I just got a note from the National PTA. They have issued statements supporting the families at Sandy Hook school. They will be issuing a longer statement in the coming days about gun violence and school safety. I hope that this statement will include some real calls for a renewed assault weapons ban and a return to commonsense laws about guns in public spaces. Anything less after this tragedy is just more blah, blah, and insults everyone who reads or hears the words. There is some hope finally, that the long silence on this issue will be broken. Several pro-gun Democrats (John Warner and Joe Manchin) are risking their NRA A-ranking to support gun control and even some Republicans are being forced to say what everyone knows: guns kill dads, moms,sisters, brothers, and even little 5 and 6 year old kids.
Some will say that this is a mental health issue. That is true. There is no other excuse than pure evil to do what Adam Lanza did. But it’s mostly an issue of access. Access to guns. An insane person with a knife might kill one person. An insane person with three automatic weapons can kill 20-40 in a short period of time.
Domestic gun violence is a larger threat than terrorism. Guns killed 31,000 Americans in 2010 in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. If Muslim extremists were doing this, we would start wars and spend billions on security systems as we did in the wake of 9/11. But our response to gun violence is to weaken our gun laws, and to promote their presence in more public spaces including churches, hospitals, bars, and even in schools.
Let us hope that our politicians will be forced to gain the courage they have lacked for so many years on this issue. The NRA is not as strong as the PTA. It is not as strong as the AARP. It is not as strong as all the moms and dads who gulped back a tear thinking about what might have happened if Sandy Hook had been their school. While some of us would like to see a wider ban of guns, we don’t even have to ban all guns to make an event like Sandy Hook dramatically less inevitable. If we don’t take action now, the blood of the children at the next school (and the next and the next) is on all of our hands.
Please voice your support of a strong national gun policy to whatever organizations you belong to, including the PTA. As Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) did in the ’80s, we can do today to restore some sanity to our daily lives.