All children deserve a life
When I was a kid, we called any gun that could shoot bullets in rapid succession a machine gun. Today they are called assault weapons. With a name like that, it makes one wonder how they could also be one of America’s favorite toys. An assault weapon should protect against an enemy, either real or imagined, not used as a toy. A sane society would realize these weapons belong in the hands of our military and law enforcement to maintain a safe society.
Unfortunately in America, they are as likely to be used as a toy, even by our latest demon’s mother. By all accounts, the parents of our latest "shooter" (I won’t give name recognition to a disturbed individual who did the unthinkable) did not ignore their family problem, but did almost all they could to protect their child and society. The mother made one glaring error. She treated her assault weapons simply as toys for her favorite hobby, and she left her son with easy access to these toys of mass destruction.
People are coming forward with tales about their autistic or Asperger’s Syndrome-labeled children who require a tremendous amount of time and attention from family and teachers. Also, there is a lack of public support in obtaining much needed help.
When the descriptions of the 20-year-old shooter started coming across the news wires, my wife and I both cringed when we would hear of behavior similar to that exhibited by our 18-year-old Asperger’s Syndrome relative.
In our case, this child’s family has no guns in the house but they still have to deal with the violence that unexpectedly occurs. They have done the best they can. Still, they never know what will to set him off. He hits his smaller mom and dad. They are so fearful they hide in the closet to call the police.
Realistically, even a total ban on guns would not stop the violence. There are always knives. Ironically, a story that got very little press on that tragic Friday in Connecticut unfolded halfway across the planet at a schoolroom in China. A man wielding a knife attacked and injured 22 young schoolchildren. The attacker with the knife killed no one. The attacker with the gun killed virtually everyone. If that sounds like a plug for gun control, it probably is. If you want my real opinion however, my feeling is that the cat has been out of the bag way too long and that any meaningful gun control legislation will do little but ensure those who want machine gun-style toys will keep the ones they have or will have no problem getting them on the black market. Do you really think most people would turn them back in?
How many T-shirts and bumper stickers have you seen stating something to the effect that “you will have to pry my guns from my dead body”? Gun owners are exceptionally passionate about their second amendment rights and have unprecedented support from the most successful lobbyist of all time, the NRA. In the 2012 election, the NRA outspent the gun-control lobby by 7,000 percent. Meaningful gun control is not only unlikely, it still would not guarantee a society safe from this modern age peril.
When the mental health lobby is as successful as the NRA, we as a society will have taken a giant step at reducing the massacre of innocents by mostly white, angst-ridden, mentally ill young males in our society.
A last observation: We need to realize that America does not stand alone grieving for children whose lives were brought to a standstill before they had a chance to blossom and bear the fruit of an existence well-lived. Too often, the unintended casualties of war are the innocent children who are insensitively referred to as "collateral damage." Afghani and Iraqi parents grieve. Sudanese and Vietnamese parents grieve. All parents grieve. We still have genocidal wars in which children are the target so there will be no one alive to lead their country in the future.
In my world, grief can be pretty overwhelming when I think about the barbaric act at the Connecticut school that caused our country so much pain. For me, this grief is the same wherever children are murdered. After all, children are just that — they are children, and all children deserve a life.