Twenty small children went to elementary school on Dec. 14 with the intention to learn A-B-Cs and instead were dead before recess.
It is unfathomable to imagine the impact on families who lost their children, as well as those whose children were spared but profoundly traumatized now, and for years to come. Many families returned home to see Christmas trees, Menorahs, thoughts of holiday plans, unopened presents, and removal of child car seats that will never be filled again. The joy is gone. Is this evidence enough to start a serious debate and acknowledge that the United States has a profound gun crisis? Is it time to wake up and realize that no other developed country in the world suffers these massacres on a regular basis?
We hear once again that this is not a time to focus on gun control and gun safety. I disagree. We know if bridges were collapsing around the United States killing many Americans, we would surely view it as a moment to talk about what needs to happen to keep our bridges from collapsing. If a plague were ripping through communities, health officials would be working feverishly to contain it. Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable. Yet, prevention of more gun violence is not. But that’s unacceptable. What follows here is not a policy agenda. It is simply a set of facts that should inform a discussion.
Now is the time to address this issue in a legislative manner. President Obama knows the NRA is against him, so how about giving them good reason.
Sadly, this discourse is getting much needed attention after 20 children between the ages of 4 and 10 were slaughtered. We need to work to build safer communities for our children and pressure the government on every level to stand up against the NRA and for every child’s right to live and learn free of gun violence and without fear.
We already know how easy it is to obtain guns in the Unites States. We already know it is far too difficult to keep these guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Would the NRA like civilians to have access to armored tanks, or grenade launchers to ‘protect’ their homes? We must act now to curb gun violence, or we never will.
We can't just grieve and hold our children and loved ones. We have to demand that our country earn the right to call itself a civilized nation. Can we as a nation, Democrat and Republicans together, make a collective New Year's resolution for 2013 to seriously deal with gun violence?
One can only hope the NRA will take an appropriate stance in the face of this inconceivable tragedy.
Keith J. Farrelly is a principal at DYM Communications.