I think there’s a moment in grieving when action and solutions become our focus. We want to honor the dead but also prevent the same tragedies from occurring again. Seeing twenty children and their teachers killed, I ask why. It’s a complicated answer. The federal assault weapons ban would have covered the gun used. A better mental health system would have been more effective in reaching out to the severely troubled killer. These are two problems. The how is fixing them.
Do we reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and cut back on extended magazines? It would not stop a determined individual but it would lessen their capacity to inflict harm. This tragedy made me see the value of this argument. Children cannot own guns to protect themselves from other guns. Short of giving them pistols, we have to ensure their safety. We do this by vigilance, security and laws. If you see a troubled individual, reach out and help them get the care they need. But, also keep an eye out. People do not always seek help - they may be afraid or simply do not care. Laws as well must be a factor; giving potentially unstable people access to ammunition and assault weapons with extended magazines needs curtailed by better background checks. Also, restrictions are important. People have a right to defend themselves, hunt and use guns for sport, but the power of the weapons legal today are far beyond that. We need common sense and responsible people. Guns are dangerous and perhaps should be more thoroughly licensed. I cannot drive a car without passing a test and continuing to submit to eye exams and photo IDs; why should I have access to another dangerous machine more easily? Liability insurance as well could play an important role. If you own a gun, damage inflicted will be paid for through your monthly premium.
I also fear what we might become defending the right to own assault weapons. Do we make schools into fortresses with armed guards and metal detectors? Is the right worth the lives of so many children and adults? People can easily defend themselves with less powerful guns. And children may be spared the harsh realities they must grow into.
These are merely thoughts. I do not intend to use this horrible tragedy for political gain. I only want to never see it happen it again. Grieving for me is finding answers. Parents should never be told their children were murdered in a senseless act of violence we could have prevented. They should never be told at all, for that matter.