Six years ago this morning, Adam Lanza killed his mother and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School. There, he slaughtered 20 kindergarten children and 6 adults before killing himself.
It was, possibly, the saddest day America has endured in the last 100 years.
Yes, worse than Pearl Harbor. Yes, worse than 9/11.
On those days, we were more angry than sad, and we had recourse against those who had killed our friends and neighbors and servicemen.
Adam Lanza and his enabling mother were both dead by Lanza’s hand as well. Maybe God would exact justice, but Americans never would.
Look at the picture posted with this article.
LOOK AT THE GOD DAMNED PICTURE!
20 kindergarten children were slaughtered, and for what?
What have we learned?
What have we changed?
How have we given their deaths a sense of purpose?
They would be on the cusp of becoming teenagers, just more than a year away from being high schoolers, yet instead they are six years cold in the ground.
Mental health services have shriveled in the years since the Sandy Hook massacre as national Republicans have hacked-away at Obamacare and red-state Republicans have slashed social services to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest.
Lunatics like Alex Jones have become wealthy from peddling Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, first to fellow lunatics as deranged as Adam Lanza, but then to mainstream Republicans and to gun-rights advocates.
Gun laws have been weakened or repealed. Americans have more guns. More Americans can carry concealed. More states have ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws. There is no assault weapons ban.
The death of 20 bright-eyed children in an elementary school classroom should have been a moment of reflection where Americans asked, “How can we prevent severely mentally ill people, like Adam Lanza, from having assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition?”
Instead, the mere suggestion that even those who are so mentally ill they should be institutionalized should not have assault weapons resulted in the worst possible effect: MORE GUNS and MORE VICTIMS.
When Adam Lanza killed 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it was the second-worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. His mother was his first victim, bringing his body count to 27.
Only the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007 had, to that date, claimed more victims (32).
On June 12, 2016 Omar Saddiqui Mateen killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL.
On October 1, 2017 Stephen Paddock slaughtered 58 people from a sniper-perch in his Las Vegas hotel room above an outdoor country music festival.
On November 25, 2017 Devin Patrick Kelley nearly matched Lanza’s Sandy Hook body count by slaughtering 25 people (one pregnant with a viable fetus considered under Texas law as a 26th victim) in Sutherland Springs, TX.
More than a year after the Las Vegas massacre became the deadliest mass killing by a single gunman in American history, we are still waiting for the bump-stock ban were were promised by President Trump in the days immediately after the slaughter.
I write about a wide range of political issues. I seldom, anymore, write about gun control. And this piece is not about gun control. It is about the state America finds itself in as the second decade of the millennium ends its penultimate year.
The gun control debate ended six years ago today.
It ended when Americans sat in front of their televisions, or their laptops, and watched coroners carry 20 child-sized body bags from a bloody and bullet-riddled elementary school, and collectively decided, “Damn, we need more guns to stop these mentally ill gunmen, so I better vote for politicians who will expand gun ownership, not limit it.” As little respect as was shown for the victims, as little change as America has made for the good, the coroners team might as well have used trash bags as body bags as America has decided our children are just that worthless.
The NRA was happy to step-up and reassure people, “Just send the money to us; we will make sure it gets to the right pockets.”
That was the day the gun debate ended.
Our side lost.
The side of logic lost.
My wife and I attended our 5th-grade son’s elementary school Christmas concert yesterday.
Each grade performed separately, kindergartners first.
Watching those kindergarten children sing, so excited for Santa and the season and to be performing for their parents and grandparents, I wondered…
How many parents in that gymnasium would give-up assault weapons if the choice was between that weapon…or that entire smiling and laughing class of kindergarten kids DIES?
Really though, I did not have to wonder.
That was the choice America made after Sandy Hook.
America kept the guns, even for the mentally ill, and the slaughter has progressed at an increasingly rapid pace.
Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
More than two centuries later, Americans defend the liberty Patrick Henry risked his life to demand by screaming, “You can murder a classroom full of kindergartners, but you will NEVER take my AR-15.”