Friday, December 14, 2012

If Not Now, When?

I was going to write about something fun and whimsical today – personal top 10 lists or my addiction to talk radio. But then Adam Lanza changed my plans. Around 9:40 a.m., the 20-year-old went on a shooting rampage at a Newtown, Connecticut school, slaying twenty kindergarten aged children and six adults before taking his own life. Reportedly, two of the adults were Lanza’s parents. This comes on the heels of the mall shooting in Oregon on Tuesday where a 22-year-old man used a semi-automatic weapon to murder two people before killing himself.

This morning when I first heard about the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I turned on the TV and went on Facebook and Twitter to see how people were reacting to this horrific incident.

With the national coverage on in the background, I read many comments about people being shocked, horrified and deeply saddened. Several mentioned that they were crying and were concerned about the safety of their own children.

Then the inevitable “gun talk” started. Some people were saying that this wasn’t the time to talk about stricter gun laws. Then 2nd amendment rights were brought up. All the things you hear when a mass shooting occurs.

Then I read something written by a Facebook friend that really caught my attention. Herb posted the following:

“You tell me it’s not about guns but about the mental illness of the person, but then you don’t want healthcare for all. Ok, maybe it’s the education system… wait you don’t want teachers to have even the basic tools to teach the kids in the inner city. Oh maybe it’s the parents, but you don’t want abortions even for those who shouldn’t be parents.”

Then Herb made a challenge that I have been thinking about all day – “If this isn’t the right time to talk about this, then tell me when is the right time and I’ll erase this status and talk about it on that day.”

I’m with Herb. If not now, when?

Evidently it wasn’t the right time when 12 people were slaughtered in Columbine, Colorado in April 1999.

It was obviously not the right time 32 more were massacred at Virginia Tech in April 2007.

It wasn’t even the right time in November 2009 when 13 innocents were exterminated in Fort Hood Texas.

Nope, none of those were the right time.

Maybe it was the right time this past July when that lunatic shot 12 people dead in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Hmm, now that I think about it, there was no talking about it then either.

I know, it must have been the right time when 6 peaceful people were executed in August of this year as they were attending Sunday services at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Oops, wrong again. It wasn’t the right time.

It wasn’t even the right time to talk about it when 3 more were senselessly killed at the Azana Day Spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin less than two months ago.

If it wasn’t the right time after any of those hideous mass murders, just when the hell is the right time?

Something has to be done, people. This can’t go on. There has to be a change!

I have no use for guns, personally. I don’t like them. At all. But I can understand owning guns for sport and protecting your family. I get that. What I don’t get is semi-automatics, high-capacity clips and assault weapons. That shit had to go.

I did a little reading about the topic of mass murders. There was research done on 61 mass murders committed in America since 1982. In 48 of those cases, the killer obtained the weapon legally. 11 were obtained illegally and the other 2 were unknown.

Hmm… How about making it harder for these deranged killers to get their weapons.

It has been effective in other countries. Between 1981 and 1996, Australia had 13 mass murders. At that point they decided to institute gun law reform. In the 16 years since, they have had ZERO mass murders. That bit of information was courtesy of George Megalogenis, author of The Australian Moment. Megalogenis is considered one of our most respected political and economic writers.

The debate needs to start. There has to be stronger background checks. Felons and the mentally ill cannot be allowed to obtain guns. Semi-automatics, assault weapons and high capacity clips have to be banned.

President Obama, in a statement he made today, said:

“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics.”

You may not agree with everything I have said, but a discussion needs to begin. Something has to be done before more children are denied their next Christmas. There has to be change before more families are torn apart by pointless violence.

If not now, when?

Until next time…from the booth.


JJ Steinhoff said...

Paul I agree with a lot of stuff you wrote. Another thing that nobody talks about is these kids don't have jobs today the way we did at that age. Remember me and my brother in the booth with you at Finneys? We were 10-12 years old back then. After Finneys we started caddying and have worked ever since. What age were you when you got your first job?

Kids today are hooked on the internet, facebook, twitter and all that other stuff. When this happens, you get those that start reading bad things and get bad thoughts in their head. They also download info on previous killers and try to one up them by becoming more "famous".

I know the economy is bad and a lot of companies don't hire young kids anymore but we've got to get these youngsters doing productive things instead of wasting their time posting about where they're at in Regency Mall and that all other garbage. JMO.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I sure do remember you and Sammy in the booth! You guys were hard workers, liked to laugh and have a good time. I also remember the respect you showed your elders, especially your mom and dad. The youth of today could learn a lot from the two of you.

To answer your question about when I started working… I believe about 12 or 13 when I started shoveling snow and cutting grass. As soon as I hit 16 I was bussing tables and washing dishes at Howard Johnsons.

I totally agree about getting the youth more productive.

Leplume said...

Nice post, Paul. There has to be a discussion started and some action taken. This can't keep happening. It just can't.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Thanks, Mary Beth. You're right. It has to stop.

Sue said...

Well written post Paul. You are right - it has to stop. How can they own guns that look more like missile destroyers. More to the point where do those, who are not working, get the money for such weapons. Something has to change and it has to be the law on owning such weapons. It is bad enough they are having to use them in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just cannot be left any longer.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

You are right, it cannot.