#665 – Dick Bernard: When will we learn? Thoughts immediately after Newtown CT

Friday morning we took a quick trip over to an area shopping mall to watch our 7th grade grandsons school band do a half hour mall concert. I’m always proud watching kids perform, and watching the teachers work their magic with those kids, and this concert was no exception. This band was a unit, playing a medley of Christmas songs for quite a throng of us, likely heavily sprinkled with parents and grandparents and other family of the students (our grandkid also had his aunt there. His Mom and Dad were at work, his Mom as a Middle School Principal a few miles away.)
(click to enlarge)

Concert at the Mall December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012

Enroute home we stopped at a store on busy France Avenue to pick up some items, and decided to have lunch in a casual dining place across the drive. Meal over, we walked past one of those ubiquitous flat screen TV’s on the wall, sound off, closed captioning on.
I noted something about a shooting in a school, and the view of the top of a school somewhere provided by a news helicopter. We stopped until the closed caption at least identified where the breaking news was taking place, and saw it was in Connecticut, and drove home.
The rest is history, and as we all know, the massacre at the Newtown CT elementary school became the story of the day, and will now dominate for awhile the public and perhaps even the political conversation – and it is a conversation we all need to be involved in about our American reverence for rights, freedom and guns, regardless of deadly capacity.
We’ve had plenty of warning and even practice in this conversation: Not long ago was the Aurora theatre; followed by the assault on the Sikh Temple; followed by the attack on the business in Minneapolis; the Portland Mall…and on and on. There were similar events before; others still to come. Pretty uniquely American….
Random acts of violence involving guns. We know that such events trigger similar events. Someone, somewhere gets an idea….
The debates again beginning will be predictable, I fear.
After Aurora the on-line Patch newspaper editor in Eagan started a poll/conversation on gun control. I had joined the conversation thread then.
Consistently about 60% of respondents were against any kind of gun control, and were passionate about it; the rest of us were more or less evenly divided in favor of gun control, or of restrictions on guns and ownership.
Aurora passed, and on life went, but the poll remained and I was still on the list to receive comments. After each of the above incidents the comments began again. I just looked (early a.m. on Dec. 15) and there are 684* comments, with the percentages consistent with my above comment.)
I’m guessing that sometime today the poll will return to my inbox, with the predictable passions continuing.
Of course, the 60% against gun control is reflective only of those who take the time to present their point of view in a non-scientific poll. It is just a poll, and is so acknowledged there.
But at least respondents present a point of view, even though it is one I have always disagreed with.
If there is to be a change in gun policy in this country, it is going to have to be from the people, including the many who think they can’t do anything, and complain that it’s up to the politicians.
Not so.
WE are the politicians in this and so many ways.
A wrong position on guns has for far too long been a political death sentence for our political leaders, and if we don’t like that, we’re the ones who will have to be, as Gandhi said, “the change we wish to see”.
Those middle schoolers at the suburban mall went home safely yesterday; 26 people, mostly tiny children, in a Connecticut town didn’t….
POSTNOTE: My favorite blogger has a good summary of yesterdays news about the CT massacre and the politics here. A pull quote from William Saletan included in this post: “This morning, a madman attacked more than 20 children at an elementary school in China. As of this writing, there are no reported fatalities.
A few hours later, a madman attacked an elementary school in Connecticut. As of this writing, 20 of those kids are dead.
The difference? The weapon. The madman in China had a knife. The madman in Connecticut had three semi-automatic guns.”

* UPDATE Dec. 19, 2012: I had wondered when the first comment would be added to the 684. I note that the article itself remains focused on the more recent Minneapolis shooting, but this comment appeared overnight from “Terry the Terrible”: “Bla, bla, bla. They already tried a ten yr experiment banning extra capacity mags, bayonet mounts(??? Musta been afraid of drive by bayonetings) and such and it did absolutly nothing twards reducing crime so we know another ban on (so called) assult weapons would be useless and stupid. Also. All of you folks that think taking all of our guns will solve every little thing need to be educated and taken to the range for a day of learning about and shooti.g yourself. You may even find that it is FUN! O.k., sorry for the rant. Peace… all you wicked and violent sounding gun grabbers. Leave us alone already- one of us might save your lives someday.”

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