In the wake of Friday’s unprecedented horror that befell the Newtown community, it has been humbling to witness a nation come together to mourn the innocent lives that were taken during what should have been an ordinary day at school. As Connecticut tries to find the right words for friends, neighbors and family members who have been subjected to such unspeakable violence, a new dialogue must emerge to ensure that the memories and legacies of the twenty children and six educators of Sandy Hook Elementary are honored and celebrated.
To that extent, the national dialogue on a host of highly-charged subjects will be forever changed. In the next few weeks, we will be inundated with discussions about gun control, mental health issues, school security, and parental responsibility. And in those conversations, it’s important not to lose sight of the end goal, which is for our country’s leaders to make steps to ensure that such a tragedy is preventable in the future.
Legislators, whether local, state, or Congressional, have a responsibility to these victims to use every tool at their disposal, to include the academic community, to find practical, durable, and impenetrable solutions to the evils of gun violence. There are currently 200 million plus guns in circulation. Now is the time to prevent them from ending up in our children’s schools.
Some say it is too early to talk politics, and that is correct. We should have been talking about common sense gun laws well before a community of innocent lives were taken at gunpoint. Whatever your views on firearms and the Second Amendment, there are ways to make it a little harder for the "bad guy" to acquire a firearm, whether obtained legally or illegally. Programs such as gun “buy-back” or “turn-in” are already in effect throughout the nation, and other such initiatives have yielded empirical evidence that may prove promising in preventing another mass shooting. Now is the time to examine these ideas and set them in motion.
There are no adequate words to describe the loss suffered by the families and friends of the Sandy Hook tragedy. But as the news cycle moves on, and the cameras roll out of Newtown, let’s remember the promises made this week to the victims to honor their memories and to never again let such evil touch our communities.
Selectman, Town of Greenwich