The names of the shooting victims have been released. Most of these children were 6 or 7 years old. Most were shot many times.
On Saturday, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said all the victims at the school were killed up close with a rifle and were shot more than once. All six adults killed at the school were women. Of the 20 children, eight were boys and 12 were girls. All the children were 6 or 7 years old.Unimaginable. No one can talk about this incident without wiping tears away or grasping for composure. It's time to mourn. It's time to grieve. It's time to talk. It's time to act in the name of the victims listed above. Say their names. Eventually we will see photos of the victims. Look at them. Understand that their murders were senseless acts of terrorism. A young man with mental difficulties or a "personality disorder" shot his mother with her own gun, ( she loved her guns and went to the gun range often), took several of her guns and inexplicably showed up at a near by elementary school where, for unknown reasons, decided to shoot little children. From the linked article:
Proud. Lanza didn't want to undergo a background check. Why not? Background checks can save lives. He didn't want to wait for those guns. He was in a hurry to shoot people. Waiting periods are a good idea. Neither of these are national policies concerning guns. Why not? Because the NRA lobbyists don't want them. It's time for that to change. It's time for our members of Congress to bar the doors to NRA lobbyists. They should not be writing our gun laws. This time I am joined by a chorus of voices from near and far who are crying and writing and saying what I am saying. It's about time. I've been waiting.
Time ran out for those 20 children and 6 adults. It's past time to do something about our weak gun laws. It's past time for the grieving families of the many mass shootings. It's past time for the families of the daily shootings. We have wasted years arguing about the wrong things while people have lost their lives in numbers so large that it begs credulity that we have done nothing about it.
These are real people with real families who had real dreams and real fears. Never did they imagine that the end for them would come in this way. The little children barely had time on this earth to make a mark. Read some vignettes about the victims here. After you are done reading about them, think about how little time the families of the children had to spend with them. Think about the time left in the lives of the adults to do more with themselves and to love their own children and grandchildren. Their families will miss them at all times. Time may heal their grief but will not let them forget the moment in time when their loved one was murdered by bullets. As found in the New Testament in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8:
This time, the deaths of little children have awakened the country and the world to the insane gun culture in America that has led to the untimely deaths of too many. Shooting little children is beyond the pale. This was not their time to die. This was their time to live, to search, to scatter stones, to love and dance and laugh. The words of the Bible were made famous by the Byrds in this rendition of the words to music:There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens:2 a time to be born and a time to die,a time to plant and a time to uproot,3 a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build,4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance,5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,6 a time to search and a time to give up,a time to keep and a time to throw away,7 a time to tear and a time to mend,a time to be silent and a time to speak,8 a time to love and a time to hate,a time for war and a time for peace.
It's time to act in the names of the children and the adults who died before their time last Friday, December 14th, 2012. It's time for common sense.
I want to end with this very cogent editorial by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times writer:
Thank you Nicholas Kristof. We know we are better than the daily carnage and the shooting of 20 young children. This must stop. The only way to stop it is for the American public to take the time to call or write their Representatives and Senators and the White House. Tell them the time is now. This time we are not going to shrug our shoulders and move on. This time, for the sake of the children, do something about too many guns owned and carried by too many people in too many places. There are too many victims. Too many children are dying. Demand a plan.The tragedy isn’t one school shooting, it’s the unceasing toll across our country. More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.So what can we do? A starting point would be to limit gun purchases to one a month, to curb gun traffickers. Likewise, we should restrict the sale of high-capacity magazines so that a shooter can’t kill as many people without reloading.We should impose a universal background check for gun buyers, even with private sales. Let’s make serial numbers more difficult to erase, and back California in its effort to require that new handguns imprint a microstamp on each shell so that it can be traced back to a particular gun.“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” President Obama noted in a tearful statement on television. He’s right, but the solution isn’t just to mourn the victims — it’s to change our policies. Let’s see leadership on this issue, not just moving speeches.Other countries offer a road map. In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.Or we can look north to Canada. It now requires a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun, and it imposes a clever safeguard: gun buyers should have the support of two people vouching for them.For that matter, we can look for inspiration at our own history on auto safety. As with guns, some auto deaths are caused by people who break laws or behave irresponsibly. But we don’t shrug and say, “Cars don’t kill people, drunks do.”Instead, we have required seat belts, air bags, child seats and crash safety standards. We have introduced limited licenses for young drivers and tried to curb the use of mobile phones while driving. All this has reduced America’s traffic fatality rate per mile driven by nearly 90 percent since the 1950s.Some of you are alive today because of those auto safety regulations. And if we don’t treat guns in the same serious way, some of you and some of your children will die because of our failure.