At the time of writing this the news from Newtown in Connecticut is still filtering in. It is difficult for anyone with an ounce of humanity to absorb this latest tragedy. I believe people in Dunblane will particularly feel the pain that the community of Newtown feels today.
I’m not going to speculate on the motivations of the individual who perpetrated this horrendous act of mass murder against innocents. This is not the first time a school has been rocked to its foundations by the mass slaughter of students and teachers. This tragedy seems different somehow, mostly because of the innocence and young age of the victims. Most of the children who have been murdered were between the ages of 4 and 9 or 10. Many parents face the loss of a precious baby, many children will look at the empty chair at the dinner table in days to come, wondering how this could have happened?
It is not my intention to point fingers and play the blame game, however, I will say this. I firmly believe that the politicians, the arms industry and the gun lobbyists bear collective responsibility for this tragedy. Time and again they refuse to countenance any legislation on gun control, misusing the second amendment and claiming that any form of gun control is tantamount to big government encroaching on their rights and liberties. Well congratulations. You gave somebody the liberty to encroach on the most fundamental right of 27 citizens today, the right to life. 27 people, 18 of whom were children have been gunned down, with who knows how many more injured, in danger of losing their lives, traumatised, etc. The government, arms industry and guns lobby have failed the citizens of your country. Citizens who were going about on their lawful business, murdered because you will not address the issue of arms control.
How many times have we had this situation, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Colorado earlier this summer? Every time this happens the politicians hide behind weasel words and state, “Now is not the right time to discuss gun control”, they claim they don’t want to politicise a tragedy, they want to give the grieving community privacy and dignity. Yet here we are, today is the culmination of their inaction and political cowardice. There is no reason for any citizen to feel their liberties encroached by reasonable controls over their ability to purchase fire arms and ammunition. Nobody blinks when they aren’t allowed to purchase a tank or missile battery for their back garden. Aren’t these arms? If you can control purchase of these arms then how does this not extend to weaponry which is clearly manufactured for one purpose and one purpose only, to kill and maim.
Enough is enough. For the sake of the citizens who have entrusted you with their welfare it is time to face up to your responsibilities. The best memorial to these children, the most fitting respect you can afford to their families and loved ones is to start legislating and enforcing tighter controls over what weapons and ammunition can be purchased by citizens of your country.
Finally I would just like to say that my heart goes out to everybody affected by this tragedy today. The survivors, the families who are grieving, the anxious families of the injured, the law enforcement and medical staff who have had to try to protect and save the children and staff of the Sandy Hook elementary school. My thoughts are with them all and I can only hope that they receive the support and care they need to collectively get through the pain of this tragedy.