No Joy in this Jolly Season

In 1989, I made a bold decision to complete my college career in a part of the country I knew well from history books and trivia games, etc. I chose to transfer to a school located in Vermont where I would be matched with two other Southerners (Little Rock and Miami) and three guys from Connecticut. My roommate was from Newtown, just across the way from Sandy Hook, CT.

The first thing that you recall about Newtown is the flagpole, smack dab in the center of Rt 25. Down from the flagpole was the entrance/exit area to I-84. If one drives over I-84 from Newtown, you end up in a small hamlet/village called Sandy Hook.

In all the years of visiting or trekking through Newtown, Sandy Hook was never a destination until 2008 when I played a gig there. It was a bright, beautiful sunny Sunday, idyllic in every sense. We performed for a small but appreciative audience and once the gig was done, we all made our way home to resume the rest of what Sunday had to offer. It was the first & last time I was in Sandy Hook before coming home last year.

There are many communities like Newtown and Sandy Hook throughout Connecticut and the United States, and in these various communities, unfortunately, there lives and lurks an unknown menace waiting to erupt thanks to easy access to guns. Whether temporarily or permanently insane or enraged, anytime any of those individuals meets up with a gun of choice, the outcome causes us to visit the same outrage we feel each time one of these incidents occurs. We also have to suffer the outrageously indefensible defence offered by so-called gun advocates that people, not guns, kill people thanks to the not-so-restrictive lack of gun control guidelines that do not clarify who when and how many arms may be sold/purchased to any one individual. True, in this case, the guns purchased were registered to the killer/shooter’s mother who, herself, was a victim of her son’s violent outburst. At this point, I have nothing else to say on this issue b/c anything I or anyone else says cannot sway the folks hell-bent on keeping us stockpiled to the hilt with weapons we don’t need.

These weapons also make their way, illegally, into communities with a significantly lower socio-economic demographic than the one affected today, and the tragedy is no less hurtful than what went down in Sandy Hook. Today, it was a school. It could be a courtyard in a housing project or the corner store in a bad neighborhood. It doesn’t matter where the guns end up. What matters is that they keep ending up being used by folks who have no regard for the sanctity of human life, and whether deranged or defending some imaginary turf, the outcomes are just as tragic.

As a victim of gun terrorism and the son of a victim of gun terrorism — both my father and I were held up at gunpoint at approx. the same age in our early 30’s — I know how lucky I was — we were — to walk away from a situation that usually ends up with one of us lying dead or severely injured. And yet, neither one of us has made it our business to own a gun or get trained to use one. I can’t speak for my father, but I know that it is a wiser decision not to be around a gun, for who of us knows how we will really respond or react when confronted by some extreme situation.

I wish the mother of this young man had thought more than twice about making these guns available to him. I wish it would have been harder for her to purchase assault-style weapons in the first place. I wish it would have been harder for the young man who played for the Kansas City Chiefs to get his gun(s), or the man in Oregon who charged into a mall food court, or the unstable grad student in Colorado who sprayed a crowded movie theater with gunfire, or the guy in Arizona who killed a federal judge and put Rep. Gabby Gifford within inches of death. I wish we’d all stop pretending that a rational response or solution will come and resolve these situations that recur like bad dreams each year, or every day, depending on who you are and where you live. I wish I could tell you that I believe that a rational response will come some time soon or at all, but each time anyone attempts — ATTEMPTS — to begin a reasonable dialog about gun sales and revising guidelines regarding the sale of guns, so-called 2nd Amendment radicals rise to the mics to shout down any “opposition.”

And each time these debates end, the results are the same — no changes, no clarifications, no rhyme-or-reason. So why are we surprised, why are we outraged, why are we frustrated when we can’t get any movement to change what is clearly, obviously a ridiculous rationale re: what kinds of weapons can be sold?

Let’s start at this issue: ban all future sales of assault weapons, especially sales of such weapons to the general public; corral the domestic illegal arms dealers and give them extreme punishments and sentences; curtail the resale and reuse of existing weapons.

And maybe, as Chris Rock once suggested, maybe we should make the ammo so expensive, no one can afford it. I don’t offer his suggestion as an attempt at levity in this serious moment. I reach for it to match an absurd no-holds-barred gun policy with an equally absurd solution. At least if we followed Rock’s suggestion, there’d be far fewer deaths, be it the streets of urban cities or the safe havens like Sandy Hook.

Prayers and positive vibes to everyone in the Newtown-Sandy Hook area, all of CT and the Unites States.

Author: Renard Boissiere

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Crime, Events, Politics, Law

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