Alea iacta est


Barely one week ago, nearly to the day of the one-year anniversary of the horrific slaughter of 20 innocent first-graders and six heroic adults at the Sandy Hook, Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticutt, another sick individual, this one upset after being cut from his Colorado high school debate team, opened fire and grievously wounded school senior Claire Davis in her head then killed himself. As of this writing, she remains in a coma.

Alea iacta est – the die has been cast. Written on the shooter’s arm, along with numbers corresponding to the room numbers of the school library and other classrooms, signalled to investigators that this coward with a  gun had other targets in his ill mind’s sights when he brought a rapid firing pump action shotgun, three Molotov cocktails, over 100 rounds of ammunition and a machete to his Colorado school that day. Colorado!   Columbine! Aurora!

Authorities said that the lessons learned from the senseless slaughter at Columbine High School – fast, aggressive armed response – prevented this attack from being even more deadly, considering the firepower the madman brought with him.

Lessons learned? My God, lessons learned?! Since the Columbine carnage, there have been thirty-one mass shootings in our country, many of the deaths involving our youngest and most vulnerable – innocent children.

Since the one – one – failed shoe bomb attempt in 2001, millions, no, hundreds of millions, of airline travelers have had to remove their shoes for inspection.

How many airliners have plummeted from the sky because of a shoe bomb? How many firearm regulations have been adopted?

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, nearly 31,000 Americans have been killed by firearms, according to 31,000! In the time it took to write this column, two hours, eight people have died by gunfire.

Haven’t we had enough of the National Rifle Association’s specious argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”? A majority of the country: Democrats, Independents, Republicans – yes, Republicans  too – and even a majority of National Rifle Association members, themselves, reject the notion that the absence of regulations for firearms is what the framers of The Constitution wanted. Remember the “well-regulated militia” thing? What happened to that?

Iacta alea est, verum est? Is it true that the die is cast? Is it true that no meaningful change can happen to make our stadiums, our schools and that which we hold most precious – our children – safe from senseless death?

I hope not. Plato said that rhetoric without truth is dangerous but that truth without rhetoric is worthless. Speak up. Speak out. Speak to our representatives in government. Tell them about background checks. Tell them about universal mental health care. Tell them enough lives have been needlessly sacrificed. Tell them to cast the die for life.