Like the overwhelming majority of Americans right now, I've got last Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on my mind.
It's the first time ever that kindergarten children lost their lives at the hands of a mass murderer in an American place of learning.
This time, along with six adults, twenty children- many six years old, the others seven- were killed.
It's been 37 years since the first time a school shooting taking place here in the United States (it happened in Alaska in 1975) grabbed headlines.
And yes, back then, we were discussing whether or not America's gun-control laws ought to be strengthened.
Since 1975, busloads- planeloads- of people here in this country have been killed by mass murderers...especially at this country's schoolyards and shopping malls.
And every time it happens, we keep asking: "Why?"
We KNOW the reason it keeps taking place.
It's that we sure love those guns here in America. (I mean, the love of guns WAS a founding principle. We didn't break off from England by just talking it out.)
Speaking of England...in 1996, a 43-year-old man invaded an elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and picked off sixteen kindergartners and their teacher. Then he pulled the trigger one more time and bumped himself off.
In time, the British government conducted an investigation...and the inquiry led to laws that ended legal private ownership of handguns in Rob Pattinson's native country.
America's lawmakers don't have the guts to come up with anything close to that kind of a law.
What's more, way too many of the people in Washington are TOO DOGGONE CHICKEN to discuss any of this with the National Rifle Association...much less stand up to the NRA itself.
Well, I'm glad to find out US Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wants to have that talk with NRA officials. (And Manchin admits he's a gun lover.)
It's long been time for lawmakers to have that long, long overdue talk with the gun lobby. And while this country's senators and representatives are at it, they need to also invite officials from the nation's big media companies. (After all, the Adam Lanzas, Allen Muhammads, Jared Loughners, and Robert Hawkinses couldn't enact their sprees if they didn't, at one time or another, see examples on TV or at some neighborhood movieplex.)
And invite rank-and-file citizens, too, by all means...because the experience in each community- urban, suburban, rural- is different in one way or another.
Let's strengthen the gun laws we've already got. Let's make it harder for people to get them. (After all, state after state just got through pushing legislation making it harder to vote- even if that legislation basically backfired!)
You mean to tell me we can't find a place of common ground here in America when it comes to gun control?