WASHINGTON, December 21, 2012 – In many ways it does feel like the “end of the world.”
It has been one week since the shooter opened fire and as the victims continue to be buried, yet another heartbreaking story emerges.
Ann Marie Murphy, a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher was killed Friday morning. Yesterday, her student, six year old Dylan Hockley was buried by his family as was Ms. Murphey.
Dylan, who had some learning disabilities, died in Ms. Murphy’s arms, found dead, together, following a madman’s rage.
“We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerablemembers of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!”
We has watched the burials of so many, each dying at the hands of madmen armed with a rapid firing assault rifle filled with efficient missles of destruction that tore through young, and not so young, bodies.
And nothing could stop those bullets, or could there be a deterring response, an armed response, as the NRA proposes?
As tragic as Newtown is, those children are among many. Communities writer Eric Golub writes:
“Yet right now schoolkids everywhere are dying every day and every hour from guns, drugs, indifference and bullies. The media are foremost among the indifferent. The slow, silent death of our youth is more destructive than quick ones, but not dramatic, not very interesting.”
The NRA’s response from Washington, D.C. this morning adds their voice to the “national discussion” that goes from totally removing our Constitutional 2nd Amendment Rights to arming school teachers so that they can “stop” a madman before everyone is killed.
The group College Presidents for Gun Safety has released a letter, attached in its entirety, calling for:
• Ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms
• Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check
• Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines
• Requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the national Rifle Association, speaks live from Washington, DC today saying “We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers. Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it.”
LaPierre holds the media, entertainment, and society in general responsible for the tragedies at Sandy Hook, and before it Virginia Tech, to name just two national heartbreaks.
Again, hard to argue when removing our moral compass, the concepts of good, of God, from our from our schools, from our public buildings, from our daily lives has increased to the point that a store clerk is counseled to not wish a shopper “Merry Christmas” instead offering a more generic “Happy Holidays.” As though Christmas is a dirty word.
The message from LaPierre is that it is not JUST the NRA’s fault, or the fault of gun owners, but that a national failing, both physical and moral, leading to these tragedies.
Again, hard to argue his comments in speaking out against the violent video games that permeate our youth entertainment, including Kindergarten Killers a game that has been online for ten years.
LaPierre asks why his staff could find this, with the unspoken question of why it has been there in the first place, hanging in the air.
“And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people,” LaPierre says “Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?”
“Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.” But is that what it really is?”
“Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
Pundits and politically charged people like to talk about the NRA and its money fueled hold inside the beltway. They complain about the vast amount of money this group has as though its members, both corporate and private, are in some way morally deficit in their prosperity.
Regardless of where you stand, one must recognize that the NRA is not going away, but today they are stepping up willing to fund, with some of their deep-pocket money, the National School Shield Program headed up by Asa Hutchinson.
“Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and running from the first day forward.”
An anti - NRA protesters hold signs stating NRA Killing Our Kids, yelling that the “NRA is the true perpatrator of the crimes in our street…” is taken from the room. To these persons, and person like them, the NRA response is that we need to protect our children, as we protect our president, celebrities and sport stadiums.
“How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave — while provoking others to try to make their mark?”
LaPierre points out that we, as parents, educators and leaders need to be invested in the safety of our most “precious” resource, our children. A position, again, difficult to argue.
“Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now,” LaPierre says “And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.
Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today.”
It is time for America to grow up. To smell the proverbial roses, particularly when the thorns are dripping with the blood of our children.
When one travels to Central America, The Middle East, even on a recent trip to the tourist filled Eiffel Tower in France, the presence of armed guards is common. Reassuring. These countries have grown up to recognize that, as LaPierre says, the only way to combat a “bad” guy with a gun is to have a “good” guy with a gun.
“The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it\,” LaPierre says. “From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields”
The emotionally charged response to Sandy Hook shines a bright light on what should be a national outrage. And as people, we are quick to find the easiest target to blame. And it is difficult to agree that assault weapons should be so easily in the hands of “people” in general and madmen in particular.
But if we grow up, we know that guns, even “guns of war” are deeply embedded in our national id and that is not going to easily change regardless of bans, and law, and prosecutions.
And maybe we need to adopt a more “world view,” one that our present political temperature, fuled by liberally identified citizenry seem to be adopting, and recognize as they do beneath the Eiffel Tower, or at schools around the world, that evil exists and put in place the same secruity precautions for our children and people, that our President and celebrities enjoy.
Personally, I would like to see the guns, the violence, the hate and the mayhem, be it in our schools, our video games and music, or just what we encounter on the streets of our cities, like Chicago, go away. I do believe we need tighter gun control laws, from background checks to the personal responsibilities of gun owners.
I am also an adult and know that won’t be happening anytime soon. And yes, dear Mayans, our world has ended. At least as we know it. Not today, but this last week, and our thornless rosy view that guns must be outlawed has come to pass.
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