It has been a year since the massacre of Sandy Hook. A year which has seen 23 mass shootings, according to USA Today. In the year since the tragedy, MSNBC reports that at least 745 children have been killed by gun violence. A billboard, hanging on Interstate 90 in Massachusetts, has counted the number of gun related deaths from December 14, 2012 to December 14, 2013. As of this posting, 32,833 people have been killed by guns in this country this year. That number could fill the seats of Fenway park in Boston. It is the population of a small town in Anywhere, USA. In the year since Sandy Hook, the Congress of the United States of America has passed ZERO gun control laws. In fact, there have been over 70 laws passed by state legislatures which have loosened gun buying restrictions.
Sandy Hook was supposed to be a wake-up call to the American people. It was supposed to show that, while it is Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, it is a responsibility as well. Yet, nothing has been done. In a year which has seen laws passed which makes it harder for a woman to seek reproductive freedoms, made it tougher for the poor to get financial assistance, and more difficult for people to vote; it has seen a relaxation in state level gun laws. When it becomes easier to purchase a gun than to vote, serious questions must be asked. But, lawmakers are silent.
In the year since Sandy Hook, a woman was shot dead while looking for help after a car accident. In the year since Sandy Hook, an elderly Alzheimer’s patient was shot dead because he went to the wrong home. In the year since Sandy Hook, a promising and bright high school student was shot while hanging out with friends at a park. In this year, since Sandy Hook, a man, who chased an unarmed teenager and shot him, was allowed to walk free.
From an outside observer, it might seem this country places owning a gun as a priority to that of human life. The mere mention of gun control sends people flocking to gun stores and shows, stocking-up on the latest weapons because of a fear the government is going to take away their right to own a semi-automatic machine gun. What kind of country values human life so little that a piece of mettle takes priority over the lives of our families and children? Doesn’t every American Citizen have the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?”
Sandy Hook was supposed to be a wake-up call for this nation. A warning that without the proper regulation, these kinds of massacres will become more and more frequent. Sandy Hook should have taught us that instead of clinging to a gun maybe it was time to put it down, so our children and families would remain safe. Yes, the Constitution grants every American the right to own a gun, but with those rights comes responsibility. But, maybe this says something about our country? Have we become a country where responsibility no longer matters? When there is a car accident, do we not look for someone else to blame, instead of looking at how fast we were driving? When a man develops lung cancer, does he not want to sue the cigarette maker, instead of acknowledging he was the one who smoked? When an employee does not get a promotion, does said employee not blame the other person who was offered the job? Sandy Hook was supposed to remind us of personal accountability.
In the year after Sandy Hook, nothing has changed.