Reflections in the aftermath of the Newton, CT shootings.

I wanted my next few posts to be about non-legal proceeding, non-divorce related, non-sad stuff.  I wanted them to be somewhat light-hearted:  an analysis of 99 women of 2013; a review of  “the hobbit” and others, but then a horrific tragedy took place yesterday in a town I had never heard of…

It's so much simpler in comic books.
It’s so much simpler in comic books.

I suppose as an educator and a parent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about my feelings on the events of yesterday in Newtown, CT.  For the record, I do support the second amendment AND stricter gun-control laws, but that’s really not the point here. Well, maybe it is.

Personally, I hate guns.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read too many Batman comics. Maybe it’s because one of my parents is a former police officer.  Maybe it’s because my other parent was involved in a lock down-type situation a teenage neighbor ultimately took his own life. This is not a judgment made out of ignorance or fear.  I’ve fired handguns, rifles and shotguns in the past.  Knowledge of how they work, caring for them and the prospect of owning one legally does not put me at any more ease with them.

I’ve never felt the need or desire to own a gun.  I’ve lived in relatively safe, suburban areas my entire life.  However, I have also at times lived in areas where gangs and arson were prevalent and it was not unusual to see and/or hear gunfire and shootings.  I worked, gone to school and spent a good portion of my leisure time in some of the rougher areas of  one of america’s most violent cities – Detroit.   In spite of all of this, I have no intention of ever owning a firearm.  Perhaps it is my own naivete.  I think sometimes as a white male in America, I do feel inherently safer than women or people of ethnic minorities may generally feel.  Of course, all I’ve ever been is a white male, so it’s not as if I have any real frame of reference to make such an assessment.

The truth is, guns kill people.  In the least, they make it VERY easy for people to kill people. A death or injury by gunfire is more likely occur in a home that owns a gun than in a home that does not; that’s just common sense.  The thoughts of someone getting injured as a result of a gun accident, or someone stealing a gun from my home only detract me from purchasing a gun even more.

Gun advocates inevitably will cite the 2nd amendment‘s right to bear arms.  While I do support this right, I truly question it’s relevance in 21st century America.  In the Founding Fathers‘ time, it made sense – allow the people to be armed in the event that the government breaks down and/or becomes a dictatorship.  Today, however, I think it would be virtually impossible for the citizens of this country to overthrow the government in the event of such a catastrophe. Furthermore, the actual wording of the 2nd amendment is, at best, vague and open to interpretation.  “A well regulated militia…” could be construed to me something as simple of your state’s chapter of  National Guard.  Finally, the Founding Fathers lived in an era of muskets and cannons.  They did not and could have imagined a world  of armor-piercing bullets and assault rifles.

There are no simple answers to this ongoing debate.  If there was a quick-fix, i’m sure people on both sides of the political spectrum would rally behind it. The events of 12/14/12 will for many of us, only serve as more fuel for the ongoing debate.  To be honest, I don’t think that politicians on either side of the aisle are willing to take the drastic steps necessary to either weaken OR strengthen gun-control laws.  Sadly, I think we will continue to live as we always do – as a society on the brink.

As a person who has  virtually no connection to the tragedy of Newtown, CT, the most difficult part of yesterday was not being able to see my son.  I would have loved the chance to hug him and look him in the face as I told him that I love him.  But I was able to speak to him – via telephone, and tell him that I love him;  and remind him that I will be seeing him when I pick him up at the airport on Friday.  And that Santa will be coming to see him both in Michigan and in South Carolina.  That is a hell of a lot more than the families who lost their loved ones yesterday can now say.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Damn.  I just made myself cry.  Well, maybe it wasn’t my writing…

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