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There may have been nothing that would have averted some killing of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Not so, the mass killing.

This school was well drilled for such emergencies and it showed in the bravery of its teachers and children. The murderer was not let into the building. He shot his way in. The police were quickly alerted by staff and responded quickly. They were apparently a couple of 100 feet away from the gun man when they saw him. Apparently, they proceeded toward him and he went into a classroom and started shooting. Assuming it would take 30 seconds to get down the hallway to the shooter, without a semi-automatic it would have been less likely that he would have shot as many children and even killed himself by the time the police entered the room. The guns were all permitted and the mother who owned them seemed to know how to take care of guns. She was a gun enthusiast and had some expensive semi-automatic weaponry, which likely given her son’s age and apparent intelligence, he would have been able to access, even if they were locked up, as perhaps they might have been.

Where I live is now an upscale neighborhood. When we moved here it was drug infested, with shootings every night; semi-automatics abounding. Police, many of whom lived in safer neighborhoods, were afraid to respond to calls for help. I remember leading them down a passage to the back of our building with me unarmed and upfront; they following with their guns drawn. This might have been a neighborhood where you would want a semi-automatic for your own protection. I had no guns. Guns were drawn on me, at times. I still survived without a gun, let alone a semi-automatic.

I cannot fathom why anyone not in law enforcement needs a semi-automatic. If self-protection is the rationale, as is often said on the sports field, “man-up”. Guns in the home are more often used for suicide than for protection. I might understand a woman who is afraid of abuse having a hand gun. The fire power, and the likely peripheral damage from a semi-automatic is not required. For hunters, there is no sport in using a semi-automatic to kill. The skill is in precision on equal terms. If you need a semi-automatic, go to a range without one and practice.

We rightly punish parents for child abuse. The continuing killing of our children from users of semi-automatics that with large clips can clear a room in a matter of seconds, is the greatest abuse of all. Can’t gun owners, gun distributors, and gun manufacturers make do without making these weapons of mass destruction available to the general public? Criminals will still be able to obtain these weapons; but has crime declined because of the public now owning these weapons. I have not seen any direct evidence of it. Drug dealers use these weapons on other drug dealers in my experience. Law enforcement in this country has and can continue to manage the rest. We are not yet Mexico where corruption has invaded every aspect of public society, that perhaps, with training, the public has such a need.

These killings will not be eradicated, but the probability would decline simply by reducing availability. Let’s all agree we don’t need to continue to abuse our children. Let’s ban ownership or use of semi-automatic weapons and large clips and have current legal owners turn them in to law enforcement and have their cost recouped net of any depreciation. Let’s have our children live long enough to abuse them with the debt we have left them, rather than having them gunned down in movie theatres, malls and schools. Give them the right to life.