The evil that visited Newtown, Conn. last Friday is so unspeakable, I really can’t find the words to express how I feel about it.
Like many Americans, and people around the world, I am stuck on that one simple question, “why?”
It seems like only days ago I wrote to you about how violence, with guns or otherwise, was a rot on this nation’s spirit, a cancer eating away at our collective conscience. That was after a young man, who seemingly had a lot going for him, or could have, decided to shoot up a movie theater audience in Aurora, Colo. this summer. That horrific crime reminded all of us of Virginia Tech, the deadliest school shooting in American history, which at the time, of course, reminded us of Columbine, eight years earlier.
And now this.
The stain of this act will be a blemish on this country’s soul for a lot longer than my generation will be around, and probably for longer than the next few generations. You don’t wash away the blood or the memory of 20 slain first graders very easily or very quickly. Unthinkable.
And unlike after what happened in Aurora, this time I do blame guns. Or at least, I blame the ease with which we allow idiots to purchase and carry guns, the only purpose for which is to kill people. Throw around the Second Amendment all you want, but the founding fathers had no idea citizens would be carrying around assault weapons with 30-round clips. Gun nuts will tell you that’s not the half of it. A Bushmaster with 30 rounds is child’s play to what is commonly traded among enthusiasts these days.
Among responsible gun lovers, that’s fine. Buy your hand cannons and your AR-15s. But so many gun owners careen through life on the edge of stability, that it’s high time we as a nation have a serious talk about restricting some people’s ability to purchase certain firearms.
I recently described to a local hunter how I would go about good gun control. It would be federal, across the board in every state.
First, I’d make gun purchases not only require registering the gun, but also require a license, which would in itself require specific instruction from an authorized firearms instructor — the cost of which would be included in fees attached to gun and ammunition prices. I would make it a requirement that you update that license every few years or relinquish it and the privilege of owning the gun it’s tied to. Commit a violent crime of any sort, misdemeanor or otherwise and you lose the gun privilege forever.
Want that double-barreled shotgun? Well, take a background check, sign up for the double-barreled shotgun class and go at it the instructors would hopefully weed out the idiots . When you pass it, you can purchase your firearm, register it and be on your merry way.
Same with every other type of gun — except assault rifles.
Assault rifles are special guns, generally only available to police and military — except in bloodthirsty America, where the National Rifle Association owns half of Congress and the entire Republican Party, and thus you can go buy a “kindergartener killer” at any freaking Walmart you wish.
Back to my plan. Assault rifles would require not just your regular, renewable gun license which you’d have to have first , but would require a special license and special instruction, sort of like being licensed by the DMV to drive a big rig, but more strenuous. And if you’re caught in possession of such a weapon without a license, including ammunition for it, there would be stiff criminal penalties.
Restricting personal liberties is awful, I know. But so are dead first graders.
Education, registration, licensing and harsh criminal penalties for gun crimes will save lives. Just like the DMV has kept some people off the roads who have no business being there, I think serious federal restrictions of the type I just described are very much in order. My hunter buddy says I just described Canada. How many Canadian first graders were shot and killed on Friday?
Still, me and you both know no amount of restriction in the world will save every life. Bob Costas was wrong the other night on Monday night football. Had Javon Belcher, the Kansas City Chief who shot himself in front of his coaches, not had a gun, he would’ve simply strangled Kasandra Perkins. Or stabbed her. Or run her over with his car. Or drowned her. Or set her on fire.
People kill. And in bloodthirsty America, the slaughter continues every day and will until we evolve as a species if we survive . But, smart gun control and a little more intelligence how does a mother take her mentally ill son to a gun range I’ll never understand , and maybe we can keep all of our first graders alive for Christmas.
Light a candle Tuesday night for the angels: Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, Ana Marquez-Greene, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace Audrey McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, and Allison Wyatt, 6.
On Wednesday, fire off an angry letter to your congressman. Demand real gun control now. Our children deserve nothing less.