Published December 14, 2012
I had just finished a meeting with a client when I heard about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. As a parent of two, my first thought was how I couldn't wait to hug my children.
My next thought turned to the victims and the parents who, due to the unfathomable actions of a monster, will not be able to do the same tonight. All I can think about are these children, their lost dreams and wasted futures. However, to my dismay this unspeakable tragedy has immediately become a springboard for gun control advocates to lambast our gun laws.
It disturbs me greatly that literally hours after one of the worst events in modern American history, media pundits and publications like, The New Yorker included are politicizing the murder of kindergarten students to further their gun control agenda.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked a question about gun control in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, responded by saying, "I think it's important, on a day like today, to view this -- as I know the president, as a father, does, and I as a father and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families.....There is, I am sure -- will be, rather -- a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day."
Alex Koppelman of The New Yorker criticized Carney by describing his statement as cowardly. "This is the way that we deal with such incidents in the U.S. -- we acknowledge them; we briefly are shocked by them; then we term it impolite to discuss their implications, and to argue about them. At some point, we will have to stop putting it off, stop pretending that doing so is the proper, respectful thing. It's not either. Its cowardice," Koppelman writes.
What Koppelman fails to appreciate is that every school that faces such a tragedy is an individual isolated event that demands our respect and does not deserve to be desensitized into a political debate.
By grouping today's Sandy Hook massacre as just one of "such incidents in the U.S.," Koppelman shows zero respect to any of the victims and the families affected by immediately turning this tragedy into a debate on gun control.
As our nation mourns collectively, each of the parents and family members who lost loved ones Friday face a different level of individual sorrow. They deserve our respect. And they also deserve not to have their pain used as political equity.
Before we jump to conclusions and make this a debate about the second amendment, it appears that the shooter, Adam Lanza borrowed his mother's guns for his heinous acts of murder. The guns were purchased legally.
Make no mistake about it we have to do everything in our power to prevent a tragedy like this one from occurring again. Over the next few weeks we will learn about Lanza and whether he had any mental health issues that went ignored.
You will hear people mistakenly argue that no matter how big of a monster Lanza was, the real villains who entered Sandy Hook Friday morning were the guns in his hand.
Are we sure the absence of guns would have definitively prevented Lanza from killing? It didn't prevent Zheng Minsheng from walking into a classroom with a knife in Fugian Province on China's East Coast in 2010 and stabbing eight children to death. I am sure the parents of those eight children feel the same unimaginable pain that the parents in Connecticut feel today.
Killers find a way to kill.
Ultimately, what has me fuming as a parent is the fact that a person was able to enter a public school with a weapon, any weapon. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Friday's tragedy.
Mercedes Colwin is an attorney and the managing partner of Gordon & Rees's New York office. She is widely regarded as one of the top legal minds in the country and regularly defends executives from Fortune 500 companies She is also a Fox News Legal Analyst.
This article was written with the help of Benjamin Levine, a fellow attorney in Gordon & Rees's New York office.