I was thinking of writing about wish books and Christmases past. I thought about sharing tales of my latest dog misadventures. I even had my list ready of things I don’t want this Christmas.
But all I can think about is Newtown, Conn. Anything else I could write about seems trivial at this time. How could I dare complain about the holiday traffic when Christmas for at least 26 families in Connecticut will never be the same again?
The news about the horrific Friday morning shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School continues 24-hours-a-day on the news channels. I’m not really sure what I can write about it that hasn’t already been written. I’m trying to be positive when all I can think is that we have a lot of evil people in this country.
In recent months, we’ve had shootings at shopping malls, movie theaters, temples, work places, churches and schools. Does anybody have an answer to this madness?
The things I read today on social media give me little comfort. Somebody suggested arming all the teachers. What? Can you imagine the poor school children caught in a crossfire between crazed gunmen and well-meaning, but untrained educators?
A few years ago, I missed being caught in a shopping mall shooting by about 10 minutes. Fortunately, the gunman was the only person who suffered serious injuries, but there were a few stray bullets flying around.
Back then, some people suggested that we needed more armed citizens. Can you imagine a mall shooting, with a bunch of Wyatt Earps running around, waving their six shooters in the air? A law enforcement officer coming to the scene would never be able to find the bad guys from the well-meaning civilian commandoes. Armed, untrained do-gooders scare me more than crazed gunmen.
Like President Obama said Friday, it’s time we put politics aside and figure out what’s causing all these shootings.
Don’t give me that tired old cliche, “It’s not guns that kill people. It’s people.” Those crazies who invade our schools with killing on their minds don’t go in carrying baseball bats or switchblades. They have guns.
Out of all the garbage on my Facebook today, I did see one interesting post. It showed how many people were killed last year in various countries by handguns. There were only 8 in England, 52 in Canada and 48 in Japan, and 10,728 in the United States. If those numbers are right, there’s something terribly wrong in American society. I understand the killings at Sandy Hook were done with an assault rifle, as most of the mass shootings have been.
But the largest numbers of deaths in our country occur in numbers of one and two, on street corners and in houses, every day of the year.
I’m not sure what can be done, but it would seem, looking at the numbers, that Canada and England are doing something better than we are. They have their killings and even mass shootings, but nothing like we have here.
I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s time we started looking for it. Maybe there are lots of things that need to be done. Maybe our mental health system needs updating. And I’m not suggesting we do away with the Second Amendment or take guns away from lawful sportsmen. But we need to move in the right direction. We don’t need anymore Newtowns or Auroras.
Jones is a Carrollton resident and reporter for the Times-Georgian.