i will remember them, not him

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There are a few things in life that I feel as passionate about as the need for proper gun control everywhere, especially in the United States. Every time I wake to news of another shooting, I feel this terrible sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s sinking because it’s a tragedy but I know enough to know that nothing is going to change.

When I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I was devastated. Every time a new piece of information is released, I am moved to tears. Especially when the names and ages of the children killed were released. They were six and seven. A man stood in front of children who were six and seven and shot them multiple times with a semi-automatic. I can’t even fathom what kind of person is capable of this cruelty.

People are blaming the man, people are blaming guns, people are saying the teachers should have had guns, people are blaming the media. I shared something on Facebook that actor Morgan Freeman had said.

UPDATE 2:50PM 17/12/12: I’ve just learnt that this statement was not said by Morgan. “Morgan neither made statements or posted those statements. We are trying to find out who did, but they did not originate from him,” the actor’s rep told E! News. I still agree with the sentiments but thought I would clear this up.

He said, in part:

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim.”

I shared it and said it was sad but true. One of my friends who I studied journalism with was shocked that I would post this. I didn’t realise at the time how it would come across and I swiftly removed it from my wall.

I want to explain myself and say in no uncertain terms that I do not blame the media for this tragedy, but I sure wish they changed the way they reported these events. I wish there was no lure of notoriety for the perpetrators, whose mental stability is questionable. I wish that their names weren’t reported and that their photos were nowhere to be seen.

There was a post on Facebook about not remembering the perpetrator, but remembering the victims. I want to mirror this. I will not remember you. I will not read about you. I will, however, read about the lives that you’ve taken. The young futures that you stopped and the heroic teachers who died trying to protect their students from you. I will not remember your name but I will remember theirs.

I will remember:

– Charlotte Bacon, 6
– Daniel Barden, 7
– Rachel Davino, 29
– Olivia Engel, 6
– Josephine Gay, 7
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
– Dylan Hockley, 6
– Dawn Hochsprung, 48
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
– Chase Kowalski, 7
– Jesse Lewis, 6
– James Mattioli , 6
– Grace McDonnell, 7
– Anne Marie Murphy, 52
– Emilie Parker, 6
– Jack Pinto, 6
– Noah Pozner, 6
– Caroline Previdi, 6
– Jessica Rekos, 6
– Avielle Richman, 6
– Lauren Rousseau, 30
– Mary Sherlach, 56
– Victoria Soto, 27
– Benjamin Wheeler, 6
– Allison N. Wyatt, 6

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UPDATE 2:50PM 17/12/12: I should have know that this image is an old one (West Germany anyone?) but the difference between figures haven’t really changed. 

Now someone, please tell me that this isn’t about the guns. How many more lives must be lost before something changes? I am not suggesting getting rid of guns completely, but they should be harder to obtain. Mentally unstable people (because you would have to be mentally unstable to kill children) shouldn’t have access to these weapons. And if you won’t do that, please, for the love of God, bring in bullet control.

I will reiterate what I said on Saturday: Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.  Over the weekend, a man in China attacked a school with a knife. 22 kids were injured but there were no fatalities. Getting rid of guns won’t get rid of the crime, but it will lessen the impact. Your 2nd Amendment “right to bear arms” is not more important than a child’s right to grow up, as said by a reporter over at the Huffington Post. I am hoping against hope that something will FINALLY change.

UPDATE 2:50PM 17/12/12: I just wanted to say to those who don’t believe gun control will help. Since John Howard brought in strict gun control laws after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996, there have been no mass shootings in Australia. None. The evidence is here

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