Twenty dead children have to matter

Marsha Sutton
Marsha Sutton

By Marsha Sutton

Yet again.

Was there anyone who did not walk around in a daze last Friday, thinking about the children in their lives and how to protect them forever from random acts of incomprehensible violence?The anguish of the parents of those 20 innocent 6- and 7-year-old children gunned down in Connecticut is unimaginable.

And yet we imagine … and what we come up with is emptiness, anger, despair, hopelessness, loneliness and fear. And still all that is not enough, not nearly enough, to fully understand the pain.

Trying to maintain equilibrium while finishing errands Friday, glued to the radio for more news, I tore myself away and wandered into the Carmel Valley Library to return a book. Meeting the eyes of other adults, some clinging tightly to their children, there were no smiles or pleasant greetings. Words were not necessary to communicate the shared horror.

We have turned this country into a madhouse with deranged, and armed, inmates loose upon society. I’m certain the founders of this country did not foresee this possibility when they wrote the Second Amendment.

More than 11,000 homicides by firearms were recorded in this country last year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Division of Vital Statistics. And since the Columbine killings in 1999, we have suffered through more than 30 mass murders, many at schools.

The words – “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” – must have sounded good at the time, a time when America’s founders understood how fragile their new democratic government was and how easily liberty and freedom can be stolen by tyranny, given the pages of history.

Protecting the people from autocratic dictators, both externally and from within, by allowing citizens to be armed, was right then. But what a monster we have created.

Why do people need assault weapons? Are people so paranoid and insecure that they feel the need to “protect” themselves with weapons that turn living tissue into mincemeat in seconds?

Some of these children had up to 11 bullets in them. Eleven! How many bullets does it take to kill a defenseless 6-year-old?

There are those who now argue that the crazy people have easy access to guns so the sane people need more guns to protect themselves. A “vicious cycle” doesn’t begin to describe the insanity of this line of reasoning.

Yes, there will always be the unhinged who find ways to get guns even with stricter controls. But we cannot allow ourselves to become paralyzed into inaction just because we can’t control every violent act. At least we could stop some.

Nothing will change unless the gun zealots back off the warped mentality of the “from my cold, dead hands” Charlton Heston sloganeering and wake up to the reality their intransigence has helped to create. Catchy slogans – “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” and “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” – trivialize and demean the seriousness of the problem we must confront as a nation in mourning.

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