Rivers of ink have raged, almost as the rivers of blood that flowed all too freely have now stilled. I don't know when is, or even if there is, a right time to wade in to a discussion on a tragedy as raw as that of Sandy Hook School, where those killed are only now being buried, where their families have not even begun to really grieve. Parents of children are being forced to come to terms with a reality that none of us should ever have to face. Families of adults who died protecting the innocent battle with conflicting emotions; pride in the bravery displayed by their loved ones fighting for space in amongst the utter sadness at their deaths.
And in the midst of it all, the all-too-familiar rhetoric begins. Pro-gun versus anti-gun is too simplistic. It's like saying that there are those who wish to live in a constant state of war against an enemy and those who want peace with the very same. In reality, everyone wants peace. It's just a question of how to get to that state. Rhetoric alone will not answer the questions that will race around the minds of a nation, particularly a nation in mourning.
I have only questions, no answers, but feel the need to raise them here, if only as an outlet. I struggle to understand why this happens. Why it happens in America. Why is it that I live in a country where guns are a part of the daily view, yet we have mercifully been spared the awful scenes that have now been shown all over the world.
I am torn. Torn between believing that weapons should be available so that it is not only the criminals and terrorists who possess them, and believing that they should be almost impossible to come by. Several times in the past, terrorist incidents in Israel have been halted by a passer-by who happened to be there and happened to be armed. Right place, right time. On the other hand, the readily available weapons allow for easier access to those who would use them to harm the innocent.
However, one cannot walk into a gun shop here and buy an assault rifle "off-the-rack." The number of civilians carrying weapons is actually surprisingly low. Assault rifles are seen in the streets, but they are carried either by members of the armed forces or by members of response teams in the more volatile parts of the land. They can't just be stored at home as yet another item on a list of fixtures and fittings. Licenses are hard to come by and are enforced by strict regulation.
Arguments will appear on every media outlet, on social media, in conversations between neighbours and friends. Both sides will voice their opinion, all too often based on that cyclical rhetoric, bandied about by populace and politician alike. Slogans don't solve the problem, they just accentuate and polarise it. They certainly do not reunite grieving families with those that they have lost. Falling back on rights is as helpful as quoting often irrelevant statistics. It is, however, clear that something has to change, probably on both sides of the great gun divide.
I don't have the answers. I may not even be in a position to ask the questions. I do know one thing for sure. I never want to see these scenes again. Not as a parent, not as a news reader, and not as a paramedic. Not on my own doorstep, nor on anybody else's.
Yet another community will have to rebuild itself, brick-by-brick, one family at a time, united in grief for now, but hopefully in strength in the future. And all the while, the answers must be found to prevent anyone else from facing yet another unspeakable tragedy.