The tragedy in Connecticut was nothing less than that — a tragedy. When I heard the news Friday, I did the same as everyone else with a Facebook page; I immediately posted my thoughts on the topic.
“There is a special place in Hell for those who harm animals and children.”
That’s all I had to say on the matter. And still that’s about all I have to comment on the horrific shooting deaths of 26 people, gunned down for no reason that makes sense to anyone of sound mind.
What would transpire over the next several hours and days, however, was just as ugly in my opinion. The reaction by what would seem to be half of America was just as hateful and just as hurtful as those gunshots.
My simple message on Facebook quickly devolved into a political commentary about gun control. As did other people’s messages. Many jumped into the gun control message off the bat, completely ignoring the lives lost in Connecticut.
Mind you, my message was neither pro-gun or anti-gun. It was anti death. And it was anti-horrible people. And it was pro-love. That’s something I thought we could all agree on. But I was apparently wrong.
We have no time to agree on anything in America. We can’t even take a weekend to mourn the loss of innocents. We must take the first available opportunity to break out our talking points, bang our chests and shout to the world that we are right — about whatever it is we believe.
Just as the posts came stating that there’s no reason for us to have handguns, so came the posts saying that if only teachers could carry guns, the loss would have been minimized. Just as the statistics were rolled out showing that there are practically no gun deaths in other countries, the stories rolled out about armed civilians stopping mass casualties in suburban shopping malls because they had the sense about them to “pack heat.”
The television pundits salivated, finally having a topic to discuss that would divide us so evenly as the election had. Our division, after all, fuels their ratings.
And lost in it all were the 20 children and six adults who wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas this year. Lost in it all were the families who would have to plan funerals rather than attend holiday parties. Lost in it all was the fact that while America was arguing over whether the problem was guns or bullets or mental health, the friends and families of those who were killed couldn’t care less what caused the deaths of their loved ones. They just wanted someone to hold on to. And make them believe that all was not lost — even if everything they cared for was.
There is a time and a place for the debate over gun control. It isn’t now. And it isn’t in Connecticut. Let us first mourn our dead.
Scott Leffler is a father and a son. That’s all that matters this week. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.