In the space between sleep and waking, I look out the window in the wee hours of the morning of Dec 15. There is to be a meteor shower and I look skyward expectantly.
The words of one of my favorite Dylan songs pops into my head," I seen a shooting star tonight, and I thought of you." And then the crushing remembrance of those lost children of Sandy Hook, whose lives were so bright and brief, flashes in my consciousness. Their trajectory is all wrong. Why are they drifting upward and away instead of streaking into their classrooms full of life?
I am fully awake now. A rational brain tempered by grief takes over.
If insanity is defined by repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting a different outcome, then our nation's conversation about gun control and mass killings is insane. The repeated hand-wringing, figure-pointing, fist-clenching, hands-are-tied postures haven't saved our most precious ones. Many folks are afraid of losing their freedom, their right to bear arms. We now know that there are greater terrors to fear, greater freedoms to lose. The current interpretations of the right to bear arms has not protected the ones we are most responsible to protect. In fact, current policies have led to a proliferation of ever more deadly guns and the shedding of more innocent blood.
Sometimes we need to take action, not because we know the full outcome or have it all perfectly figured out. If we can't find a national gun policy that suits everyone (and we won't) we can begin in our communities, cities, states and regions to try SOMETHING either to do with gun regulation or addressing the real needs of individuals and families facing the stresses of daily life and mental illness. (See this moving article).
If we make a mistake, we are at least trying and learning new lessons. If we find something doesn't work, we make a course correction. I don't have all the answers, just one. Each of us needs to take responsibility for doing something. I know I will. Only our collective actions and voices can be louder than the shots of gunfire in a school hallway.
For some legislative ideas that have worked in other countries see today's column by Nicholas Kristof.
I know we can all do something to make this a safer place for the bright lights who are our children. Now. May those we lost, their families and this grieving nation find peace and may our individual and collective actions stop this from ever, ever happening again.