I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the NRA. For years, countless citizens have been working to turn the tide on gun violence to no avail. In a matter of minutes, one man, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's CEO, managed to tip the scale. This was not the direction, however, in which he meant it to tip. La Pierre laid out an argument and rationalization that judging from the reaction I've seen thus far, much of the world believes would spell disaster.
A man in our town, a teacher and a hunter who owns rifles and has been a member of the NRA for almost 40 years, had this to say following La Pierre's press conference: "I am calling the NRA right now and canceling my membership permanently. They no longer speak for me."
Wayne LaPierre must not know many parents who have children who play violent video games, me included. While many of us have certainly have had our issues with the games, we ultimately made a conscious decision to occasionally allow them; the reasons why are diverse and often well thought out.
My 13-year-old son has shed many tears over this tragedy. His 15-year-old brother has repeatedly come to me to talk through his confusing feelings. He says that while he hasn't made the decision to get rid of his games as a number of other children have, he feels less compelled to play them now. When and if I see my children's actions, compassion and soul take a turn for the worse, I'll reconsider this issue. For now, I'm not worried. Most parents know from our experience and our gut that it's not the games that direct our children's conscience.
In regard to arming teachers, I was asked to comment on this recommendation for our local paper. I told them and I'll reiterate here that I believe the response we will hear from parents around the globe will offer better commentary than I ever could.
As we enter into this holiday season and 2013, I wish to move forward with empathy, with kindheartedness and with peace. It appears that the seeds needed to make this a reality may just have been planted by Mr. LaPierre.