I was shocked and saddened as the world was told of the tragic events at Sandy Hook School last week in Connecticut, USA.
As a parent, the news of these young children being killed at school made me sick to my stomach. A school should be a sanctuary, a place of learning and fun. It is where I want my children to be inspired, engaged and to develop a passion for learning.
The heartbreaking stories emerging in the press of heroic teachers and staff at the school just reaffirms that these people are qualified to protect and inspire our new generation. My heart breaks to hear how they fought to keep the children in their care safe. Unfortunately, on this day it was not to be the case for all of them.
As it was confirmed that 20 children, and six adults, lost their lives in an unimaginable tragedy…I had one thought. Is the right to bear arms really worth more than the lives of these innocent children (and adults)? The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
There has been much debate, on Twitter and in the press, that now is the time for ‘gun control’…I am not a citizen of the United States of America, but I firmly believe NOW is the time to make a change.
There can be no justification for citizens to stockpile automatic assault weapons as ‘their right’. According to statistics in a recent Huffington Post article, 40-45% of US households own a gun.
After the shootings, an emotional President Barack Obama promised “meaningful action”, adding: “As a country, we have been through this too many times.” Well, Mr Obama let’s see this action.
Other countries have responded by tightening their gun laws following public outcries in the wake of mass shootings. Access to firearms were restricted in the UK following the 1987 Hungerford massacre and handguns were effectively banned in the aftermath of the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane.
Australia introduced sweeping new gun laws after 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, were shot dead in 1996. Finland, which has some of Europe’s most relaxed firearms legislation and highest rates of gun ownership, placed extra restrictions on handgun permits in the wake of a 2008 college shooting which killed 11.
While atrocities can still occur despite cracking down on guns, take the Anders Behring Breivik’s attack in Norway last year, the key is that the sentence for owning, carrying or using these weapons can be increased and the prevalence of guns in homes will drop dramatically.
I ask that America stands up to the ‘gun bullies’ and finally asks itself; is my right to own a gun greater than the right of an innocent child to a full life?
RIP Sandy Hook victims…
– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female