"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."
-- Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796
My brother, my most trusted advisor. I asked for his response to Sandy Hook. He replied, "whats a response gonna do?" I pressed him further for a reaction. He shook his head sadly, sat down and promptly started cleaning his gun. As southerners, we'd most likely give up our guns as soon as we'd stop eating grits.
Is Sandy Hook an argument for why we need second amendment rights, or a clarion call for massive reform? America is outraged, dismayed. At a complete f*ng loss for words. There is a reason this has impacted all of us. Who shoots a kid? We can't answer that yet. Adam Lanza is now a notorious death legend of mythic proportions in the right of a Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold. Killers we could not even imagine in the nether realms of our minds until they came true. Authorities say it will take months to complete an investigation.
Comforter-In-Chief, President Barack Obama, took the stage in Newtown, Connecticut Sunday, giving the most personal speech of his presidency as he addressed the grieving families and neighbors of those slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Speaking from notes on a podium at Newtown High School, the packed auditorium was solemn and silent, minus the soft cries of those in the audience and a brief moment of levity when the president recognized one of the more fearless students, who offered to lead the way using his karate knowledge. This dismal tragedy marks the fourth time during President Obama's time in he and the nation have rallied around a community brought to its knees by gun violence. Now what? What will change after this most recent mass killing, unquestionably one that will go down as one of the worst school shootings in history.
After all, we must prevent this type of violence from happening again. Author John Meacham described Sandy Hook as an absolute "massacre of innocence." And along with those precious children and their teachers has died our innocence, our sense of safety and also the notion it makes sense for everyday Americans to have access to assault style weapons.
Adam Lanza, dead after committing matricide has had not one single classmate, colleague or friend, come forth and tell us the person they knew. How it all went wrong, why they didn't intervene sooner. Don't we need to know, how do you raise a killer? Or how not to raise one? His father no doubt distraught by his son's actions and requiring his own sense of privacy, likely holds answers, giving us something to learn from this clearly dysfunctional individual. Something we can learn about how not to just prevent mass killings in our neighborhoods, but raise better more adjusted children and create communities accepting of all. Children able to navigate 21st century society for better or for worse but without killing members of the community that raised them.
Republicans have been mum on what Sandy Hook means for gun laws, who can get access to them, what kind and how.
However, the base of the right-wing is having a grand old confetti party -- after all, they were right, Obama has finally come to take away everybody's guns. But if he does I say so what? The President asked the question and I dare you to consider it. Is the price we want to pay for our freedom, our children? Many pundits and journalists have asked, and so will I, is this society, where 20 children can be slaughtered, a good society?
This issue is going to tug directly at the seams of the GOP, possibly splitting in it in two. The American people want action. They are not going to allow congress, the president or any other elected official to move indecisively on this issue. Again, what happens now? How long will the outrage sustain the campaign for change? How long will we stand around wondering what to do? Perhaps we should relish that feeling, the calm before the storm as legislative battles of epic proportions will be waged if legit gun reform is in our future. Once congressional members move to reform gun laws on behalf of the public good.
Where do we start? Mental health? Violent American media culture? Did you watch Jerry Springer after school everyday when you were a kid? I did. Had to see those fights.
Is a class clash rooted in 2nd amendment rights between urban and suburban/rural dwellers a brewing? It's difficult to imagine the NRA and the GOP wholeheartedly getting behind a bi-partisan bill aimed at reducing gun violence in America with relatively little fuss. Once the first shot is fired, the based will be riled up and this will be debt ceiling + fiscal cliff + Obamacare debacles all rolled up into one extremely divisive legislative battle that will no doubt spill into the streets, news and social media.
As we continue the eventual roll off that fiscal cliff due to congressional grandstanding and gridlock, it feels ludicrous to think Congress will be willing to come together and get this right. But for the sake of the 26 victims who lost their lives last Friday. I hope they do. I hope we all do. The time for change has most certainly come.