Nancy Lanza, executed with four rifle blasts to the face as she slept in her bed in a woodsy Connecticut village called Newtown, was a gun enthusiast. Turns out, so was her son.
Today, as the storm of sadness still pounds away at our hearts, days after gun enthusiast Adam Lanza brought his friendless, creepy life to an end with an explosion of evil at Sandy Hook Elementary School, perhaps it's time for a discussion about this gun-enthusiast business. Let me begin.
If you own an assault weapon or a large-capacity clip that holds 10 or more bullets, gaze for a moment at the photo of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, one of the 20 Sandy Hook kids butchered by flesh-exploding, bone-shattering bullets. Look closely at his face, his dark brown eyes, his mischievous little grin.
If you sell such guns or high-capacity clips, as many gun shops do right here in our little village, their ads boasting of AR-15s and muzzle suppressors and short-barreled rifles and monstrous Magpul AR-15 magazines, look today at a newspaper photo of Jessica Rekos, who was also 6.
Take pause, gun dealers, at her beauty and the little-girl smile that briefly lit up the world. She loved horses and had just asked Santa for cowgirl boots and a hat. Her parents told her she could have a horse when she turned 10. Now, Jessica will never have a horse. Or a prom or a graduation or a wedding or her own children. What she will have, sometime this week, is a funeral.
If you support the almighty National Rifle Association and its policy of absolutely no gun control, no limits, no restrictions whatsoever on the firepower you can own, take a moment to meet Vicki Soto, the teacher who so loved those kids that she put herself between them and the bullets and died in a horrible bloody mess. She was 27.
If you voted for Doug Lamborn or Bill Cadman or Bob Gardner, three deep thinkers from right here in our town, stare at the ear-to-ear grin on the face of Olivia Engel, also 6, who died in a barrage of those special expanding, flesh-mulching bullets that we can legally purchase.
Lamborn, our congressman, met with the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition earlier this year and sold them whatever remained of his soul — proposing that convicted felons, even the most depraved and violent, be given the right to own guns when they get out of prison. A throng of losers stood and cheered.
The day before Sandy Hook, four people in Denver were set on fire after being sprayed with gasoline. Cadman, the state Senate minority leader from Colorado Springs (of course), responded to the Connecticut massacre by saying: "Four people were set on fire in Denver on Thursday. Should we ban lighters?"
State Rep. Gardner said the school shooting "becomes really one more really sad and tragic instance where those who are advocating for greater gun control will point to it as the reason we ought to do that."
Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. The next time you slap one of their bumper stickers on your car and pound the extreme right-wing Republican Second Amendment drum, I hope you see the dazzling blue eyes of Sandy Hook first-grader Emilie Parker. Her father said that on the morning she died, as he left for work, she hugged him and gave him a kiss.
See, too, the now-extinguished light in the small eyes of Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Catherine Hubbard, Jesse Lewis, Grace McDonnell, Caroline Previdi, Madeleine Hsu, Chase Kowalski, James Mattioli, Dylan Hockley, Jack Pinto, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler and Allison Wyatt.
And think of their parents. Not one will ever come all the way back.
"We can't tolerate this anymore," President Obama said. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."
If you own a weapon designed for human killing, or a large-capacity clip with the lone purpose of inflicting death upon masses, or sell such things, or you worship the steel-hearted NRA or vote for politicians in the gun-lobby's pockets or think "gun enthusiast" has a nice ring to it, look in the mirror.
The change needs to start with you.
Rich Tosches (firstname.lastname@example.org) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.