Editorial: Crazy gun laws take heavy toll

By Doug Laing

There's something portending about going to bed late at night, and leaving the TV on a news channel, CNN to be specific.

Like the morning of September 12, 2001, possibly the most agape moment of history when there was only one story on the planet, the terrorism which felled the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York (where it was still September 11, hence the term 9/11).

Roll on to 12/14, or December 15 as it was in New Zealand, and the horror which unfolded less than 130km from the aforementioned calamity of 11 years ago.

It was such a beautiful morning as for some mysterious reason the TV blared into life with early details of a 20-year-old's gun-toting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut.

By late morning we would hear 20 young children had been killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, along with six adults.

Apparently the gunman had already shot his own mother, and he finished by reportedly taking his own life.

Blessed be the house that has DVDs for their own children to watch in the privacy of their own rooms. Even the more violent releases would have had to have gone a fair stretch to beat what was going on in the US at the time.

And blessed be that we live in a nation where firearms are comparatively difficult to acquire, where people who have a will to use them to harm other people can, by and large, only obtain their weapons illegally.

But anyone who endured the hours in front of the CNN screen on Saturday - the tears of Barrack Obama possibly set to become as historic a moment as the shooting itself - would want even the most remote opportunity of miscreant armament removed.

That Adam Lanza could ever obtain two handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, apparently stored at home by his mother as part of an arms collection, will always be the real issue in this case.

It barely matters what form of state the young man had worked himself into - if it weren't for the dammed pea-shooters so easily within reach, the worst he might have done is thrown a bit of mum's crockery around, and kicked in a few floor-level kitchen cupboards.

This is the sort of thing angry young men do when they don't have access to guns. And when they walk out the door, they generally cool-off somewhere down the road.

They don't go eliminating half the town's kids.

Somehow, recovering from this awful Saturday viewing, made something extra special of a night with the mokopuna at Christmas at the Park.

But I couldn't help regurgitating the prevalent viewpoint of the day, that in a town not so far from New York there were a fair few children and grandchildren that, thanks to the craziest gun legislation on the globe, would never be able to enjoy such moments again.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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