There’s no doubt if you’re reading this, you heard the news as havoc broke out in an elementary school in Connecticut USA. Just over five years ago a mass shooting occurred at a children’s school in the states, resulting in the death of 20 six and seven year olds and six members of staff. There was an outcry for gun control and stricter laws and regulations to be upheld regarding guns and who can obtain a license.
I have been fortunate to grow up in New Zealand where local cops do not carry guns, where firearms are not common as they are in the US (although they are becoming more so in recent years). Until watching this video on Twitter I never second guessed fearing my child not coming home from school due to a shooting. I most likely won’t ever have to either. I cannot fathom sending your child to school one day, with their lunch in hand and their school books all packed, their homework done – or maybe there wasn’t enough time to finish it all off – and I send them off with a big hug and watch them walk into school. I go out and work or run errands and don’t even blink about what could be happening. Maybe my child is making some Christmas decorations, what if they’re making me a Christmas card? I’m eager to hear all about their day and I can’t wait to see them. Then that moment is shattered. I sent my child into school and they never came home. School is a place you don’t question something like that happening, because you believe it never will. School is a place to learn, a place to grow – a safe place. You send your child into a place you believe to be safe only to be given the news that they are not coming back.
When we are presented with a story like this, any mass shooting, we lump them into figures and statistics. It’s hard not to when that’s what we’re presented with. “x many injured and y killed”, it’s nothing but shock value. Those are people. Each person has a domino effect to those that mourn them. Each whole number is a whole person who ceases to exist beyond that moment. The tale doesn’t just end when the news coverage does. For anyone watching it does, once we move onto the next story – another mass shooting in another state – we forget these lives that are lost. They aren’t known to us and their leaving has not affected us. But that doesn’t mean that they have not left behind aching hearts. It’s so easy as an onlooker to feel the sadness in the moment, and then return to the normalcy of our lives. Families that have lost loved ones will never get that. Prayers and words don’t mean shit.
There is no justification to the lives lost. They may be in a better place, they may be safe now – but why didn’t we keep them safe here? Why isn’t earth the better place? Nothing can change the fact that there is now a grieving family that lost a part of their souls. There is no words, no “sending prayers” or “families are in our hearts”, that can repair that piece. I can imagine that there is always going to be sadness in these families lives. They may go on living, they may find happiness in things, but each happy moment will be accompanied by a pang of sadness. A memory that their loved one isn’t a part of, a moment of celebration that is spent without their beloved.
I’m so f*cking tired of the “to keep my family safe” retort. If you want to keep a gun/s on your property with children in sight, you would have them locked up. If an emergency arises that someone breaks in – forgetting that a break in does not mean that a gun will be carried, but for arguments sake this person IS carrying a gun – you hear something downstairs, you fumble around in your room for your bedside light switch. Give yourself a few moments to be sure the noise is not just something you heard in your sleep, and then give yourself time to get to your weapon. Again, arguments sake is giving you the benefit of the doubt. You keep your weapons locked up in your bedroom, you reach them in a matter of seconds. You enter the code and are into the safe. Now you have to load your weapon – every safe gun owner knows you never store a weapon already loaded. Maybe this only takes 30 seconds (again, the argument is on your side), that burglar can have already injured your children, already have made it to your room and be standing right behind you.
Now I am 100% against in home gun ownership. I honestly wish they didn’t exist at all, the best I will give anyone is for hunting. That, to me, is the only logical reason I can find for the use of a gun – even then hunting is something I wish didn’t exist either. But for the sake of pleasing the “protecting my family” people, a single shot hand gun should be sufficient. In all honesty, a BB gun would be too – I mean have you ever been shot in the arm with one of them? Any weapon they are holding would be dropped. There is NO reason, NO. REASON. anyone needs to store an assault riffle in their home. In what instance can you believe you would need to fire enough bullets to cover your room in smoke?
Even a single shot hand gun can offer up to 15 bullets, so regulation on handguns needs to be more detailed and more strict. I cannot believe guns are sold in stores where you can buy diapers and baby formula. Want to know why there’s no mass shootings in New Zealand? Because we doesn’t sell guns in a fucking grocery/department store! If you are surrounded by ideas, of course you’re going to use them. It’s marketing 101, and it’s the reason the US has so many shootings. Guns are treated like they’re milk. I cannot imagine walking by someone wearing a firearm and just going “oh yep”. I went to Australia this year and freaked out when the police were carrying handguns. Police. People trained in using them, needing to pass many tests and licensing regulations. Because guns are so violent and so deadly. Even the most well trained person cannot guarantee the safety of the use of the firearm. Accidental shootings happen.
The 2nd amendment in the USA was created when guns were capable of much slower rapid fire. The right to bare arms should not take precedence over someone’s right to life. And lets take a look at that word – amendment –
*I am not sure that this is the first child shooting child incident (I imagine it is not), but I believe it is the first child shooting child incident to happen on school grounds.