Words fall flat in the face of the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
Most of the victims were just kids. Kids! Who had they ever harmed? Nobody! I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, so I can’t even begin to comprehend the loss and devastation they’re going through. Nothing can bring these kids or their teachers back. In the face of such reckless disregard for life, I commend the heartbreaking bravery of the teachers who stepped in between the gunman and the children. They gave up their lives to protect these children.
It’s disturbing to see that Nancy Lanza, the gunman’s mother and his first victim, was a gun enthusiast herself. The guns he used to murder so many people were hers. Legally bought. None of us will know what went through the mind of the Adam Lanza, and what kind of rage could motivate him to kill his own mother, and so many others. As this NY times piece pointed out – all the seven adults who were killed were women, and the bullets used by the gunman were designed to inflict maximum harm. Devastating. All life is precious, and it’s appalling that this kind of shooting rampage is not a one-off event in America.
I’m not American. I have no understanding of this ‘right to bear arms’. As Huffington Post tweeted recently, what about the right for children to live? If you ask me, the choice is clear. If the gun situation in America has escalated to the point where children need to be trained for school shootings, then that’s an awful, awful place to be in. I wouldn’t want to be a parent in America, holding my breath each time I send my kid to school. Homeschooling takes on a whole new meaning for American kids. It could mean the difference between surviving to reach adulthood, or dying in another school shooting.
Sure, like a lot of other kids, I didn’t like school very much. But it never, ever crossed my mind that somebody would break into my school and rain bullets on my friends and my teachers. This is the fear of every American parent right now, in the wake of the most recent school shootings. For Australian schools at least, the risk of a gunman is very, very low on our radar. And I pray that it continues to stay this way. Does it mean things were always peachy? Not at all. This SMH article points out what the Howard government did for gun control, after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre:
However, the federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh believes Howard’s success will endure. Leigh, as an academic, published research in 2010 that found the buyback of 500,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns had cut firearm suicides by 74 per cent, saving 200 lives a year. Gun homicides were down 59 per cent.
President Obama, what will you do now? Teary speeches don’t cut it. Gun control will.