We have to do something…

newtown-shooting-victims

Now that a few days have passed and we have moved from the initial horror of the tragedy in Connecticut, the responses have become what one could have almost predicted. Polarized…different groups asserting their rights and blaming other groups…wringing of hands…

But isn’t there more we can do? more we must do?

I believe there is. But it’s going to require all of us to let go of our sacred cows, to be willing to work together…to realize that what we are currently doing as a nation isn’t working…and to do it before we have yet another mass shooting.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” True. But easy access to some kinds of guns (i.e., assault rifles and huge clips of ammunition) make it easier for people to do the killing. I do not have a problem with people owning guns for hunting–or even for protection (although I don’t want a gun in my home). However, who needs an assault rifle for self protection? Those guns are designed for one purpose–to kill as many as quickly as possible. There may be a place for them in war, but not in our homes.

“Nobody’s going to take away my Second Amendment rights!” I am a firm supporter of the Constitution. However, it seems to me that the way we are currently functioning in regard to guns does not ensure our security, but rather makes it less secure. See my thoughts above about gun ownership…

“If you take away my guns, then only criminals will have guns.” Again, see my statements above about gun ownership. And yes, I realize that criminals seem to always be able to find a way to get the weapons they desire. But do we have to make it so easy?

“He was mentally ill.” Possibly–but as a nation we have slashed our spending on care for the mentally ill and made it difficult for them (or their families) to find help. I understand that we cannot always determine if or when someone is going to snap, but surely providing more options (rather than homelessness or incarceration) would make it possible for individuals and their families to get some of the help they need. And it’s important to realize that mental illness does not necessarily equate with violence!

Twenty families are going to be without their little ones this Christmas. More families will be without mothers/sisters/aunts/grandmothers.

Will this be the time that we will work to come together to protect individuals’ rights to gun ownership while at the same time figuring out what we can do to make our society safer? Or will it take another shooting…and another…?

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