Condolences, grief, prayers are pouring in from around the world for the people who were killed in the Newtown school massacre. Twenty small children. Put on the bus, or walked to school that morning, by parents, by sisters and brothers, with friends. This is a trauma that will never heal. Across the country, many states away, where there was no danger at all, mothers and fathers, stricken with anxiety, raced to schools to pick up their children early. But of course, there was no danger at all on Friday morning either.
Until there was a bloodbath.
Shock, sorrow and anger are appropriate responses to this tragedy, anger that we are so awash in readily available weaponry. There are times when anger joins grief, and the combustion can be -- and should be -- constructive.
Why are our corporate executives better protected in their office buildings -- from shareholder wrath or deranged psychopaths -- than our children are in their school buildings?
What kind of bloodlusting -- or paranoid -- nation do we live in, that we are awash in semiautomatic weaponry, at home, because we feel we need it?
Why is the law-abiding, peace-loving majority cowed, over and over again, by the rants (and dollars) of the extremists among us? Why are we not pushing through an agenda that protects our children's future on every issue?
Why isn't the safety of our children -- whether breathing polluted air, taking toxic chemicals into their bodies from food and toys, being exposed to numbing hours of television and video violence, inheriting a planetary climate system that will be enormously dangerous -- why isn't the safety of our children our first priority as a nation?
We will endure many months, now, of debate about guns, and debate about the mentally ill, and debate about the lethal combination of the two. The answer cannot be what gun activists are pouring forth online: Arm the kindergarten teachers. And then what? Train them in moving target practice? Screen and hire teachers who have the temperament to shoot a child -- even in self-defense?
The answer is gun control that keeps semiautomatic weapons out of the hands of regular citizens. Out of our children's homes. We have an army. We do not need the private arsenals we once did, when the Constitution was written, for a citizen militia.
Are we not the country we pride ourselves in being -- a country of decency, respect, 'cherishment' for the more vulnerable?
Moms Clean Air Force is organized around fighting air pollution to protect our children. We are brokenhearted, and join the millions around the world in saying: We have failed our children. But we will keep working to make our world a better, safer place -- for all of us.