I was sitting in the audience in a beautiful hotel in mid-Missouri, listening to the best of the best voices sing when a few states west of me, a man was plotting, planning, and waiting to carry out an act of violence that took the lives of so many young people and rocked the nation to our collective core.
How is in, in this day, in 2012, that it is ok to freely purchase the assault rifles, ammunition, and guns that this decidedly intelligent yet sick young man was able to acquire? How is it that that is ok? It is not.
President Obama was completely correct yesterday, in the dawn after the news reports trickled and then flooded across the nation, that yesterday was not a day for politics, but a day for reflection and respect for those who lost their lives; time to comfort those who experienced terror. I had just returned home, having driven two hours, and was settling down when many people were planning a Friday night out to the movie opening, some had purchased their tickets weeks ahead of the anticipation. It was not until the morning, sitting over coffee, that I, like many, learned what unfolded the night before.
It hit a personal chord for me and perhaps others in my family, it has only been one week that we have memorialized a young, 20 year old, beautiful cousin who was killed in a random act of violence, gunfire unleashed in a crowd and her promise snuffed out. It is just all too hurtful and too real.
Someone commented that guns do not kill, people do, that is true, to a point, however, guns serve no purpose other than to incite fear and to kill, to maim, and to destroy, that is what happened in Aurora, Colorado.
It is a saddness and perhaps an awakening that is sweeping across our nation as Anacosta in DC and Chicago have been bathed in gunfire that has snuffed out the lives of so many. As Aurora, CO continues to recover and heal from this still-fresh tragedy. As a mother waits in Florida for justice to finally come for her teenage son whose promise was snuffed out by a lone wolf gunman, wanna be, who determined that newly minted 17 year old was a threat while walking home in the rain. See, guns give them a false sense of power, strength, and bravado, they flash guns to intimidate, silence, and control, to manipulate and maim. I strongly believe that there should be a ban on assault weapons, that a thorough background check should be for anyone who gets a firearm, that there is no 2nd amendment rights when it comes to semi-automatic weapons, machine guns, and clips that can shoot 100 rounds in a few seconds like this gunman in Colorado.
I pray for the peace and healing of the victims of this tragedy. I am proud of the multicultural community of Aurora, Colorado that has come together to support each other. I was impressed with how well spoken the myriad of young people were in communicating with the news media. The police chief has my respect because of how well he handled the situation and how he handled the press, him being careful with what is revealed so as not to jeopardize any legal proceedings, expressing concern for the victims. I am proud of the orchestrated effort and quick action of the city and I am happy that at least there, in that part of the country, the city officials did not strip down the public responders, the EMTs, the hospitals, the police force to just save a few bucks in an election year. The system worked in Colorado.
Healing will take time, understanding, the answer to the one question everyone asks, "why", may never be answered.
In all this, I hope we, the collective we, wake up and realize the humanity in us all and know that life is a precious thing.