I was waiting outside my youngest son’s school with a small group of mums I know this afternoon. It didn’t take long for the Connecticut shooting tragedy to come up in our conversation. We’ve all been horrified and deeply saddened by the deaths of so many innocent children and their teachers in America. For such a tragedy to happen again – and so soon after the Colorado movie theatre mass shooting earlier this year – we found ourselves pondering the issue of gun control, and the apparent LACK of it in the US.
The fact that almost anyone over the age of 18 can legally buy a semi-automatic weapon defies all manner of logic in my mind.
I’ve always found it hard to understand America’s almost religious fervour regarding gun ownership. I know the ‘right to bear arms’ is part of their Constitution, I get that. But surely they realise the ‘arms’ they were referring to back then were muskets, not the lethal weapons available today. The concept of ‘guns as a security measure in every home’ simply doesn’t feature in my idea of a safe society. I grew up somewhere other than America – New Zealand – a country where even the police officers do not routinely carry firearms, only armed response units do. Regular police officers have pepper spray and a baton but no gun. And I’m okay with that. Guns don’t make me feel safe. Far from it; they make me nervous. I’ll never forget arriving in Australia circa 1987 and feeling quite apprehensive when I first saw the local police all carrying a holstered gun on their hip.
While I sincerely hope that Barack Obama will be able to make some serious changes to the laws regarding gun ownership, I’m not holding my breath. He’s got an uphill battle ahead of him, one of David vs Goliath proportions. Until ALL the Powers That Be in America (the NRA, especially) decide that children are more important than guns, nothing will change.
Today’s song choice for Music for Monday is dedicated to all the sweet innocents who lost their lives. Theirs is such an incomprehensible loss and we’re feeling it all across the globe. May they all rest in peace.