A lot of gun enthusiasts are busy these days blaming the tragedy that took away 20 first graders from Newtown, CT on everything and its mother. Everything, that is, except for guns. This isn't about guns, they tell us.
Well, damn right. This isn't about guns.
This is about the 34 lives guns claim every day in America. That is more than 1,000 a month.
This is about the 20 innocent children's lives that a set of firearms claimed on Saturday. They had names:
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.This is about their families and communities devastated by gun violence.
This is about tragedies in Tuscon, in Oak Creek, in Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, in inner cities and small towns.
This is about violence perpetrated with firearms accessible too easily, permitted to perniciously, and carried too cavalierly.
This is about the right not to be shot.
This isn't about guns. This is about what is done with guns. This is about the violence and catastrophe easily accessible weapons meant to kill make easy to perpetrate. This is about a nation that looks at a thousand people murdered with guns every month - that's a 9/11 every three months - shrugs its shoulders and says, eh, there's nothing we can do.
This is about a country where all but one of our constitutional rights and freedoms seem to constrained by public safety. This is about the idea that freedom of speech does not allow us to yell fire in a crowded theater but somehow, the right to own a gun allows for mentally unstable individuals to storm into a school or a public town hall meeting with assault rifles and handguns. This is about the right to own a gun wrecking havoc over a child's right to be safe in school, a mother's right not to have her 6 year old taken away from her by a bullet, and the public's right to be safe in our streets, our schools and our homes.
This isn't about guns. This is about the gun lobby (the NRA) keeping a whole country from doing what is necessary to protect our children at the barrel of a proverbial gun (the threat to primary elected officials). This is about a lobby muzzling politicians and stifling debate in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy on earth. And this is about politicians who are too cowardly even today - even in the aftermath the deaths of 20 children caused by gun violence - to talk about it, for fear of retribution from the gun lobby.
This isn't about guns. This is about what people do with guns, and yes, this is about how easy access to guns is killing our children. This is about the type of guns being used in these heinous crimes, and whether anyone and everyone ought to be able to access military grade weapons that are meant for one purpose: mass killing. This is about mental fitness as well as physical training before one can own a deadly weapon.
This isn't about guns. This is about the our right to be free from gun violence.