Is it safe anywhere anymore?Published 9:25am Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Friday’s horrific news out ofNewtown,Connecticutwas heartbreaking. Twenty innocent children were perhaps counting down the days before Santa’s annual visit.
Meanwhile, six of their adult leaders saw Friday as the end of another workweek, one spent sharing their educational and administrative knowledge with those that shared space with them insideSandy HookElementary School.
I’ve read the stories online; I’ve seen the TV news documenting this senseless tragedy……the only void that’s left to satisfy my mind is why did this have to happen and what can be done to prevent such violent acts from reoccurring?
Law enforcement officials inConnecticutmay be able to put together the pieces to answer my first question. They’ve recovered two computers found in the shooter’s home he shared with his mother (who he also shot and killed before directing his anger elsewhere). They’ve also subpoenaed the e-mail and text carriers for the assailant and his mother in an effort to see if there was any premeditation that led to the second deadliest school shooting inU.S.history.
However, the biggest question to answer is how do we, as a basically peace-loving society, go about ensuring that no other person – sane or otherwise – has the opportunity to inflict such brutal carnage again.
This is not the first time we’ve had to deal with the aftermath of a purported deranged gunman or gunmen.
Just a few months ago, James Eagan Holmes opened fire inside a crowded movie theatre inAurora,Colorado, killing a dozen people.
Does anyone remember the name Nidal Malik Hasan? He killed 13 of his military brethren atFort Hood,Texasback in 2009, the same year that Jiverly Wong murdered an equal number of victims during a shooting rampage at an immigration center inBinghampton,NY.
All of this should still be fresh on our minds….just as the April, 2007 shooting by Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech University where 32 died or the loss of 13 lives at Columbine High School in 1999 where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, both seniors at the school, opened fire on their classmates.
Counting Friday’s tragedy and the movie theatre shooting, there have been 16 mass shootings with a combined death toll of 88 this year alone. These acts of violence have occurred at places where no one would imagine – a church, a youth soccer tournament, a spa, at a courthouse, a coffee shop, a funeral home, and now an elementary school.
It seems that these shootings are no longer random in nature…rather becoming more and more predictable. All we can do right now is keep our collective eyes wide open and be prepared to take whatever defensive action is necessary.
That latter statement may place me in the minority of those who believe we, as Americans, do have a right to bear arms. I can’t fathom our forefathers, those who scripted the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, believing that any true-blooded American would ever use a weapon to kill, in cold blood, a fellow patriot, much less young and innocent schoolchildren.
So, what do we do as a society to stop these acts of domestic terrorism? Do we ban all weapons, or just those capable of inflicting the greatest amount of carnage?
If we ban all weapons, how do law-abiding Americans defend themselves?
On the other side of the coin, should we consider lifting the ban of weapons on our school campuses (having them available only for adult personnel in case of extreme emergencies)? Do we need armed security guards at every schoolhouse door, in malls, movie theatres or other places where the masses gather?
Hopefully, some sort of answers will come and my fingers are crossed that they’ll arrive soon before the next crazed gunman kills either you or me.
Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-332-7207.