One year ago today Adam Lanza, a 20-year old mentally disturbed youth, shot and killed his mother at the home they shared together. Then he gathered up a bunch of guns that were legally purchased and kept in the home and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.
Lanza shot his way into the school with an AR-15 assault rifle and proceeded to kill twenty children and six adult staff members at the school; later, he would kill himself. This was the second deadliest mass shooting by a single individual in American history and the second deadliest mass murder at a U.S. elementary school.
As I sit here writing this post, we’re learning about another shooting at Arapahoe High School in suburban Denver. This one was apparently less deadly although probably not any less traumatic for the students involved. Interestingly enough, Arapahoe High School is about 10 miles from Littleton, Colorado, where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students and one teacher in a rampage at Columbine High School in April, 1999.
In spite of all the good intentions expressed at the time of the Newtown massacre, not much has been done since then to prevent these kind of shootings from ever happening again. Not surprisingly, I suppose, gunmaker profits are up this past year.
At the state level, the New York Times reported earlier this week that there have been 109 gun laws passed in the various state legislatures since Newtown – 39 tightened gun restrictions while 70 loosened them. Meanwhile, at the Federal level, a bill to expand background checks for potential gun buyers was defeated by a Republican filibuster.
The lack of action to curb gun violence is due primarily to the fanaticism of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the unwillingness of gun owners in the United States to accept any restrictions on gun ownership, however benign. Quite simply, the NRA and its supporters don’t care that guns are used to murder innocent people routinely in this country. Their constitutional right to commit mass murder must be protected at all costs.
Most of you reading this post are probably also reading my little baseball tale, Summer Boys, Summer Dreams; and if you’re wondering why you should care about what happened at Newton, take a look up above. That’s an image of Jack Pinto, one of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary; and if you would like to know what was lost when Jack died, you might want to read this article to find out.