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Here at Sports of Boston, we want to keep the focus on sports and stay away from politics. Politics are just too divisive and too emotional. Sports arguments usually have just a few angles. Political arguments have angles, levels, agendas, religions and more beliefs that I want to mention here. As a website, we had to contribute something. So, I decided I would give an opinion that to me is not about politics. It’s about common sense.
I am the father of two beautiful girls, both under the age of ten. They are my life; they are my greatest joys and the source of constant worry. Every morning I drop them off at school and I watch them walk through the front door. For me and many parents, it will be hard in the coming months and years not to think of Newtown, Connecticut when we say good-bye in the morning as our children begin their school day. When I was their age, I used to walk to school with my friends. Some afternoons I walked home by myself. Those times were different and we worry more today because we have been raised in a world where that worry is legitimate.
We have more freedoms, but we also have more knowledge that a bad thing can happen at any time. The cable-news cycle lets us know sometimes to our detriment if there is shooting at an Oregon mall or an accident on a freeway in Los Angeles. While this may be an achievement in news coverage, it’s just another fear, worry or indifference for the average American. Sixteen years ago in Dunblane, Scotland there was a similar tragedy to the horror that happened on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. How many of you remember? I was just out of college and to be honest I don’t recall even seeing it on the news. If that were today, there would be nonstop media coverage of the event. And that’s not a bad thing, especially when young children, our most precious treasure, are involved.
What happened in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School was one of this country’s greatest tragedies. It should be remembered alongside 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The mass murder of children is something we associate with the most evil people in the world. It sounds like something you would have read about in history book that depicted the atrocities at Nazi Concentration camps during World War II. The carnage from Sandy Hook is over and while we grieve, we need to discuss the root causes of this tragedy. So you need to put it all on the table: guns, mental illness, violent movies, violent video games and a loss of faith in God or whatever moral code we live by in our society. A horror such as this can never be just one thing.
Similar to 9/11, the world, or more specifically America, has changed again. Full disclosure, I usually vote Republican. I consider myself a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. The reason I mention that, is because to me this shouldn’t be a political issue. There were never guns in my house growing up in Massachusetts. So as an adult I never felt the necessity or desire to have one in the house. I have heard a lot of comparisons between gun control laws in America and Europe. Too many people, especially those on TV, seem to forget we are not Europe. We have 300 million people in this country and many stark differences among our citizens. Whether you are from Cosmopolitan New York or rural West Virginia, this horror needs discussion. In some states, hunting is part of the culture. It’s not my thing, but I am okay with Americans being allowed to possess guns under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
That’s where it ends and for me. For the first time in a while, President Obama and I are in full agreement; something must be done. Yes, the video games and movies are too violent. The Hollywood Liberals need to take their heads out of the sand and accept they are part of the problem and not always the solution. It’s not just the guns. Mental illness clearly is a factor in all this. Unfortunately, we can diagnose mental illness but we can’t diagnose if that illness will endanger others. So what’s left? What can we control? Well, we can control semi-automatic weapons and body armor to start. I could list all the crazy gun rights stuff I heard all weekend from people breaking into your house to the government dragging you away. Let’s be real for a second. The average American doesn’t need a semi-automatic weapon, and if the safeguarding of this right is your cause, then maybe you need to re-evaluate yourself.
I heard over the weekend, well if the government takes your semi-automatic weapons, what else do they take. My answer: “I don’t know, I’m still too busy crying over the six- and seven-year-old babies who won’t be around for the Holidays this year or any year.”
Now, this issue is a lot more than guns. It’s guns, violence and the Youtube culture we live in. There is no doubt in my mind that the infamous celebrity that accompanies any tragedy plays into this act. Unfortunately, it is going to me more difficult to put the violent video games, movies, and declining culture back into Pandora’s box. So let’s start with the semi-automatic weapons and work from there.
It is said if you want to cut a deal, get the lawyers out of the way. This time let’s get the politicians out of the way. Let’s get the real American people involved, and maybe some of the parents of Newtown, Connecticut. Maybe steps to prevent another tragedy might quell 1/1000th of the pain that they will forever feel. Let’s call it the Newtown Law. It’s just a small step, because there is no cure-all, as we will never be perfectly safe. Hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction.