The Death of Our Children – Will We Act ?

Gentle Reader –

In March of this year I inserted into this blog a brief piece by Mr. Leonard Pitts on the Trayvon Martin shooting.  You may remember that this was a young black man shot to death by a “neighborhood watch” member.  Mr. Martin’s “crime” seemed to be walking on the sidewalk unarmed; this case – nine months later – is still unresolved as far as I can tell.

Talking heads were quick to comment on this case – as they always are – it wasn’t racism, gun control would not have mattered, and on and on…….

Today, there are 26 dead – 18 children – resultant from a young man with several guns, reported to be both handguns and a rifle.  Eighteen children dead.  Eight adults dead.  All of this transpired at an elementary school.

Will President Obama have the audacity to demand gun and ammunition control ? Will the news-makers and reporters chalk this up just to a crazed individual ? An individual who would have killed with or without guns ?  Will the NRA claim that if only all of us were more heavily armed, none of this would have happened ?

We are a foolish nation, a foolish and pathetic people, if we do not recognize that we are in deep, deep trouble.

Who were these eighteen children ?

An astronaut, a physician, a nurse, a physicist, a policeman, a CEO, an artist, a violinist, a cellist, a rock musician, a novelist, an electrician, a plumber, a Marine, a landscape architect, a scientist, a farmer, a teacher.

They were my children, my grandchildren, and yours.  They were my nieces and nephews, and yours. They were the children of my friends and family, and yours.

All of these children, potential Nobel laureates, future productive members of our society, are gone.

These children will never know another kiss.  They will never know the caress of a lover.  They will never know old age and grandchildren.  There is so much they will never know.

All because of a crazed young man with three guns.

The answer ? There are several.  Gun and ammunition control are but a piece of the answer.  Mental health services – remember how quickly we cut those services years ago –  are a piece of this puzzle.  And then there is technology; I thank my Marine Lance Corporal son for this information.  It appears that all major gun manufacturers have patents on finger-print identifiable gun safetys.  Why are these not deployed ?  Why are they not mandatory on all weapons ?

Why will the State of Florida soon give out it millionth concealed weapons permit ?

Are we brave enough to begin to get control of this epidemic ?  Are our leaders brave enough ?  Will we provide them with support when the NRA and the wing-nuts go on the attack ?

Gentle reader, what if one of these children were yours ? Mine ?

What do you think ?

What is wrong with us ?

About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the past approximately 10 years, until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director of Critical Care Medicine in PA. While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". You are welcome to respond to him at ajlayon@gmail.com.
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