Everything changed on Friday. We didn’t want it to, didn’t plan for it, ask for it, or welcome it. And yes, this wasn’t the first tragic shooting of random Americans. We’ve already seen shootings at a high school, mall, a college campus, and movie theatre. They were all tragic. This was different because they were kids.
Little kids. Twenty of them. Missing teeth. Carrying around Magic Markers. Wearing a dress that was supposed to be a Christmas present, but was sooooooo exciting it had to be worn sooner. Playing baseball in the front yard with Dad. Worshipping Victor Cruz. We need to remember all this and more about them because they were kids.
This guy, mentally troubled, of course, with access to guns, of course, went out of his way to kill these kids and their teachers and their administrators. After he had already killed his mother.That was not enough for whatever was inside him. He loaded up his now dead mother’s car with guns and several 30-bullet clips, and drove to the school, but found it locked. That wasn’t enough to dissuade him, give him a moment of clarity. Instead he shot his way in. Shot the principal and school psychologist, and then walked to specific classrooms and shot six and seven year olds. Shot them as many as eleven times. is there anyone in America who can justify a six-year-old being riddled with eleven bullets? The administrators and teachers are a horrible loss, tragedies each, but this becomes different, this changes all of us, because they were kids.
Some in America do not want to talk about this, hiding behind “a call for waiting until people have had time to mourn.” We’ve already mourned – after the mall, and the college, and the movie theatre. Some say we cannot discuss it as a gun problem because of the second amendment. The Founding Fathers didn’t write the second amendment to protect mentally troubled isolated white males wanting to make a statement by shooting up malls and colleges and movie theaters and elementary schools. These guys are violating the spirit of the second amendment, not upholding it, so, yes, we can discuss the function of the second amendment, because they were kids.
Others in America want to point to Hollywood and video games and our violent culture. Fine, let’s study it all and make some changes that serve the second amendment and the first amendment to better serve the spirit the Founding Fathers intended. Let’s strip away all the methods used to twist those amendments and mutate them in the name of profits, because they were kids.
And then there is the mental health issue. There can be no denying that we are not doing enough. Just look at the shooters. They look like Batman’s rogues gallery. Case closed. There has to be ways we as a national community can do more to de-stigmatize getting mental health help, embracing services available. There has to be a way for us to be more vigilant regarding these people’s needs. If we see something is off we have to say something is off, because this time they were kids.
Some say we won’t get anywhere with the NRA and gun lobby. We have to convince them we aren’t against their existence, we just need their help. Perhaps making it profitable for them to work with us is the answer. Maybe some kind of tax incentive can be fashioned when gun sellers and shooting range owners, etc., can write off the loss of sale for every customer that doesn’t pass some agreed upon background check. Pie in the sky? Maybe. But we have to make the effort, we have to fundamentally change our culture to better support the true spirit of the Founding Fathers’ intent. And we have to do it now because this time it was kids.