More than a dozen children went to elementary school this morning and were dead before lunch.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says today is not the day to talk about gun control.
I disagree. That's all we should talk about today.
We are heartbroken, yes. But saying that will fix nothing. It won't bring anyone back, and it won't keep this from happening again. And of course we know the parents of Newtown could have been any one of us. That's important to remember, but it isn't enough, because the knowing doesn't change the fact that we could still be next.
So we can't just do as we did after Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Aurora. We can't just grieve and hold our children close. We have to demand that our country earn the right to call itself a civilized nation. We need to do this because our central job as parents -- maybe our only job, really -- is to keep our children safe so they can grow up. Easy access to guns keeps us from doing that job.
A study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery found that the gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined. Every one of those nations has stricter gun control laws.
And then there's this fact: add together all the gun deaths in the 23 wealthiest countries in the world and 80 percent of those are American deaths. Of all the children killed by guns in those nations, 87 percent are American kids.
Please don't tell me that if only the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School were also armed that this would have ended well. It might have ended differently, but concealed weapons in the teachers lounge is not the way we want to raise our kids.
Jose Luis Nunez had a handgun in order to protect his son. The 4-year-old accidentally shot himself in the face with it in Houston on Tuesday. Joseph V. Loughrey had one for the same reason. His 7-year-old son Craig died on Saturday outside of Pittsburgh when that handgun accidentally went off while the boy was getting into his safety seat in front of a gun store.
And that was just this week. The same week that the NRA proudly tweeted it had reached 1.7 million "likes" on Facebook.
We cherish individuality in America. We see raising children as no one else's business, and we have never managed to band together as a "parenting" bloc. It is time. Guns are a parenting issue and we need to control them in the name of the children who died this morning. Even more, we need to do it in the name of their mothers and fathers.
So cry today. Comfort your kids. Curse, and pray. Then pick up the phone, a pen, a keyboard, or your checkbook and make your demands heard. All day and every day. But most especially today.
This appears in Issue 28 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, Dec. 21.
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