I can barely stand to imagine what the parents and families of those precious children, and the teachers and administrators who died defending them, must be feeling right now.
This young woman hid her students in a closet, and then faced the gunman and told him the children were in the gym. He shot her, killing her, and left. All of her students survived.
I look into the eyes of this beautiful, obviously kind, happy young woman, a woman with a life before her — perhaps a husband, the family who mourns her, the friends who have lost her, the children she’ll never have, the life she won’t get to live, and I almost can’t bear it.
People want to find meaning, and pray for God’s light to shine and heal the world, and look forward to paradise, where these blessed children have gone and where everything is made whole, and I almost can’t bear it.
If God could have stopped this, and didn’t, I cannot forgive him.
If I’m supposed to find beauty and truth and meaning in faith in some kind of yet-to-be-revealed divine plan, I just can’t.
We don’t need faith, or platitudes, or to spend hours poring over photos of those who are suffering.
We need to change our policies, and we need to change them now.
As Gail Collins puts it so eloquently in today’s NYTimes article: “America needs to tackle gun violence because we need to redefine who we are. We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education.”
People make many arguments: the community failed him (maybe it did), a lack of mental health services failed him (maybe it did), his parents failed him (maybe they did), guns don’t kill people, people do . . .but a deranged man, neglected by his community, mental health services, and parents, who cannot get his hands on a weapon can do, well, what? stand on a street corner and rant? throw things? even if he’s carrying a knife he’s going to harm a lot fewer people than if he’s carrying a semi-automatic weapon. People make arguments that allowing us to carry weapons freely (now, in Michigan, in day care centers, churches, and schools) allows us greater protection against vicious attacks. Does anyone have any statistics on how many times a person has been able to thwart a violent attack because he or she happened to be carrying a weapon? It’s not a story we hear. I’m thinking the likelihood doesn’t outweigh the risk.
And what do we supposedly need a semi-automatic weapon for, anyway?
No matter how many times I read the second amendment, I just can’t see support for the argument that our founding fathers intended for any and all of us to buy as many weapons as we think we need or want. The right to a well-armed militia is by no means equal to a well-armed, mentally unbalanced 20-year old loner.
How many mass shootings in public places have we endured this year? How many deaths? I was going to research and list them all, but I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I just can’t anymore. But can we invite these people into our living rooms and tell them that we’re sorry, but the rights of the lunatics to have ready access to weapons exceeds their rights to a long and healthy life?
As Charles Blow says: “Even if you believe, as most Americans do, that the Second Amendment grants Americans the right to bear arms, one must also acknowledge the right of other Americans not to bear arms and be safe.”
Please click here and sign the petition. And post it on your facebook page, and send it to everyone you know. We have to stop mourning and crying and praying and do something.
Before it happens again, at which point we have only ourselves to blame.