Thanks to fans and foes


Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle and Allison.

We see lists of children's names all the time. Choirs, sports teams, spelling bee champions and such. The success and growth of our children enriches us all.

But the parents of 20 children in Connecticut grieve and we grieve with them.

President Barack Obama was wise to read passages from the Bible during his address Sunday night. Only Scripture can attempt to make sense of the horror of last Friday's school shooting. We certainly can't.

The mass murder epidemic in the United States is out of control. Every public place is now a potential kill zone. No mall, movie theater, school or office seems safe. What was once a rare occurrence is now almost routine.

Every time there's a mass murder spree, some people say things such as, "This isn't the day to discuss gun control" and criticize those who do. In one sense they are absolutely correct. Families need time to mourn; it takes time for all of us to wrap our minds around the fact 20 first-graders were gunned down at their school.

If it wasn't a good day to discuss gun control on Tuesday, chances are these same people won't find today a good day either. When will that day come? On Dec. 21, when the Mayan calendar ends? Christmas Day? Martin Luther King Day? Arbor Day?

Guns, when not being fired, don't kill people. Your neighbor's World War II rifle in its glass case poses a threat to no one. A deer rifle when properly used usually endangers deer and other hunters.

But allowing America to be the world's leader of putting sophisticated, military grade rifles into the hands of its own citizens is threatening to make our nation no more secure than Afghanistan or Lebanon.

How can the nation not afford to address the issue of gun control? There is a cult of gun hoarders who make a mockery of the Second Amendment's so-called right to bear arms by bearing them by the hundreds. Even moderate steps, such as background checks and limiting gun magazine sizes, are too oppressive for these people.

The man arrested in Cedar Lake, Ind., on Saturday for threatening to kill as many schoolchildren as he could had 47 guns. I've never heard of Cedar Lake before, but I bet his gun collection isn't the biggest in town.

Guns don't kill people, but gun owners who obsessively collect guns the way I once collected baseball cards do kill people.

Today is a good day to discuss gun violence and how to decrease it while maintaining the lawful rights of honest, law-abiding people who wish to shoot for sport or to own a gun for personal protection.

You don't need a Russian assault rifle to fend off a home invader or someone who's trying to rob you on the street and you most certainly do not need thousands of rounds of ammunition in order to do so.

But the response from some is that we need even more weapons out there. Maybe the recent tragedies would have been averted if all schoolteachers, movie theater and mall employees were equipped with assault rifles. Maybe all students, moviegoers and mall shoppers should also have assault weapons as well, in order to act as a check on the teachers and concession-stand workers.

The weapon the shooter in Newtown, Conn., used was an AR-15 rifle, a weapon designed to kill many people in a very short period of time. It's also the most popular rifle in America and is apparently endlessly customizable. Gun dealers can't keep them on the shelves, according to a New York Times story, with at least 3.5 million of them in circulation.

Maybe we need to remove all concealment laws and walk around with our guns on display at all times. Maybe that will solve the problem of violence.

Or maybe there should instead be a reasonable compromise with mental health evaluations, restrictions on the deadliest forms of ammunition and limits on the sizes of individual gun collections. Doesn't that make more sense than becoming a nation where everyone is armed to the teeth?

I understand the rights of lawful gun owners. But President Obama spoke of another right, one given to us by our Creator and not the Constitution. It is the most sacred and joyful of rights.

And that is the right to raise our children without fear of them being murdered at any given time. The president talked of struggles in life. "We'll make mistakes, we'll experience hardships and even when we're trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans," he said.

"There's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child's embrace, that is true."

The right to love our children supersedes any Second Amendment right. The time is long past for us to protect them, and ourselves, from outrageous attacks by crazed gun aficionados. We demand that our lawmakers and law enforcers enforce this right.