It starts at home. And it can’t start at home until parents take control of their children. And that can’t happen unless they start early.
“Now, Bobby, don’t be shooting that handgun inside the house.” Bobby is eleven. That’s too late.
Let’s say you’re a rootin’ tootin’ card holding member of the NRA, with guns all over the place and antique rifles and blunderbusses and pistols going back nine generations, enough ammunition for a regiment and mooseheads on your wall. Big John Roberts and the Supremes confirm it is your right to “bear arms.” Okay. There are other interpretations of the second amendment, but that’s the one we have to live with for now.
So it’s pointless to try to stop someone who wants a gun from getting one. But all the safety courses, and lectures about “respect for the weapon” and “respect for life” from gun advocates don’t mean much if some out of control nut job of a kid doesn’t learn early that these things are dangerous and people with warped minds or uncontrolled anger can be death walking. Your death.
You combine a loose cannon with a real cannon, sit him down at a video game console for a few years while he zaps zombies or space aliens or cartoon terrorists, sometimes you get a guy who transfers the animated fantasy into a pile of un-animated corpses and wounded.
The Connecticut shooter was no kid. But it’s impossible to say “no one saw this coming.” Someone had to. Even if it was his gun-collecting parents.
Newtown, CT is a lovely little town surrounded by nothing. It's upscale, quiet and now a living hell. Junior is mad at mommy, goes to mommy's house and shoots her dead. So it shouldn't be a total loss, he also goes to a grade school and offs 20 babies, six adults and himself. At least he's not here to reproduce and we don't have to hear about his tough childhood and how the big kids bullied him.
When the President of the United States is driven to tears during a post-massacre speech, maybe that’s a sign that we need to be doing something more than advocate the elimination of guns in the hands of the public.
Of the loose cannons with real cannons on the street today, there’s little we can do. Little, but not nothing.
Rat out your kid/husband/lover/pool-shooting pals when they make noises like they’ll become the next Adam Lanza or Jacob Roberts or Jared Loughner or Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Charles Whitman or Seung Hui Cho. Let people know about their angry bragging... let them know that they soak up half a bottle of Old Grand-dad each night and then polish and load their 9mm Glock and old grand dad’s 1943 M-1.
It’s simple, though not easy. But it’s one way to cut down on some of this violence.
The Brady bunch for handgun control hasn’t made enough of a dent. Neither has Mayor Bloomberg’s laudable effort to protect the city from itself.
Time to bring out the big guns: Mom and dad.
--Stories like this are miserable to cover, not only because of the profound tragedy but because they are complex and we’re all trained to report the newest available information -- or misinformation post haste. Early on, the shooter’s mother was widely identified as a teacher at the Sandy Hook elementary school. She wasn’t.
--It took 32 hours for that information to emerge, understandable because fixing a mistake like that is far from everyone’s mind. And it’s not a terribly important datum, given the circumstances. But you can be sure other early “facts” will be turned around.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012