A few days ago, a letter came home from
The Midget’s school, noting that we had
to fully list all of the people who would be allowed to pick her up from
school. In addition, the school was implementing additional security measures
in which children had to walk with their classes and teachers had to make
contact the adult prior to releasing the kid.
Last night, after the Christmas
concert, the choral director announced that the parents had to come up and get
the kids and make sure to check out with the teachers.
To me, it all seemed frivolous. Nothing
bad ever happened to my kid by running out of the door of the school, barreling
toward me while screaming “DADDY!”
OK, maybe a skinned knee or a bruised
shin when the tripped ass over teakettle, but other than that?
I wonder how many parents at Sandy Hook
Elementary School thought the same thing before today. The wooded area the
police spent the morning searching had that tranquil, peaceful feel to it. The
word “hamlet” springs to mind.
A gunman’s rage brought to fruition brought this tiny Connecticut town to our attention today.
26 dead. At least.
I wonder how many parents at schools
all across the nation are watching the newscasts and asking, “Is my kid safe?”
In less than two hours, I have to go
pick up my kid from school. When she is released from her teacher’s watchful
gaze and plunges into my arms, I know I’ll hug her tighter than ever.
What should I tell her about what
happened out there?
During the last election, I found
myself at more than a few stoplights behind trucks, cars and vans with “I’m the
NRA and I VOTE!” bumper stickers. They weren’t the only stickers like that I’ve
The punchy slogans ranged from “Gun control means hitting your target” to “They can have my gun when they pry
it from my cold, dead hands!”
Bumper stickers like that serve as a
chip on the shoulder of the car’s owner. It says, “Yeah? I said it. What are
you going to do about it?” They’re like every other one-way conduit of
information: they state a position and invite no dissention.
They do not change.
I wonder how many of those “pro-gun” bumper stickers graced
the Hondas and Chevys and Toyotas and Fords and Volvos and BMWs on the cars in
that parking lot that WABC keeps showing from its “helicopter cam.”
How many parents who lost children in this senseless act of
violent social desecration will go home to a home with a gun?
When they look at their own gun from this moment on, what
will they see?
How will they
reconcile the two images?
How many of the students who survived will go home and ask a
parent about the gun rack, the gun safe, the hunting gear in their own home?
What will they want to know? How will the parents respond?
Children of this age have a simple understanding of the
world and yet, they just experienced something even the best minds in the world
It is a pretty safe bet that one of the 600 children in this
school will ask, “Why did the bad man have a gun?”
What bumper sticker can answer that question?
I wonder what LaPierre’s answer will be this time. Should we
arm the teachers? Should we arm the administrators? Should we arm the kids?
In one way, LaPierre had a point: A gun is an equalizer.
It gives power to the weak.
It gives one man dominion over others.
It empowers people who feel aggrieved, disgruntled, upset,
angered or in some other way injured to make tangible the internal hurt, rage, despair,
pain and fear they feel.
Shootings like this one are imbrued with a sense of “that’ll show ‘em.”
Later in his interview with USA Today Sports, LaPierre
“Owning guns is a mainstream part
of American culture and it’s growing every day. My God, there’s nothing more
mainstream in this country than 100 million Americans who own firearms.”
With all due respect, Mr. LaPierre, yes there is.
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
If the framers believed in anything, it wasn’t a gun but the
right to live. This is the right that one can’t take from another, lest he
forfeit his own cause to claim a right to live, to live free or to live
I do not want to force Wayne LaPierre to explain the actions
of this individual, as such a demand would be as disingenuous as, for example, asking one
woman to represent all women.
However, I do not think it would be unfair to demand of this
one man to explain the thinking of the group he represents.
To understand why guns can’t be better regulated.
To figure out why his group doesn’t want to limit the
weapons available or at least keep stronger controls on them.
To ask the question we all want to know the answer to.
How many have to die?