This week, I drive to work across the state of Connecticut and this is what I see. Though my windshield is pretty dirty and grungy from a mountain of snow I wiped off, I immediately recognized where exactly I was. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t curious to go take a look. I exited. Drove around, stopped at a grocery store and a Subway to get lunch. Not that I was expecting to see anything out of place or different or altered for occasion, but at the same time, I didn’t want to be THAT guy. I didn’t want to be that annoying tourist to stop by a place that lived through an unimaginable tragedy and be THAT guy.
“Hey isn’t this that place where that guy shot all those kids?”
After I drove through Newtown, Connecticut, I arrived at work and sat with a customer. In offering her assistance, I had to ask where she lived and she told me Newtown. She told me she was a teacher. I can’t say it isn’t a natural reaction, but when I heard her responses, my mind wondered. I didn’t know her background, but I didn’t want to be that douchebag that ask either.
“Hey, did you know any of those kids that got shot at that school?”
On December 14, 2012, 20-year old Adam Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza killing her instantly. He then proceeded to the school she where she worked, forced his way in and shot to death 26 other, 20 of which were children in the same first grade class. Before the authorities could arrive on the scene, Adam Lanza then shot himself ending the secondly most deadly mass shooting by a single person in the 236 year history of the United States of America. This shooting set off a cascade of reactions to not just gun violence, but gun safety and ownership across the nation. Tragic as his actions where, they were unfortunately not unfamiliar to our society by now. A shooting in a crowded theater. A shooting at a Arizona supermarket. A shooting on a military base. A shooting at another military facility. A shooting on a college campus. Sadly, this list goes on. What goes on that goes fairly under-reported is how common shootings are in general.
Nearly 200 children have been shot to death in the year since Adam Lanza ended his rampage. Since the 26 who were killed at the hands of Adam Lanza, nearly 34,000 others have been killed by firearms in the United States. THIS is a PROBLEM. It has been a problem in this country. Tragically for some unspeakable reason, we have absolutely no will to begin to address it. All we have done is excuse it. Now, right now, I will not dive to deep on the matter(here and now), but there are things we could be doing in this country, that we should be doing that we are not. The unfortunate truth is that however many things there are things you should not say in Connecticut, apparently there are things you shouldn’t say in America:
“Maybe we should find a way to lower the amount of gun violence in America.”
The moment you do, that is the moment you are labaled a communist, socialist(as if either of those had anything to do with saving lives) hippy that wants to disarm all Americans and turn the nation into a totalitarian state like Nazi Germany. Admittedly, I do have my position on the matter, but I also realize how impractical it is to realistically want to disarm an entire nation that will unwillingly cooperate. But regardless of that, I know that there is a better way. No matter how you slice it, the rate we kill people in this country makes us look barbaric. It makes us look like monsters. No other first world nation has such a third world problem, but we insist on such a willingness that allows alarming rate of death. But, like I said earlier, we see nightly news reports of death and we think nothing. It’s not that we don’t care, but we’re use to it. From our early days of a Colonial America that manifest it’s own destiny to an wild or untamed western frontier to brutal rise of organize crime and drug trade that has degraded our cities, violence is something that we’ve become all to familiar with in this nation. This leads to one more thing that can be said, regardless of how hard of a truth it is to hear:
VIOLENCE IS AN AMERICAN TRADITION.