Friday, December 14, 2012

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mother Enraged

I'm furious.

Back in October, the horrifying stabbings on the Upper West Side -- where a long-time nanny killed two of her wards -- left a lot of parents feeling unsafe, uneasy, as if they had dodged the proverbial bullet. I wrote a post entitled "There But for the Grace of God Go I" to that point. It could have been me. Us. Anyone. 

Yet no one really could have done anything to stop what happened. Or, at least, anything that could have been done would have been particular to that one heartbreaking situation.

But this morning's senseless shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT is something else entirely. It wasn't a random, idiosyncratic act of violence. 

No, the "story" has become way too common, an American archetype of sorts: disturbed male (usually) obtains guns, most often legally, and blows away a bunch of innocent victims at a school, a temple, a mall, a movie theater, an office.

This is a national problem. A national disgrace. Our sick, senseless lack of gun control and our pitiful excuse for a mental health care system have collaborated once again to perverse and tragic end.

And we are all complicit. 

According to an excellent report by Mother Jones:
Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.... Of the 139 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns. 
In Newtown, the Hartford Courant reports, "Three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber [semi-automatic] rifle in the back of a car."

Just so we're all clear, here are those guns:

.223-caliber semi-automatic rifle

Why aren't we jumping up and down and screaming about this? How many more people have to die?

Politicians, listen up. We don't want your "thoughts and prayers." We don't want your platitudes. Your "national conversation" on gun control. We want action. NOW.

Feeling powerless? Here are a few things you can do:

And please leave a note in the comments with other ideas. I've had it. The time to act is now.


Rest in peace, sweet angels of Newtown. Rest in peace, teachers, psychologists and others who needlessly, senselessly lost their lives today. I'm sorry I did not do more. But that is about to change. Hell hath no fury like a mother enraged.

Never forget this abridged (!) list (compiled from the sources below) of shooting victims across the US:
  • 12/14/12: Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT (27? killed, ? injured) 
  • 12/11/12: Clackamas Town Center, OR (2 killed, 1 injured) 
  • 8/5/12: Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Oak Creek, WI (6 killed, 4 injured)
  • 7/20/12: Aurora, CO (12 killed, 58 injured) 
  • 2/27/12: Chardon, OH (3 killed, 2 injured) 
  • 1/8/11: Tucson, AZ (6 killed, 11 wounded)
  • 2/12/10: University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL (3 killed, 3 injured)
  • 4/3/09: American Civic Association, Binghamton, NY (13 killed, 4 injured)
  • 2/14/08: Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, MI (5 killed, 16 injured)
  • 4/16/07: Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA (32 killed, 17 injured) 
  • 10/2/06: Amish schoolhouse, Lancaster County, PA (3 killed, ? injured)
  • 3/21/05: Red Lake Indian Reservation, MN (7 killed, ? injured)
  • 7/8/03: Lockheed Martin, Meridian, MA (5 killed, 9 injured)
  • 3/5/01: Santana High, Santee, CA (2 killed, 13 injured)
  • 12/26/00: Edgewater Technology, Wakefield, MA (7 killed)
  • 4/20/99: Columbine High School, Littleton, CO (13 killed, 24 injured)
  • 5/21/98: Thurston High School, Springfield, OR (4 killed, 20 injured)
  • 3/24/98: Jonesboro, AR (5 killed, 10 injured)
  • 12/1/97: Heath High School, West Paducah, KY (3 killed, 5 injured)
  • 12/7/93: LIRR, Garden City, NY (6 killed, 19 injured)
  • 10/16/91: Luby's, Killeen, TX (22 killed, 20 injured)

I had to ditch my terrible commenting system, but I didn't want to lose the comments, so here they are: