December 18, 2012
Remember their names.
Look at the faces of the 20 children and six adults who were murdered Friday within the walls of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. See them as they were ... 6- and 7-year-old boys and girls, just beginning their journey of life, and the adults whose own lives had led them down the path to working in an elementary school. Think about how easily these kids and adults could have been your son or daughter or someone close to you.
Let what happened here, this terrible and inexplicable act — at the hands of an apparently mentally ill young man — be the point in time where as individuals and a nation we said this has to stop.
No, we cannot eliminate crazy or evil people from hurting others. All of the laws won’t prevent a twisted individual from planning and carrying out some sort of heinous act that takes innocent lives.
But that should not stop us from individually and collectively recognizing that our world and society are quite different than when the Founding Fathers sat down to write the Constitution, and added the Second Amendment about the right of citizens to bear arms.
In whatever visions of the future of the United States of America that men like Adams, Jefferson, Madison, et al, surely they did not foresee the day where someone could barge into an elementary school and within mere minutes shoot and kill 20 children and six adults with cold and cruel efficiency before turning a gun on themselves.
Let’s also remember that they were writing a document that in large part reacted to what was happening in their here and now.
More than 200 years later, Americans must be willing to act based on our “here and now.”
We are not suggesting that we ban individual ownership of firearms ... far from it.
But we can certainly consider limits and restrictions on that ownership ... if they can help assure the wellbeing of the nation’s citizenry as a whole.
We can, for example, address the issue of high-capacity magazines or clips that hold many more rounds of ammunition than someone using a gun to hunt or shoot targets ever needs.
We can deal with manufacturers and importers to convince them to move away from the “Rambo” or assault weapon styling of some weapons that seems to attract those contemplating attacking others.
And we can think seriously about finding ways to make sure troubled individuals and their families get the mental health services they need, even if that means limiting some measure of their constitutional rights.
Remember the names of those killed Friday so that the victims of this terrible sad event do not simply become another yellowing list, like those killed at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech or a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
We need to work together to make something good and lasting comes out of the Sandy Hook massacre.