I was in Las Vegas for my annual life insurance meeting. I only go to Vegas for meetings. I‘m not much of a gambler, but I enjoy wandering through the casinos. The art, the glitz, the dreamers lost in the potential to walk away rich while everyone around them is losing money – it is a people watcher’s bonanza. And while you are watching, you are being watched. There are cameras everywhere. Some are in plain sight. Some are hidden. And there are the guys, the big guys, with earpieces patrolling the floor.
I always feel safe when I’m in a casino.
Nancy did everything she could to protect herself. She had an extensive collection of guns and semi-automatic rifles. And she knew how to use them. Glock. Sig Sauer, Bushmaster. Nancy had purchased all of them legally. She was safe until she wasn’t. She was killed with one of her instruments of protection.
Adam inherited a cache of firearms that his mother no longer needed. He loaded four of the weapons and drove to a near-by elementary school. The school, Sandy Hook Elementary, was in session. Students K – 4, teachers, and school employees – they were safe, until they weren’t.
The school was locked. He shot his way in. He blew out a hole big enough to walk through. Adam proceeded to murder the Principal, Dawn Hocksprung, who attempted to disarm him, five other adults, and twenty children. The children, ages 6 and 7, were shot multiple times. Early autopsy results reported that each child had been shot between 3 and 11 times with the high-powered rifle.
And when he was done, Adam shot himself.
Expressions of shock and condolences quickly appeared on Facebook and other social media sites. Then the second guessing began.
Gun control! We need more gun control. There are questions as to whether anyone really needs a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle. Some call it an assault weapon. Many Americans believe in background checks, waiting periods, and firearm registration. These guns all passed those tests.
What about metal detectors in all schools? Adam shot his way into the school. He wasn’t hiding anything.
There is a picture of an Israeli teacher herding her young charges into a building, a rifle slung over her shoulder. Why can’t we have guns in our schools? For one, Israel has compulsory military service. That teacher has been properly trained and she is protecting her students from a real threat, terrorists and suicide bombers who regularly target unarmed civilians. For another, can we guarantee that a loaded weapon won’t find its way into the wrong hands?
There were also the predictable calls for more religion in our public schools. We would have healthier, happier, safer children if only THEIR version of G-d were taught in the schools. We are supposed to forget all of the children who were ill-served and abused within the schools affiliated with one religion or another.
Sometimes you just have to admit that there isn’t an easy answer. Worse, there might not be any answer.
Jessica worked for Vegas.com. She wasn’t stuck in some cubicle. She was stationed at the concierge desk in the Excalibur Hotel. She was safe, until she wasn’t. Last Friday, December 14th, a man walked up to her desk and before the cameras, the big guys with the earpieces, his G-d, and his country, he pulled out a gun and murdered Jessica. And then he shot himself.
We are all safe, until we aren’t.