BY HARRY T. COOK
On Friday, a young man shot and killed his mother in their home. He then went to the school where she was a kindergarten teacher, and shot and killed six adults and 20 children – none of the latter older than 10 – before killing himself. The weapons that he used were legally owned by the mother that he killed.
The world was supposed to end a week to the day after the shootings, according to a Mayan calendar. Yet, the world for a whole community has already ended. Many families will never be made whole.
Vigils have taken place, prayers have been lifted up, incense burned and comfort given. The only meaningful memorial to the grave loss of so many – the dead themselves, their broken survivors and a shattered community – must be a face-off with the National Rifle Association and its indefatigable lobby.
What’s more, our Supreme Court has too recently declared that the Second Amendment gives someone like Adam Lanza the right to keep and bear the arms he used in his wanton massacre. The justices must be persuaded to think again.
A police chief, now long since retired, once told me that the only firearm he ever had was the service revolver he was required to possess. He told me that incidents of the kind that occurred on Friday in Connecticut invariably induce guilt in law enforcement officers because they know they have insufficient tools to prevent them.
“We’re always outgunned,” the ex-chief said, and that with deep sadness.
Enough. This must be the time and place for our elected legislators, governors, the Congress and our president to crack down on gun manufacturing, gun selling and gun ownership.
The intrepid hunter may need a gun – but certainly not an assault weapon a soldier would use in battle. Who but the trusted police officer needs a pistol? Who but the faithful army or Marine sentry needs a rifle? Nobody.
In the name of anything anybody thinks is holy, let us band together to suppress the appetite for death upon which the plethora of guns in America feeds.
Someone says, “I’m pro-life.” OK: Here’s your chance.
– Harry T. Cook is an Episcopal priest, journalist and author living in Michigan. His essays appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer.