What We All Want This Christmas…

by Debra Chappell

View From the Front Porch:

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Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (slept okay considering temps that have dipped into the low teens!)

This has been one of the more difficult blog posts for me to write.  It shouldn’t be… it’s that time of year where everywhere you go people are cheery, carols are playing, there’s usually some chocolate to be had and the air is filled with good will and happy tidings.

But everything changed last Friday.

We can’t avoid it – and no matter how much egg nog we drink or holiday soirees we attend, we can’t ignore it either.  If you are like me, somewhere between the frantic Christmas shopping, house parties, baking, wrapping and normal chaotic bustle of the season, our collective thoughts  wander to the 27 families in Newtown Connecticut who’s lives were tragically and irretrievably changed, and for whom this time of year will forever more be the heartbreaking reminder of unspeakable loss.

I’ve tried to avoid the media and news. I’m reluctant to let the obscene cable and network exploitation and hype surrounding this tragedy into my little holiday world.  But even if I don’t watch… I know…I feel. And my feelings are not only of deep empathy, sadness, and profound sorrow…but of outrage.

I, like the rest of the nation, keep asking myself how many times are we going to go through this?  What has to happen before something changes?

Perhaps last Friday, something finally did.

I’m WELL aware of how much is being said and written on the subject of gun laws right now, and that’s to be expected.  After all, we’ve been around this rock before.  The cable shows put on advocates shouting at each other from each side, everyone shakes their head and says something should be done, the gun lobby and NRA kick it in to high gear and after a few days, it all gets relegated to the back burner where it has continued to stew for decades only marginally tended to.  As a nation we’ve been more intolerant of this inconvenient and politically unpopular debate than of the bloodletting that spawns it, while each succeeding incident has escalated in circumstance and horror, culminating last Friday morning in the horrific slaughter of 20 innocent little school kids and the 7 brave adults who tried to save them.

Finally, we’ve all paused long enough to ask the hard questions and recognize the need for not only real and concrete answers, but meaningful legislation as well.  I know I know.  There will always be those who say “we need to address the mental health needs in this country before we regulate guns.”  But really, we didn’t cure alcoholism before making sensible drunk driving laws did we?  Most reasonable people agree, even hunters, sportsmen, farmers and those gun advocates that like to “pack”, something has to be done about the availability of assault weapons in this country and the deadly rounds of mayhem enhancing ammunition that fuel them. There is no godly reason on this earth that any human being needs to own one unless they intend to kill people.  That alone should be enough to ban them. And we’re all exhausted by the same old arguments ie: there’s too many of them out there anyway – what about our 2nd amendment rights etc. etc.  Excuse me, regarding the former…is that really a good enough reason not to at least TRY? And the latter:  where does it say that the right of an individual’s hobby and choice of recreation is more sacred than the blood of innocent children and the shattered lives of countless American families?

The only good thing to come out of Friday’s tragedy (if you can even identify a ‘good’ thing) is that now there seems to be a collective national urgency to finally address the issue.  No, it’s not a happy or festive subject to bring up over holiday cocktails or chat about round the Christmas dinner table. But it is a necessary one.  And it’s the least any of us can do this holiday season in memory of those poor families in Connecticut.  Because if we let the conversation die this time, if we let this heartbreakingly poignant moment in our national history pass without action, we have absolutely no hope in hell of preventing even greater senseless carnage in our future.  And Christmastime is exactly the appropriate time to be hoping, praying, initiating and advocating for Peace on this ravaged and war-torn earth.