I try to imagine what my son, now almost five, would have done had he been in the hallway of that Connecticut school on Dec. 14 and spotted the maniac walking toward him, gun drawn and trained.
Would he have run?
Would he even have understood the threat?
Would he have said, “Hi,” or “What are you doing?”
Would he have smiled at something he found funny about his appearance?
Would he have laughed?
Such is the uncomprehending innocence of the children, but what about the gunman?
No more understanding
Surely there would have been no
reasoning with him that day, as he approached the school; far, far too late then.
He had no more rational understanding of what was about to happen than my son would have.
How and when can we find him accountable then?
When he began having these sick thoughts, should he have sought help?
Would he have known to seek help?
Would he have been able to find any?
Was there any?
What about the gun industry? Are they culpable?
They are obeying the law, after all. Reports so far indicate that every gun used was acquired legally.
If Americans change the Second Amendment, would that open the gates to change others?
Like the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech? I would not want to see that.
I am Canadian, not American, but when I see children die needlessly I feel a sorrow that obliterates borders and glares at such injustice with the existential rage of simply another member of the human race.
Children are not permitted to vote in our democracies because they would not even understand what they were doing, let alone why or how.
This is because children are, as we always say, innocent. They are citizens of no nation; rather, they are citizens of the world entire.
With that in mind, I say to the United States of America, on behalf of and in unison with every other human being on Earth: fix this.
I endorse whatever you see fit and whatever works.
More gun control?
Greater access to mental health services?
Better school security?
Up to you; I have no say in any case.
But do not lamely shrug your shoulders yet again and try to make me believe that the nation that responded so effectively to terrorism, financial crisis and natural disaster cannot figure out how to keep from dying so senselessly the children that live within its borders. Children no different from my own.
Keith Hannaford writes from St. John’s.