I respect the opinion of those who think it’s too early to talk about gun control, but tell that to my ten-year-old. He brought it up. When I asked if he had questions about the tragedy in Sandy Hook, he only had two: Who did this, and why did he have guns? “Only people in the army should have guns,” he explained. I calmly shared what I knew about the shooting and what little we know about Adam Lanza. I told him that there would be a lot of discussion about who should have guns and what kind of guns, and that not everyone agreed on the issue. “Yeah, like hunters,” he concurred. And there’s also the Constitution, I added, to which he responded, “I know, the right to bear arms.” He knew. At which point, I confess, I stated my own political views that such a right was outdated and counter-productive, that while it is indeed people who pull triggers, removing the triggers (guns) themselves would ensure that unstable people could not take innocent lives. “Obviously,” he said. Obviously.
I’m not usually outspoken about my politics, maybe because I work at a University where I earnestly uphold freedom of speech and value a diversity of viewpoints, even when they conflict with my own. I’ve lived in places where there is an active “gun culture,” mainly hunting-related, and understand that good, compassionate people keep guns and respect the power of their weapons. But the gun lobby has served less to uphold the rights of all citizens and more to drown out or intimidate those who believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness depends upon gun control and stricter regulations that only begins with an assault weapons ban. I’m not saying anything new, and I have grumbled in my own home every time there has been a senseless gun-related tragedy. Yes, our proximity and kinship with Sandy Hook brought this home, and my ten-year-old’s small voice deserves to be heard. Too early to talk about gun control? Isn't it too late?