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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?

Or frozen?

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.


Fix this

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.

Organizations: Connecticut school

Geographic location: United States of America

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Recent comments

  • Curtis traverse
    January 01, 2013 - 19:20

    Very well written Keith, as only a parent of a child so young could write. The struggle here is one that all humanity should bear the burden of. It is never good enough for us to accept the fact that someone can kill a child so easily anywhere in this world. The world's children deserve better then that. There is no magic bullet to solve this problem. It requires effort from every level of government and every class of people. We should never stop talking about this tragedy and these children until that threat is gone.

  • Herb Morrison
    December 31, 2012 - 08:23

    Effectively Said. Hope that someone with the power and influence necessary to prevent such a tragedy from happening again is reading and listening.

  • Ron Tizzard
    December 31, 2012 - 07:24

    Keith, I hear your plea, and on principle, I support your sensitivities. But, we both know, as well as, many others do....that it's not going to happen i.e. gun control to the point of extinguishing the potential, senseless murders of innocent people. In relative terms, people die unexpedly throughout the world every virtual minute of the day (somebody else can chase the stats on that); and there will never be a law that can stop it. People kill people every day, by many means, in numbers of which we have no would be an interesting stat to follow for a while. That said, people will kill people to the end of they have from the beginning of time. All we can do do Keith, is what you, and I have now done now i.e. let the millions of voices be heard around the world; let the governments be heard that PEACE is waht life is about, there is no life without it in any form. That said, there have to be better and uniformed international regulations concerning weapons-like means of destruction. That said, the reality is, MURDER WILL NEVER BE IRRADICATED; while we might be able to reduce the instances of mass murders! But, in any event, we have to keep talking about it, that's mandatory for change to take place.