On Friday, December 14th a horrific thing happened. So horrific, that I can’t even tell you about it. That day was actually the first time in a decade that I did not use any sort of media, save the initial way that I found out. I got a tweet sent to my phone, something about a shooting. I was at work, at my desk, so immediately I clicked on google to check the news. As my cursor hoovered over the ‘Google News’ link, I stopped. Instead, I got up from my desk, and went to the desk of our social media person. If she tweeted it, she must know about it. So, I simply asked her.
She said there’d been a shooting at a school. At an elementary school. And children were killed. She was trying not to read about it too much, so she didn’t know much more than that. That was when I decided that I also didn’t really need to know much more than that. Elementary school? That meant 5-10 year olds. I really did not need to know any more than that 5-10 yr old children were killed for no good reason.
How did it come to this? Why? How?
That day, I did not watch any sort of news. Not online, radio, or tv. I didn’t check The Facebook. I couldn’t do it.
The next day, out of habit, I clicked on my facebook app soon after waking. I initially saw posts about guns. Pro- and against. I didn’t even scroll. Just on the screen when it opened where talks of guns. I instantly turned it off. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t discuss guns. This wasn’t the time to discuss guns. I had heard (overheard really) enough to know that there was a man, mentally unstable, who got a hold of the gun & went on this rampage.
I couldn’t talk about guns. This actually had very little to do w/ the 2nd amendment, and EVERYTHING to do w/ caring for one another. Caring. Not enabling. Instantly I was reminded of celebrities who had spiraled out of control, only to die well before their time. Rock stars w/ entourages, entire staff of ppl solely for them, and yet no one says a word as they slowly kill themselves. Let alone their family. I know I’ve written about this before.
God knows that if I gain a good 10 lbs, I’m reminded that I need to exercise & eat right. I’m reminded of my family history of diabetes. But more importantly, I’m reminded that there are ppl in my life that love me, and love having me around.
If I’m doing something wrong, I get lectured. Lectured. It’s a funny word. Such a negative connotation. But usually lectures are for the greater good, non? You attend lectures for knowledge. When your parents/elders, or siblings/equals, lecture you, it’s b/c they want to see you well. Live well.
So, this was not really the time for talks on guns. It was a great moment to call to the attention of America to look out for your fellow man. Do right by them.
That being said…. I”m not saying there is no discussion about guns to be had at all. I’m just saying that the time for gun regulations was after the Columbine shooting. How did those boys get those guns?
Notice I said regulation, not prohibition. God forbid I insinuate taking away anyone’s right to an amendment that was conceived at a time when men forcing themselves upon their enslaved women was not considered rape. For as progressive as we think we are, we hold onto some pretty archaic truths.
At any rate, I do have friends who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and they do; and I have no issues with it. I’m not concerned with those licensed to carry. Statistics prove that they’re not the ones killing others in society. It’s the unlicensed carriers.
There needs to be regulations on how folks go about OBTAINING guns. Gun shows. Internet. Street solicitation. Guns are readily available. And not just small handguns, like a pregnant girlfriend of mine carries. But semi-automatic machinery, built for combat. Assault weapons.
We went after Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that they did not have. Why not stop the assault weapons trade here in our own country.
I’m not glad this happened so that we are FINALLY ready to have a conversation about this. The time for conversation about this has long gone, time & time again. The time for this conversation was in ’99, after Columbine. I understand we were stunned then. We could not imagine that something like this could have happened, or could ever happen again, as we were all on the same page that it was horrific. Other shootings happened, but they were spread out, and not like the Columbine shootings. Not by a youngster, and not at a school.
But then in 2007, an 18-yr old shot up a Salt Lake City mall. Who’d imagine, in the midwest? Two months later, Virginia Tech. This time was the perfect time to discuss gun control laws. But nothing. That same year, a couple weeks before Christmas, another midwest mall is shot up, this time by a 19-yr old w/ a semi-automatic. If 1999 & COlumbine was not the time for these talks, then 2007 most certainly was the most appropriate time. Three shootings by young men who should not have had access to those guns, shot 74 ppl.
We also had an opportunity as a nation to have this conversation again in 2011, when Gabby Giffords was shot, along w/ 18 others.
Sigh. Let’s finally discuss guns. Please.
- December 11, 2012. Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts stole a rifle & killed 2 people along w/ himself.
- September 27, 2012. Minneapolis, MN. 36-yr old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems lost his job, & killed 5, wounded 3, before killing himself.
- August 5, 2012. Oak Creek, Wisconsin. 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed 6 Sikh temple goers, injured 4, before killing himself. Religiously motivated.
- July 20, 2012. Aurora, CO. 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 & wounded 58 at a midnight premiere showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
- May 29, 2012. Seattle, WA. Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso, killed 5 & eventually himself after a manhunt.
- April 6, 2012. Tulsa, OK. 19-yr old Jake England, and 32-yr old Alvin Watts shot 5 black men (3 died), in a racially motivated shooting spree.
- April 2, 2012. Oakland, CA. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college. It was the 6th-deadliest school massacre in the US & the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
- February 27, 2012. Chardon, OH. Thomas “TJ” Lane killed 3 fellow students at his Chardon High School, injuring 3 others.
- October 14, 2011. Seal Beach, CA. 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed 6 women & 2 men at Salon Meritage hair salon.
- September 6, 2011. Carson City, NV. 32-yr old Eduardo Sencion walked into an IHOP & shot 12 people; 5 died, including 3 National Guard members.
- January 8, 2011. Tucson, AZ. 22-year-old Jared Loughner walked into a political event at a Safeway market & opened fire, killing 6 & injuring then Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ, shot in the head). Among the 6 killed were Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll & a 9-year-old girl. 19 total were shot. Loughner sentenced to 7 life terms plus 140 years, without parole.
- August 3, 2010. Manchester, CT. Omar S. Thornton, 34, gunned down Hartford Beer Distributor after he was caught stealing beer. 9 killed, including Thornton, & two injured.
- November 5, 2009. Fort Hood army base, TX. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire, shooting 43 people & killing 13.
- April 3, 2009. Binghamton, NY. Jiverly Wong, 41, opened fire at an immigration center before committing suicide. He killed 13 people, wounding 4.
- March 29, 2009. Carthage, NC. 45-yr-old Robert Stewart walked into the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home, looking for his estranged wife who worked there. He killed 8 people. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison.
- February 14, 2008. Northern Illinois University. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall, killing 6 & wounding 21 before killing himself
- February 7, 2008. Kirkwood, Missouri. Charles Lee Thornton, opened fire during a public meeting at City Hall. 6 died & 2 injured, before Thornton was killed by police.
- December 5, 2007. Omaha, NE. 19-yr-old, Robert Hawkins, walked into a department store at Westroads Mall, & opened fire. He killed 9 & wounded 4 before killing himself.
- April 16, 2007. Virginia Tech. Student Seung-Hui Choi, shot 56 people, 32 died, in the deadliest school massacre in US.
- February 12, 2007. Salt Lake City. 18-yr-old gunman Sulejman Talović shot & killed 5, wounded 4 at Trolley Square Mall.
- October 2, 2006. Lancaster, PA. 32-yr-old Charles Carl Roberts entered an Amish schoolhouse, separated the boys from the girls, then bond and shot the girls. 5 young girls died, 6 were injured. Roberts then committed suicide.
- March 25, 2006. Seattle, WA. 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff started shooting at Capitol Hill; 7 died, 2 injured.
- March 21, 2005. Red Lake, MN. Teenager Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather & grandfather’s girlfriend, then opened fire at Red Lake Senior High School, killed 9 people & injured 5 there. Weise then killed himself.
- March 12, 2005. Brookfield, WI. 44-yr-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann entered a church meeting at a Sheraton hotel, and opened fire. He killed the pastor, the pastor’s teenage son, and 7 others, before killed himself. 4 others were wounded.
- July 8, 2003. Meridian, MS. Doug Williams entered a Lockheed Martin plant where he worked, and started shooting. He shot 14 people, targeting the African-Americans, & killed 7 before killing himself.
- December 26, 2000. Wakefield, MA. Edgewater Technology employee Michael “Mucko” McDermott shot & killed seven coworkers at the office. He was sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences. McDermott claimed he had “traveled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6 Nazis.”
- September 15, 1999. Fort Worth, TX. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire at a Christian rock concert & teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church. He killed 7 & wounded another 7, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook then committed suicide.
- July 29, 1999. Atlanta, GA. Mark Orrin Barton, 44, murdered his wife & two children w/ a hammer, then shot up 2 Atlanta day trading firms. Barton killed 12 including his family & injured 13 before killing himself.
- April 20, 1999. Littleton, CO. Deadliest high school shooting in US history. Students Eric Harris & Dylan Kiebold shot up Columbine High School, killing 13 & wounded 21 others. They killed themselves after the massacre.