Now Is The Time: Reducing Gun Violence
On the morning of December 14th, 2012, twenty children grabbed their coats and backpacks and headed to school. A normal start for any first or second grader, they probably said good bye to Mom and Dad, hopped on the bus or got dropped off at school. Their parents busy to get their own day started, probably rushed them out the door. I often wonder if there was time for a quick “I love you” or hug and kiss. Those twenty children never came home that day.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT had a profound effect on me. Maybe it’s because out of the 26 people murdered that day, 20 of them were innocent 6 and 7 year old children. My daughter is 6 and I think about how easily that could have been her, her school, our family. In my mind, she is Sandy Hook Elementary. She loves school, adores her teacher and is eager to learn, play at recess, see her friends, and ride the bus every day…a typical first grader. She is busy learning to add and subtract, to read chapter books, and what ROYGBIV means. When she steps on the bus she isn’t thinking she or her classmates might be shot and killed at school; that she might never see her family again.
We talked about what happened in Newtown, CT. She came home that day (with her big sister who is 9) and they had already heard the big kids on the bus talking about “kids being killed at school”. She was quiet and seemed confused about what had happened. She just kept asking “But, why did it happen?” to which I really didn’t (and still don’t) have an answer.
Our elementary school has responded to the tragedy at Sandy Hook by keeping open communication with parents and students, refocusing on security, and even practicing their emergency response plans. Yesterday my girls participated in a “Lockdown Drill” at school complete with our local law enforcement for full effect. The children quietly hid in closets, in cubbies, and under desks with the lights off during the drill. So, yes, the loss of life in Newton, CT has had an impact on my family.
- Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
- Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
- Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
- Get armor-piercing bullets off the streets
- Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crimes
- End the freeze on gun violence research
- Provide more resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans for our schools
- Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people