First, let me start by saying that any time someone uses any type of weapon to hurt, injure, and kill other human beings that it is a tragedy. Terrorist attacks, high school shootings, muggings, and war, all have that in common. It is a tragedy every time a human loses their life in a violent manner. My heart breaks for those who were in the theater in Aurora last Thursday night. My heart aches for the friends and family that will never see their loved ones again. This was an act of senseless violence and it makes me sad to see what we, as humankind, can perpetuate on each other.
Living over in Turkey, it was actually daytime over here when it happened. I was at work, so I actually didn’t hear a thing about it until I came home at lunch. Even then, it was a couple of status updates on facebook until I was done with work that night. It’s funny, in a sad sort of way, that I am so close to the tragedy occurring in Syria right now and so far removed from the ones happening back home. But here we are, living so far from home, so my husband can defend the rights of our people, including the right to bear arms, and someone who lives in that freedom and security in the US, chooses to violate it.
And that is what he did. He violated his trust with the rest of mankind. He violated the freedoms and securities that we hold dear in our country. He violated the very nature of humanity and stole lives from the people they belonged to.
What then is the answer?
Some are calling for his death, almost all for his imprisonment. Those who know how sick someone must be to do something like this, will hope that he gets help. But louder than that still, rise the age old voices of those fighting over the issue of gun rights.
They drown out the rest of humanity. No longer is this attack about the tragedy of the lost lives, instead it has been coopted by anti-gun activists and pro-gun activists. The shouts come down, “How can guns be legal in the US but KinderEggs are not? How messed up is that?” and “If you take away the right to legally bear arms, only the criminals will have them.” Each side has their own valid points. Each side has their extremist comments. Each side has already lost sight of the tragedy that occurs. They’ve shoved it aside in order to entrench themselves for the coming battle in public opinion.
Where I work, the children are not allowed to play guns. They can’t make them with legos, blocks, their hands, or any other toy. The little boys sit at the table and chant, “don’t make guns” all while they build little guns to play with. Until we catch them, and then the “pew-pew” noises turn to “vrooms” as they and their spaceships run back to their spot to play. I understand where the administrators are coming from. Guns are not toys. Guns are not something we should “play” with. But guns are part of these children’s realities. All of them are military kids. Some of the kids have parents who are security forces, their moms and dads carry guns every day. So the reality is, I spend most of my day telling them not to play guns and they do it again as soon as I turn my back. On the weekends, they may go shooting with Mom or play Call of Duty with Dad.
I wish that it was harder to get guns. Not just legally get them, but also on the illegal side. I also wish that people would see that the problem is not the gun that was used. Anymore than the problem was the movie theater’s fault, or the film’s fault, or anyone’s fault but the sick individual who opened fire on innocent people. He’s the one who has the problem. He’s the one who harmed people. The gun was his tool, and maybe it was too easy for him to get, but it was just a tool. And even in countries with stringent gun laws, those who want them can get them and use them to harm.
And, if you want my opinion on how to prevent future acts like this? Well, let’s just say that I think we all need to learn to value life above all else. Without that, it doesn’t matter what all we make legal or illegal, people will hurt each other. Some might argue that it’s human nature to hurt each other, and, maybe it is. But if, we can learn to look at each other and see only people who are cared for deeply by other people, than maybe we can stop the pattern.
I guess I’m asking that today, you think about the people who lost their lives. Think about their families and friends who are suddenly without their beloved. Think about the tragedy that this was and leave the politics and arguing for another day. Trust me, it will keep.