with guns? How many accidental gun death have occurred when there wasn’t a gun within shooting distance (literally)?
I like to be prepared. I’m the guy who checks for the location of exits when entering a new space. I don’t like to sit with my back facing a window.
I look at the entrance of my daughter’s school. Yeah, it is locked and requires you to be buzzed in via a video intercom. That wouldn’t have stopped this guy. From the door, I can see my daughter’s classroom. I can see my daughter’s desk.
I can’t pretend this is an isolated event. Sure, this guy only committed this one crime and no one else worked with him. Sure, the Virgina Tech shooting was the same. The Aurora Colorado shooting. The Charleston shooting. The Chattanooga shooting. The Colorado Springs shooting. The Roseburg, Oregon shooting. I’m ignoring the home-invasion or domestic shootings like the Houston shooting this year where an ex-boyfriend killed his ex-girlfriend, her husband, and six kids—no, this was the 2015 one. You might be thinking of the 2014 Houston shooting by an ex-husband of his former wife, her husband, and their four kids.
I can’t pretend this is an isolated event, no. Can gun laws stop this? Are there other things we can do to stop it? The most difficult question is the saddest too: Are we even trying anymore?