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 seen.
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 cannot comprehend.
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 noted:
"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 happily.
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?