The other day was the anniversary of the mass murder in Newtown Connecticut. There was great hope for changes following that disaster, the possibility that “common sense” might prevail and reasonable legislation might be passed.
But this is America. A real live common sense bill, written by a Republican and a Democrat, that might have had some effect, didn’t make it into law despite popular approval, while New York governor Andrew Cuomo shot himself in the foot with his hastily passed bill. Beyond driving several large, tax-paying companies out of New York, Cuomo’s law, which only allowed weapons that don’t exist, made clear what a fool he is.
There were several insane images in the days after Newtown, legislators displaying weapons in grotesquely unsafe ways only made it clear that these are the people who shouldn’t be allowed to handle firearms. Which led to the unveiling of the hypocrisy of government, Dianne Feinstein, a proponent of gun bans, not only owns but carries a weapon that she banned.
The idiocy of our elected officials is part of what makes people fight against gun legislation so passionately, ultimately killing common sense legislation like the Toomey/Manchin bill. When you stand before the public and announce that you have just passed a healthcare bill that you haven’t even read, voter’s may think you’re a fool, but they still would like to see some progress in healthcare. When you start banning weapons because of how they look, and making statements that indicate you know nothing about a subject and you’re restricting the access of people who do understand the subject it tends to engender more anger. Excuse me, you don’t know what that is, and you want to prevent me from owning it?
Responsible people get a little nervous when they’re lumped in with irresponsible people. It’s rather insulting. I taught my children to handle firearms, and taught them that the damage a firearm can inflict in a second is irreversible. I tried to teach them to be responsible members of society. None of the people involved in shootings of late have been responsible people. Very few of the legislators trying to control violence by removing one tool are responsible people. They just want to do something, I’d rather they do something effective.
Some good things have followed the Newtown shootings. I am saddened that it took the deaths of twenty children to accomplish these things, but some folks are exceptionally dense. Two of those people are John Hockenberry, host of “The Takeaway” on NPR, and his guest on Friday 13 December, Lindsay Gerakaris, a public school teacher from New York City. In a segment bemoaning safety in schools, the two whined about how sad it is that school teachers need to remain vigilant. Gerakaris says at one point “I have to be suspicious of any stranger walking through the school”. Dozens of school shootings, child abductions, and sexual assaults, and finally she’s suspicious of strangers. And it’s a burden. All of us idiots who had thought our children were safe in the classroom with a teacher looking out for them were not envisioning this woman as the teacher.
The changes that will make schools safer cannot be legislated. They require common sense, which everyone can talk about but few can engage in. We need to be aware of our surroundings. We need to be able to obtain help for obviously troubled people. We need to instill a sense of responsibility in society. Responsibility for ourselves, responsibility for those around us, and responsibility for our actions. I’m not talking about “snooping” on each other, I’m talking about caring about each other to know what’s going on.
The government is not going to save us, They are not capable. There have been laws in place that would have prevented the majority of recent tragedies, so new laws are not the answer, enforcing existing laws is a good start. Sitting down to dinner with the family every night will probably accomplish even more.