And the song lyrics said, “There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear. There’s a man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware.”
Before this week is over, we will bury some more innocent kids, kids whose crime was simply going to school. More deaths, these last few years, than any American military action anywhere in the world over that same period. It has become customary to turn on the television and witness American carnage almost on a weekly basis.
Shortly after 9/11, I visited the Pentagon and saw the gaping hole in the side of that building. Scaffolding was present as work had already begun repairing that structure. In the grass small trees wore notes addressed to victims of that tragedy. Notes with money attached that read, as an example, “Bill here is that money I owed you for lunch that I never had a chance to repay you.” In time, I eventually made it to New York as well just because.
On Saturday May 5, I stood in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, my heart once again racing as it has so many times in this, the most civilized country in the world. I didn’t see many kids as this was prom day for the kids of M.S.D. I did, however, see the ribbons, the signs, and the still hurt faces. One half mile north of the school was a very affluent neighborhood much more affluent than any neighborhood in this local vicinity. I thought to myself, if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.
The people of Santa Fe, Texas, unfortunately found out that the Parkland incident did come to their hometown as well. For those of you that think it can’t happen in Lima, or Delphos, or Ada, or Wapakoneta, or Findlay, just know that you are not alone because the people in Parkland, Santa Fe, Sandy Hook and Columbine had those same thoughts.
I am a gun owner and I have no fear that someone will beat down my door and confiscate my gun, but the argument that only a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is merely NRA propaganda. With over 300 million guns in this country, if that statement were true, America would be the safest country on earth. As a former Juvenile Probation Officer, not once did I ever feel the need to carry a gun for my protection. I think reasonable gun legislation is necessary which can be accomplished at the ballot box.
The choice is quite simple, you can support politicians that support the NRA or you can support your child. Politicians, either local or national, should be part of the solution or they need to be on the street pushing a broom. Just because your child is not a direct victim doesn’t mean that they are not an indirect victim having to endure a traumatic incident from afar and left to wonder rather than learn.
In America today, there are too many places to go and pay homage to. Not enough time and too many places so can’t we try something this time? There have been 214,000 kids exposed to gun violence in schools since Columbine, how much are you willing to endure? How many more kids will we bury before you finally say, enough is enough. They say there is a thin line between love and hate, there is no in between. You either have a heart filled with love or you have a heart filled with hate. No person is born with an evil heart, bad behavior is learned behavior and right now as I write, someone else is learning how to be just a little more flamboyant and spectacular in causing pain.
When you have political leaders that present a message that points to others as being the source of all their problems and says they must be eliminated one way or another, isn’t it likely that some young mind, somewhere, sometime, or someplace eventually receives that message and acts on it. Some voters are fine with politicians of that ilk simply because they believe in the same political agenda, but a parents first agenda is to ensure that each of their children have an opportunity to grow into womanhood or manhood.
It’s been stated that there is only two lasting things that a parent can give a child, one of those is roots and the other is wings. But I would add another and that would be to see that your child has an opportunity to live a long and prosperous life. That is your first and most important parental obligation and agenda.
Charles Thomas is a former radio host and a retired juvenile probation officer. He’s a lifelong resident of Lima. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or Aim Media, owner of The Lima News.