On Friday, as troops, many from our own community, attempted to spread a sense of idealistic American democracy in regions far from Newtown, Conn., the heart of quintessential America, children hid in closets as their classmates and teachers were shot to death brutally unforgettably.
In the deluge of media that followed these murders, in the cries of confused children, stomachs turned across the nation. Parents waited until the last bell, relieved at the sight of their own children filing peacefully out of the same halls that were once deemed a safe space.
As our grocery stores, our cinemas and, most shockingly, our schools become crime scenes, we have a responsibility to act. As our neighbors, our friends and, most shockingly, our children become victims of senseless violence, we have a responsibility to act. We owe it to the resilient politician from Arizona who will never serve our country again, we owe it to those innocently enjoying a movie premier and, moreover, we owe it to the children who will miss their Christmas pageants, who will never unwrap the presents Santa had brought for them this year.
There is no better time to talk about gun control. In a community so influenced by Fort Drum, in a community with so much dedication to public service, it is not only a responsibility but a civic necessity to demand the reconsideration of the 2nd Amendment. Sandy Hook needs to be remembered or, as we have seen time and time again, it will be repeated. Without legal access to guns, it is much more difficult for criminals to perpetuate such crimes. Without legal access to guns, it is very possible that Fridays tragedy would never have transpired. Without legal access to guns, Sandy Hook students would be learning, making holiday cards and bringing gifts to their loving teachers as elementary students are wont to do on these wintry December days.
When we live in constant fear, we are no longer a country that serves as a beacon of freedom. When our innocent, beautiful, defenseless children are not safe, we are not only a country that is not fulfilling its democratic promises, but we are also a country that is perpetuating archaic regulations in the name of an America that has long since disappeared. When we do not speak up against guns, we are inevitably inviting another Columbine, another Aurora, another Virginia Tech and, as occurred on Friday, another Sandy Hook Elementary School.