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Tue Jun 24, 2014, 11:31 AM

How I became an avid gun control supporter.

Last edited Tue Jun 24, 2014, 03:01 PM - Edit history (1)

December 14, 2012. It was a Friday. My daughter dropped off my Grand Daughter (3) after getting her two sons (6 and 10) to school on her way to work as she does every week day. Itís just after 8:20. Just another day to spend holding my Baby Girl on my lap and watching the talking heads on MSNBC and CNN. Baby Girl will be the best informed kid in Kindergarten by osmosis.

About 9:30 the networks shift to a school in Connecticut. Police and SWAT are on the scene at a school and there are reports of shots fired inside. Itís an elementary school. My first thought was that some asshole who got fired was taking vengeance on management. Baby Girl asks for orange juice. Sippy cup in hand we settle back into my oversized easy chair and switch to CNN. They're covering the same story.

By 10:00 there are reports of some children being among the casualties. Gee, I think, is this bastard so clumsy or inept that he misses the janitor and hurts a little kid? Baby Girl needs her fuzzy blanket. Back in the chair we switch over to MSNBC. Chris Jansing was on the scene. Thatís quick, I think, getting from NY to CT on such short notice, must be more going on than just a disgruntled ex-employee.

By about noon the details start filling in. The Principal is dead of gunshot wounds and there are multiple children shot. A reporter says that 15 to 18 students, first or second graders, are casualties along with several teachers and administrators. Itís clear that this isnít just a pissed off ex-employee.

Kids and teachers stream out of the building, kids all holding hands in an unbroken chain. Parents are now on the scene and the look of fear and anguish on their faces makes the whole thing somehow personal. By now tears are streaming down my cheeks. Baby Girl asks in a worried voice, ďWhatís wrong Grandad?Ē Donít worry Baby, itís just something on TV.

By mid afternoon the coroner is on scene and the body count firms up. Twenty kids, all first graders, are dead along with six teachers. How this man can maintain his composure while delivering news like this is beyond me. Then he says, ďthereíll be time for that later . . . ď Police and coroner go through the details of matching children, living and dead, to parents. Images of unimaginable grief are on the TV but by now itís all so surreal Iím having an out of body experience seeing myself holding a three year old watching TV and sobbing.

At 3:35 and the two boys have walked home from school a few blocks away. One look at me and they both go into panic mode. Whatís wrong? Is everybody all right? Mommy, Daddy, Nana? Itís okay, just some really bad things on TV. Come here and sit with me for a minute.

Mom arrives to retrieve her children. Sheís wearing dark glasses and her face is a bit puffy. She says, ďI have this information but donít know how to process it or what to do with it.Ē Not much more passes between us. She studiously avoids being overly emotional with the kids because she sees that theyíre pretty freaked out by me. How the hell did she get so strong and smart about dealing with her children?

My wife gets home a few hours later. Dinner is cold cuts and cheese, Iím not up to eating anything myself. Later, in bed, the images of these childrenís last few minutes of life, the fear screaming and calling for mommy and daddy come to me and I break down into an uncontrolled sobbing mess. That still happens now and then but usually itís just a quiet cry.

Those who think this will go away, that Gabby Giffords or the parents of Sandy Hook or Richard Martinez or me will go away are living in a fantasy world. Until Sandy Hook I didnít know that 30,000 people die by gun violence every year. I didnít know that more toddlers under five are killed with guns every year than police officers on active duty. I didnít know that more women have died by guns in the hands if intimate partners than soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq over the same time period.

But I know it now. And Iím not going away.

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Reply How I became an avid gun control supporter. (Original post)
flamin lib Jun 2014 OP
daleanime Jun 2014 #1
billh58 Jun 2014 #2
tosh Jun 2014 #3
freshwest Jun 2014 #4
billh58 Jun 2014 #5

Response to flamin lib (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 11:39 AM

1. K&R....

I hear you, even now just thinking about it.

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Response to flamin lib (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 12:08 PM

2. K&R

Thank you for saying what needs to be said and understood by all responsible gun owners. Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in this nation, and we can (and must) address the problem with sensible gun control regulations.

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Response to flamin lib (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 07:00 PM

3. " And Iím not going away."

Me either. Ever.

Beautifully written story, btw.

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Response to flamin lib (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 11:35 PM

4. Got me crying again. No, we're not going away.

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Response to flamin lib (Original post)

Wed Jun 25, 2014, 12:47 PM

5. Bump n/t

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