At the time I arrived, I had no idea that an entire classroom of kindergartners, as well as several teachers and administrators, had been mowed down just a few miles away. I only learned that shortly before I left the library.
Many of the teachers who work in our district live and have kids who go to school in Newtown. I cannot imagine the fear they felt.
I heard that Obama brushed away tears as he talked about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I also read that he said now was not the time to talk about gun control, or words to that affect. But if not now, when?
How many innocent people -- too often children -- have to die before politicians take a stand against the NRA and pass tougher gun and ammo control measures? I'm not saying the government should strike down the Second Amendment (though I would not object). But it's time to put a ban on semi-automatic weapons (the weapon of choice for mentally deranged killers), limit the amount of ammunition one can purchase, and institute strenuous background checks. Yes, that won't solve the problem. But it's a start.
And while the pols are at it, how about making it less expensive for Americans to get mental health care? Maybe if we made it easier to get mental health care and more difficult to buy guns and ammo, we could avoid another tragedy like the one that took place today... and the one in Aurora... and the one in Tucson... and the one at Virginia Tech... and the one at Columbine.
More about the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy here.
UPDATED 12/15/12: More food for thought: "Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States" by Ezra Klein of The Washington Post (via Balloon-Juice.com). I found these two paragraphs particularly telling and tragic:
If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.
Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.