For the sake of nothing really, let’s call the school that Miss T and Bun Bun attend Hogwarts. The other morning, Miss T told me about a site on Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook – some social media site – called “Hogwarts’ Confessions”. On it, students can anonymously tell other students that they’re pretty or smart or reveal that they ‘totally’ love someone on campus, or even that Mr. So-and-So is the best teacher ever. Knowing the full freedom of the world-wide-web, it sounded to me like an opportunity for bullying, or simple snarky comments that might lead down a dark and dusty road. It was anonymous and so potentially a bad idea, even if its intentions were noble and sincere.
Goldie jumped down my throat, telling me not to make a big deal out of it and that not all kids were evil, ready to write something awful about someone else whenever the opportunity presented itself. I agreed with the sentiment – I think most kids are good – but I explained about being pro-active, about anticipating trouble before it happened. She heard me, though she didn’t want to.
There’s a lot to be said for anticipation. In sports, the best players are the ones who know their next move because they anticipate where the ball or their opponent is going. The best drivers anticipate what the cars around them are doing and avoid accidents because they’re ready to turn the wheel when the old man in the Chrysler decides to change lanes without looking. It’s about imagining a scenario before it happens and preparing to react.
Earthquakes, like the one we had the other day here in Los Angeles, are a good example. We can’t predict the timing of the next one but we can put straps on our water heaters and secure our bookcases to the wall so they don’t fall over. We can insist legislatively that gas meters have an automatic shut-off valve in the event of shaking. We put a second story on our house five years ago but not before giant earthquake ‘pads’ – enormous amounts of concrete – were poured beneath the foundation so that when Studio City starts to rock and roll, our house only sways. We didn’t have a choice; it was required by law.
Everywhere you turn, there is legislation in place so that when our best intentions to do a thing – put in smoke detectors, for instance – fail us, the law steps in and says, “You can’t have this until you do this.” It’s regulation to protect us from physical harm and it’s a good thing. Sometimes the authorities go overboard – not all the doors in my house can accommodate a wheelchair – but the intentions are noble. Not so when it comes to guns.
Yes indeed, this is a gun control post and will be the first of many. Why? Because the next Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, and James Holmes has already been born. And put aside mass murder for a moment and consider 2,172 individuals have been killed since January 1st, 2014. How about we anticipate and do what we can to lessen that number? How about we agree that guns in the wrong hands often lead to death, and demonstrate a proactive approach? Let’s get the conversation going, like Moms Demand Action has, until the leaders of the NRA, those immorally irresponsible men determined to arm every American, stop controlling it.
Knowledge is power, so let’s inform. There are 313 million Americans versus 4 million members of the NRA. Sensible gun control legislation is possible but only if we insist that our congressional representatives do the right thing – and fewer guns in fewer hands is the right thing.
There are three items I’d like you to consider today:
- President Obama’s very impressive, very deserving choice for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is likely to withdraw his nomination soon because of the NRA. He had the gall once upon a time to mention the toll gun violence takes upon this country’s healthcare system. Congressional representatives – mostly Republican, but a few Democrats as well – quake in fear of the NRA’s wrath and report cards and will not support Murthy.
- Op-Ed columnist Joe Nocera has been writing The Gun Report weekly for the New York Times since February of 2013, not long after Newtown. It is illuminating, it is sickening, it is inspiring. I will continue to link to it. Click HERE for this week’s column.
- In considering anticipatory action, one must think of Newtown killer Adam Lanza. He was a profoundly disturbed young man – read about him in the words of his father in this week’s New Yorker article – who never, ever should have had access to guns. His mother must bear some responsibility for his crime, which included her murder. His troubling behavior combined with easy access to guns in his own home was a tragic combination. In the vein of “If you see something, say something”, someone who knew them, including the father, should have removed those guns from his house. And don’t tell me Lanza would have found a way to purchase guns anyway. We don’t know that. We do know he didn’t have to.
Until next time, please discuss and share.