It just happened a few hours ago. Reports are still coming in, but certainly there are elementary school kids among the dead. It's horribly sad.
I've never had anyone really close to me die. Sometimes I wonder whether, statistically speaking, I am just incredibly lucky. I know it's only a matter of time--as it is for everyone--but I wonder if that time is coming much sooner than I think.
Of course I've already seen several people start talking about gun control. And I see why they would. I haven't seen any information yet on whether the shooter owned his gun legally, but I'm not sure how much it matters in this case. I mean there are lots of legal gun owners and any one of them could just snap one day and go shoot a bunch of people. Gun control advocates think gun control could prevent that, and in some cases I imagine it could. Anytime you make something more legally restricted (in this case, owning guns), less people will do it.
The thing is, of course, that unless we banned guns throughout the country and got an amazing lock down on our borders, people will still be able to obtain guns illegally. Presumably more unsavory type of people will keep getting guns, while responsible people will get guns less often. You've heard all this before, I'm sure.
So then the idea is to make guns easier to access for the responsible people, partially in the hopes of balancing out the criminals (or psychopaths). What if elementary school teachers all carried guns? Would the death toll have been as high this morning?
But who are we kidding? Even if it were legal for school teachers to bring guns to school, how many of them would choose to? ...I don't know, I think I would. I once had a job working with lots of children, and I actually thought a lot about what I would do if some crazy person just came in and started shooting, and I don't know what I'd do. There's no way we were allowed to bring guns to work, but if some guy did come in shooting there would be little helpless targets everywhere. Good lord, I hate to see my morbid, concerned daydreams become reality.
I agree that the image of everyone with guns--school teachers, bus drivers, ER nurses??--is unsettling, and I know it isn't about to happen. But what I understand of the alternative (making it harder for law-abiders to get guns) doesn't seem helpful to me. Indeed it seems like it would make it worse. I don't know.
I've seen a lot of people say versions of "my heart goes out to those families," which is kind. But I wish I could do more than think sad/nice thoughts for them.
EDIT: One friend suggested donating or volunteering at charities dedicated to working with mental health issues. Perhaps helping organizations that deal with domestic violence would also be a good step.