We don’t talk about the first day of spring in 1974. It’s been that way for as long as I could remember. March 20th started off like any other as my 8 year old brother headed off to school wearing his blue ball cap and backpack. My mom remembers him yelling back into the house, ‘I Love You Mom” before shutting the door.
That was the last time she saw my brother, Cliff.
The Dekalb County Chief of Police told my mother we would never know what exactly happened in the bedroom of the nanny that afternoon. The police report later revealed the nanny heard Cliff begging, “Please help me.” A shot rang out. When she ran into the room it was too late. Her 12-year-old son was standing over my brother’s lifeless body. In his hands was his parent’s rifle, which he had just used to shoot my brother through the heart at point blank range.
The motive was never determined. One suspicion was the boy was possibly jealous of the affection his mother showed my brother. Cliff had been dubbed “The Mayor” by the neighborhood because of his outgoing personality. He spent many hours playing games with the seniors who lived in the complex.
Losing Cliff was too much for my mother to bear. She had recently been divorced. Within the year before my brother’s murder, she had lost her father and mother to cancer. In a rare moment of remembrance she once told me that the loss of her parents was heartbreaking enough – but the loss of Cliff was so devastating that for years she wished every breath taken would be her last.
Last Monday, like so many parents of young children across America, I found an excuse to visit my child’s classroom. As I stood outside the door of my son’s Kindergarten classroom before lunch, I heard his teacher remark to the class that there was a new rule: every classroom door was going to be closed and locked. If someone came to the door, the students were to first get the teacher before opening even if it was a parent or a fellow student.
I fought back tears as I listened to the little voices ask questions regarding the new policy and a sense of anger was rekindled. Adam Lanza not only took the lives of 26 innocent victims on December 14th, but he also stole the security of many families across this nation. Gone are the days where you could walk down a school hallway and hear a chorus of children’s voices, answering questions, or laughing at a story being read by their teacher. Now, school hallways are becoming as sterile as the corridors of a hospital. It makes one wonder if a child can really grow in such a cold, silent environment.
My anger turns to pain as I hear the children, excitedly lining up for lunch, debating over whose dessert was better or what side dish they were going to be serving. I realized there were 20 sets of parents who were never going to hear the chatter or any other debate again from their child and I immediately thought of my mother.
While you might think my mother would be a strong anti- gun proponent, she realized it was not the guns’ fault for the death of Cliff. It was a failed system and irresponsible parenting who were as much to blame as anything.
As I grew up, my mother insisted I learned to defend myself. If Cliff’s death had taught her anything it was that. Whether it be hand to hand self-defense, environmental defense or with a gun, I have been raised to respect the power of a weapon I received the highest accuracy rating and grade in my concealed hand gun permit class. I also pride myself on better aim then my former Army officer husband.
Since the events of December 14th, there have been countless numbers of articles and interviews over gun owner’s rights, particularly from those opposed to them. I am beginning to think those on the left were waiting for a tragedy like this to happen just so they could reignite the argument over gun control. Taking the advice of Rahm Emanuel, they were quick to “not let a serious crisis go to waste.”
The hypocrisy of their claims are amazing considering this is the same administration who put guns in the hands of Mexican drug lords to use against law enforcement. The propagandists also cavalierly dismiss the numerous examples of public shooting sprees halted because of a legal gun permit holder’s actions for fear it would encourage legal gun ownership.
Real gun control looks like a land where upstanding, responsible, law abiding citizens actually carry their guns with them in almost any location. Crimes are reduced based on the fact that criminals don’t know if their target is packing a weapon or not. Real gun control looks like a competitive health care system where insurance agencies don’t determine the mental health status of a person rather than a doctor, and our politically-correct society allows dangerous people to be identified, labeled and hospitalized before they commit a crime.
Just look across the pond at countries like the UK and Norway that recently passed gun ownership restrictions. Within those countries, the number of mass shootings has escalated because no one had any way to stop the offender.
Over the next few weeks, the left will use the shooting in Connecticut and the victims as pawns in their mission to inject more Federal Government control into our daily lives. These same opportunists will try and discredit and shame anyone who speaks out in defense of their 2nd Amendment right I am very scared of a Country whose states continue to vote in the legal use of Marijuana yet strongly restrict the ability to defend yourself.
My mother never prosecuted the boy who shot Cliff. In fact, the day she left to bury my brother on our small farm in Illinois was the last day she ever saw the nanny’s child.
I now have my own 6 year old son. I like to imagine he has the same personality and spirit which shined bright in my brother. My son will go to school after the first of the New Year to a learning environment much different from what he left in 2012. His classroom has been transformed more into a jail cell not to keep him locked in, but rather to keep the world locked out.
My child might not remember these differences down the road. But I will. Most of us will. We will weep at the loss of this innocence and wonder how did our Country change from being a Norman Rockwell portrait to a scene from inside a horror film?
Evil will use whatever tools its needs to commit its crime. We must remember in the next few months as the victims of Connecticut are used as propaganda by those who want to see evil prevail, their first move will be to take away from the virtuous their ability to defend and protect their own.