At its annual convention in Bar Harbor on Oct. 26, 2013, The Maine Press Association named this the best editorial printed in Maine daily newspapers in 2012-13.
Somewhere in western Connecticut on Friday, a parent dressed her child warmly, making sure she had packed her lunch.
She waited for the bus with her at the end of the driveway.
When it arrived, she probably waved, and reminded her to have a great day. It’s Friday, she probably said, and we have a great weekend planned.
The bus drove away, windows fogged with the breath of children, and soon was out of sight.
A phone call. A radio report. Speeding ambulances. Police tape. A crime scene, inside a school.
A suspect. An automatic weapon, built for mass killing.
Will it happen to you?
What would you do?
We are sick and bloody tired of this.
Others are waiting for the next set of corpses, hiding behind the Second Amendment.
If someone like this tries to convince you that, if not for the gun, the Sandy Hook school murderer would have found some other way to do a mass killing of young kids, let them know what else the federal government regulates.
Such as what you are allowed to carry on an airplane, for example.
One guy tries to blow up his shoe, and now every airline passenger for the rest of eternity has to strip nearly naked in order to fly.
And someone is saying an assault weapons ban is too broad?
These 20 kids, ages 5 to 10 — 20 kids — gunned down inside of the sanctuary of their school on Friday … someone is saying they were somehow destined for a bloody, horrific fate?
What was their crime?
There are those who cling fast to the belief that everyone needs and deserves access to firearms — but that’s just as true as saying everyone needs and deserves access to automobiles, or alcohol, or many of the hundreds of hazardous substances the government regulates without protest.
All people need access to firearms, they say, even the assault weapons like the Sandy Hook murderer had — ones built only to kill, and kill rapidly — because that’s what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.
The right to have as many weapons of any type trumps my right — my innocent child’s right — to safety.
And the language of the Second Amendment — that a “well-regulated militia” has the right to bear arms … surely that doesn’t mean the military, or the police. Surely that was meant to be a mob of individuals of any temperament or mental status, brandishing modern weapons built to kill with antiseptic efficiency.
Guns don’t kill people.
There is a special place in hell for murderers. Especially for the killers of innocent children.
But that’s cold comfort to the parents of those poor, massacred children who died with their backs to the wall and their heads buried in their hands, begging for mercy, on Friday.
We believe there’s a similar place reserved for those who would continue to allow these horrific American tragedies to continue beneath the guise of freedom.