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The Right to Bear Arms and Sandy Hook Elementary

December 17, 2012 - I confess, I'm always a bit relieved each time I rediscover that we Americans are not yet untouched by our own barbarianism. Incredibly, last Friday's heartbreaking events seem to have diminished us all; we walk more diffidently, we speak in lowered tones; our hearts ache, we shake our heads both in disbelief and in sorrow.  So maniacal were the actions of the lone gunman, so basically wrong, his victims so utterly defenseless, that we stand stripped of even our capacity to feel.  Gutted and forlorn, the world looks upon us in horrified wonder.

Yet another mentally unstable American male has wounded us.  We are not dead, not like the 27 in Newtown. But the hurt is very deep and very wide, if we are brave enough to allow ourselves to feel it.  In our search to discover meaning, questions ring in our minds.  They say his poor, deceased mother was a lovely woman.  How is it that she knew so little of her deeply-troubled, 20-year-old son?  That was what always left me with the persistent feeling of "this makes no sense" when I thought about the parents of the two young men who killed their classmates in Columbine.  How could the adults in charge not have known about their children's arsenals?  Were they so little available to their youngsters that they knew nothing of the emotional cesspool to which these bullied young men had been relegated?

What is it about American men?  They constitute 91% of the national prison population.  Does that ratio hold in other countries, as well?  Nine-to-one, men vs. women?  How is it that we as a society have so completely failed these individuals?  Most of them have mental health issues that have gone unaddressed.  When will we learn that we can either spend the money helping them, or spend the money punishing them, but spend it we will?  When will men bow to the fact that this is their problem, that they must mentor one another, be role models for one another.  Absent fathers be damned; someone else must step in and assume that critical job: uncle, brother, grandfather, friend.  Failure to do so harms every one of us.

As for the second amendment, tell it to those murdered children and their emotionally devastated families.  No, I mean it: stand over their graves and explain to them why they're dead.  Tell their parents, their grandparents, their siblings.  Explain it very carefully, so I can understand.  So we can all understand.  Tell the president of the NRA to attend each and every one of those funerals, and tell him to explain to everyone there why the supposed militias to which gun owners belong weren't at Sandy Hook last Friday, to protect those children.  And tell him not to forget to thank those parents whose children were martyrs to the right to bear arms.

You know, you CAN call your Congressional representatives, and tell them you support a ban on assault weapons.  It honestly is not a hard or scary thing to do. You are your representative’s boss.  S/he works FOR you.  I have always been treated respectfully – I’ve called many, many times – and have always been promised the Congressperson I called will be told what I’ve said.  We owe it to our fallen babies and their teachers to make democracy work.  Call today, call often.  It’s your government, and it works when we get mad enough to make it work. 



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