Reader One If By Land 1776 writes:
I was in Newtown, Connecticut this weekend visiting family and joined them in watching the annual Newtown Labor Day parade. My nieces (age 6 and 8) go to school at the “other” Sandy Hook Elementary school (there were two). Their school was not (directly) involved in the terrible events that thrust Newtown into the spotlight, and I thank God daily that my nieces escaped the horror of that tragic day…(I even thank Zeus and Poseidon…just to be sure). Unfortunately . . .
My family knows a few of the people who tragically lost a child that day, and they share in their heartache. But despite the terror we ALL felt that day, my family understands that inanimate objects did not cause this tragedy. They understand and acknowledge that the firearms that were used are no more responsible for these events than the automobile that was used to transport “A.L.” to the school that day. That the black AR-15 is no more at fault, than the black Honda Civic. In fact, shortly after Sandy Hook, my brother obtained his concealed carry license and they continue to maintain a firearm in the home for personal protection as they have done for years.
I am told that many of their Newtown neighbors share the same feelings, and I have been asked to speak with several of their Newtown friends and neighbors who are interested in obtaining their CCL. This is prompted in part by the feeling of helplessness caused by this event, partly due to the realization that the police can’t be everywhere all of the time and a clear understanding (now) that we all need to take responsibility for our family’s security…but also prompted by the overreach of their elected officials spurred either by either a knee-jerk reaction to a horrific event or a unique opportunity to exploit a tragedy to further their political agendas. Or both. And they want to push back.
So, this weekend, I joined my family to watch the Newtown Labor Day parade. We set our chairs up along the parade route and settled in to watch the days activities. As I waited for each float to go by, I noticed three young boys playing nearby with some toy firearms apparently purchased from a hawker who came to sell goods at the parade. One had a toy pistol (with requisite orange tip) and two had toy AR-15s (also with requisite orange tips) but, with enhanced “machine gun” sound effects.
They were doing what young boys have done for ages with toy firearms….some kind of game of war or cops and robbers, “shooting” one another (and others) as the parade went by. I watched and watched and no one seemed to give them a second look (or a first look for that matter). They were surrounded by hundreds of other people, and they were playing and “shooting” and no one seemed to mind at all.
Oh, and did I mention that I was sitting directly across the street from a school (which shall remain nameless) while this was going on, and no one seemed notice them playing…no one, except me, that is. For nearly 15 minutes I ceased watching the parade and watched these boys play and observed everyone around them. It was, just as it should be….everyone was watching the parade and these boys were playing, and no one was scared. No one called the police, no one freaked out. It was a parade – kids were playing, and all as right with the world….as it should be.
I thought long and hard whether or not to send this to TTAG as I did not want to draw undue attention to what should be an everyday, normal activity. But I figured I’d send it along because I think it says a lot about the resiliency of the human spirit; the fact that people aren’t as fragile (emotionally or physically) as some try make people out to be, and also because the meme of the anti-gun community can, does and will distort reality so that it’s perceived how they want it perceived. And nowhere is that more evident than how anti-Second Amendment rights advocates use Newtown to leverage their emotional debate.
What I witnessed was a town struck by a terrible tragedy…a town that has mourned (and will not forget) the loss of “their own”, but a town that has also picked itself up by its bootstraps and is well on its way to healing the wounds that they have suffered. What I saw was a town (in the words of President Harding after WWI) that is seeking (and achieving) a “return to normalcy.”
And I guess that was my biggest hesitation to sending this, because I don’t want them to receive undue attention for doing what is perfectly natural, returning to their way of life before Sandy Hook. And that means boys can and should play cops and robbers at the Labor Day parade, across from a school. And nobody should give them a second look because that’s what probably happened before December 14, 2012. It’s perfectly normal again for that to happen on September 1, 2014…and there’s nothing wrong with that.