This is not what I wanted to write about a week before Christmas. In this season of cheer and goodwill, we should be celebrating the holiday time with gusto. Instead, my heart and brain are filled with grief over the unimaginable tragedy last Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Did you know Lemon Grove has about the same population as Newtown, Connecticut? We both have a similar number of elementary schools, full of bright-faced kids. Now, looking around the Grove, seeing our little smiling cherubs in search of a Santa sighting, is making me sad.
I fear for our children’s safety because a culture of violence has taken away their right to innocence. In a little town about the same size as ours on the other side of the country, a sick perpetrator took away 20 six- and seven-year-olds’ right to have a life. This was an unspeakable slaughter of innocent lives that were just beginning. We have to ask if this is the environment we want for ourselves and our children.
Changes will be difficult, because reshaping a society that glorifies violence is complicated. This is not just a gun control or mental health issue. We, as a nation, celebrate violence in all our media by putting it center stage, up on a pedestal, under glaring spotlights. We have become addicted to ever-accelerating violence in our films, television, and video games. We’re hooked.
This time the line has been crossed, and we must change our behavior. The starting point is changing this country’s woefully inadequate gun laws. Now, Elmer, I’m not talking about your ability to hunt Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. Nor am I suggesting we send out the black helicopters to collect your guns and possibly violate your second amendment rights.
However, rights should carry responsibilities and duties for all law-abiding gun owners. The ease of obtaining unrealistic types of guns and bullets has gone over the top. We need a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, and background checks nationwide for all gun sales.
Looking at the innocents we lost last Friday, I just can not wrap my head around why any private citizen would need any of these assault weapons.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could start a public dialogue—devoid of politics—with the opposing sides? Normally, I would say good luck with that. But for our children, we’re going to have to try. The right to bear arms should not supersede the right of small children to have a chance to live out their lives.
It seems to me that having an assault weapon is a very cheap route to power. Can’t our country do better?
Peace and good tidings be with you this holiday season.