Something I heard this week really stuck with me and I can’t seem to get past it. It was after President Obama made his first (and great) reaction speech to Newtown. He mentioned children who are killed on street corners in Chicago. A commentator pointed out that we don’t care about those deaths like we care about the kids in Newtown.
Of course we care. We are human and we weep for all mothers. Every time I read the paper I weep, usually more than once. (My kids think I’m insane.) I cry for husbands who lose wives and people who die in plane crashes, and simply turn away from bombings because I can’t face the death toll.
It is true that streetcorner deaths do not have a big enough impact to make political change. As humans we are also capable of accepting a small-scale tragedy here and there because that’s life. As Eckhart Tolle said, “the human race has killed over 100 million members of their own species in the twentieth century alone.”
This is just very different. In the past school shootings were carried out by students with a grudge, someone with at least a small connection to the place. Now on top of all the other worries a parent has, it feels like our kids can be the target of any maniac with a stockpile of weapons. For no apparent reason.
The debate over mental health care will go on and It’s the first program sliced when the cuts come around. The elderly, disabled, women and children are always the first to go. Of course it needs to be improved, of course I’ve seen those programs shrink and disappear in the short decade I’ve been working with the state. Of course we all need mental health care just as we need physicals.
But people who snap can’t take out whole rooms full of other people with anything but a semi-automatic weapon.
One of the age-old arguments against gun control is the standard line: only the bad guys will have guns. I wonder, how many of us have seen a bad guy with a gun? Have you ever had to fight one off? Are there roving bands of bad guys with guns, and would I ever own one to protect myself against them? The long line of gun owners who do favor regulation is enough to put that argument to rest.
My husband and I were discussing the Second Amendment and taking up arms against the government – in today’s world we simply couldn’t. As he pointed out, if you started a fight they would just send a drone to flatten your house.
I don’t even want to hear what the NRA has to say today. I want them to quietly change every stance they’ve taken on this issue. And there’s no way, with five kids and Christmas crafts to be wrapped and one having a birthday, that I will be able to observe the moment of silence at 9:30. But I’ve had one every day since last week – several times. Lots of prayers, tears, and just wondering why. We do care. Something’s gotta give.