As a New Yorker during 9/11, I went through an incredible period of depression. I thought about it constantly. Lives lost. Families shattered. A true symbol of The Big Apple and America brought down. The experience sadly pushed me to explore new destinations to live with my wife. At the same time, I was amazed by the spirit and resolve of people across the United States and the world that came together to support one another — as I referenced in my post for The3Six5 site last year.
Flash forward to 12/14/12: another senseless act to harm others, but this time most of the casualties were children. As I posted on Facebook, I can’t ever understand why someone would go and hurt young children. As a parent, this scares the hell out of me. As a person, this reinforces my thoughts that we have more to worry about with the crazy people inside the country than the extremists on the outside. I’m not going to argue with people about gun control — but do think we could explore some more stringent rules in place before anyone can gain access to the bullets!
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of guns, but respect people’s rights to bear arms. At the same time, I’d recommend that everyone read Ezra Klein’s “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States” article in the Washington Post yesterday for some insight on “the numbers.”
The wider tragedy is how, culturally, we’ve come to expect mass murder. Columbine didn’t change us. It conditioned us.
— Dennis K. Berman (@dkberman) December 14, 2012
Keep in mind: I don’t have any clue what the answer is here. But, we need to discuss options. The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown isn’t that ‘x number’ of children lost their lives or were exposed to this tragedy. It’s that even one has been. We need to care for each of them and one another more — every single day. Guess I’m old-fashioned and naive, but I expect kids to be safe and hold onto their innocence for as long as possible. I hate needing to worry even more now when my boys — and all other kids — go off to school.
Children being killed will never be something I can deal with as ‘a random act.’ It should never happen. Ever. Being a parent and feeling helpless is horrible. I give my mom and dad so much credit these days. I don’t know how they did it. Mall shootings. Movie theater attacks. Elementary school massacres. Some say this happens in other places all around the world. I say it’s wrong everywhere. Again, what’s the answer? I don’t know. But, it’s not this. I’m not going to post pictures of those poor kids here — those that were taken from us or those that need to deal with this for the rest of their lives, otherwise I’d be no better than CNN trying to interview them (another disappointment, but that’s another story). One surprising piece of news: former congressional candidate Lee C. Rogers resigned from the NRA. Hopefully, he can work with them instead of against them. Time will tell.
— richardbranson (@richardbranson) December 15, 2012
People will always have different opinions and the foundation of the United States is that we all have a right to express them. I am hoping that both sides of this discussion can come together to make this tragedy and others more than statistics. Whatever the solution is, our children need the adults of this country to be grown-ups and explore options — respectfully.
Please understand: I DON’T WANT TO TAKE GUNS AWAY FROM THOSE THAT USE THEIR RIGHT TO OWN, USE AND SECURE THEM APPROPRIATELY. At the same time, I don’t know how we fix this. I’m just trying to throw the options out there for consideration. I know many people that are law-abiding citizens that support gun legislation and education. With that said, we do need to consider how to deal with the extremes when maniacs or the mentally ill get them with the intent to kill innocent people.
Our number one responsibility is creating an environment for future generations. As a result of what happened in Newtown yesterday, we might have lost the next entrepreneur to create a device we’ll all use one day or the scientist that could have cured cancer and other diseases. One of my business and humanity heroes is Sir Richard Branson. Agree or not, I think his perspective put the things to address on the table. We don’t need to take away rights that many feel are necessary, but we do need better ways to prevent this. Many are going to throw the number of deaths from cars, drinking, drugs, etc out here — yes, those are HUGE challenges also. But, one problem doesn’t mandate how you deal with another. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, folks. Mental health and access to weapons need to be in the equation.
“Now is the time to address gun control legislation, gun violence, and mental health — before we have more blood on our hands.”
~ Sir Richard Branson
For now, many families lost loved ones and many kids lost their childhood innocence. To me, that’s a tragedy I can’t bear to see continue. Let’s figure something out, together … please! Stay safe and take care of each other, folks. The future is uncertain, but I’ll take uncertainty over this any day. We owe this to the future. Let’s figure out ways to make America (and the world) safe(r). As John Lennon said, imagine!
A concerned father, husband, son, brother, friend and citizen