I’m looking at a photo of three children who are part of my life. It’s the second birthday of the little guy in the middle, posed behind his Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake, flanked by his two big sisters.
I love those kids.
You don’t need to see the picture. You’ve seen pictures like it before. It’s likely you were the subject of such pictures when you were a child of two, or four, or six. You’ve posted pictures like this one of your own kids on Facebook, or commented glowingly on photos of your friends’ kids.
There’s nothing uncommon about it. We snap pictures of our kids day in and day out, and we show them off at the drop of a hat, but somehow we manage to look at each one as if it’s the first.
And, in a way, each one is a first. Each and every one of those kids is a one-of-a-kind package of potential. Running jumping shouting crying laughing sleeping cuddling potential.
We lost twenty yesterday. Senselessly. In a place called Newtown.
It might as well be Anytown.
And before it was even possible to catch one’s breath upon hearing the news, we were subjected to the usual spate of asinine declarations: this violence is a result of taking prayer out of public schools; teachers should be armed; it’s the “crazy,” not the weapons; it’s disrespectful to address gun control in the aftermath of this tragedy; cars are dangerous, too, so should we ban them? And on and on.
Meanwhile, religious leaders rail against gay marriage and offer rote condolences to families that need a great deal more than pabulum, but say nothing about the ease with which one can obtain a weapon of war in America.
Meanwhile, politicians bury their heads as far up their own rectums as possible and wait for the outrage to subside so they can continue their do-nothing policies of dealing with gun violence.
Meanwhile, we citizens angrily grieve and then hit the political brick wall that surrounds the possibility of new gun laws. The emotions fade, new concerns arise, until the next mass shooting, and then we start all over again.
A friend mentioned yesterday that he was a sensing that we may have reached a tipping point as a nation, that now we will begin to see real action, real reform. I hope he’s right—and I hope he, and I, and anyone reading this, will find ways to get and remain active in the struggle for gun-law reform.
I’m looking at a photo of three children who are part of my life. They should be motivation enough.