Category Archives: Gun Control

Shooting To Kill

Dan May

By DAN MAY

When I served in the US Air Force, I took an M-16 automatic rifle with me to my job. Every day. I carried multiple magazines filled with 30-round banana clips, which afforded me the capability of firing off 120 rounds in mere seconds. A few simple squeezes of a finger. And how many times was I called on to use that capability?

Zero. Zip. Nada.

Not one single time did I fire off that gun in the line of duty. It’s a dangerous weapon. And so now, thinking back to that, I for the life of me cannot come up with one single reasonable scenario in which I would need to use that weapon in my day to day life. It’s not for hunting, it’s not for sport. It has one purpose and one purpose only.

To kill people.

And the idea that that dangerous weapon that has no reason for being in anyone’s hands who isn’t in uniform defending the country, is a frightening and deadly thought. As we have just witnessed. Measures need to be taken to prevent this from being in the hands of ANYONE, much less available to mentally unstable individuals.

And yet it is.

If you want to own a gun, go right ahead. You can have as many hunting rifles, shotguns, pistols, muskets, etc., as your heart desires. But I think we should put a number on the amount of these military type weapons one person can own. And I’ve come up with that amount. And I think it’s the perfect amount. The reasonable amount. The necessary amount.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

Can’t Shoot Me Down Now

Vegas Shooting

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – Nothing — outside of a Dallas Cowboys fan living in the Delaware Valley — is more annoying than a single-issue voter.

If that’s all you got, stay home. Please.

You need to have a lot of core issues, and be able to articulate the wherefores and whys – whether or not I concur – when asked to explain yourself.

As those who have waged war with me on Social Media know, I am not afraid to do so.

When it comes to issues, and prioritizing them, I’m an open book.

There is education, health care, environment, clear paths to citizenship for productive immigrants and a type of peace in the Middle East that means Israel isn’t obliterated in the process.

On most of those – and others (reforming the election system, from campaign finance reform to the way the primary/caucus schedule is laid out) – I am well left of center.

On others – like denying climate change equating to denying the earth is round – I am aligned with my man, Bernie Sanders, particularly on education and health care as human rights in a nation as plentiful as ours.

Only time I go astray is with the punishment fitting crimes like rape and child abuse (not to be confused with inherent injustices in the justice system with the “drug war”) and with supporting Israel (although those settlements are a bit unsettling when I consider long-range positive outcomes).

And on just about every issue, in general, I’ll meet you in the middle somewhat or be willing to agree to disagree and walk away on a handshake after a battle well-fought.

But not when it comes to my No. 1 issue.

And it’s No. 1 with a bullet.

There’s a hint even someone who thought Hillary Clinton was the lesser of two evils would get.

It’s gun Control.

You will never get me to agree to disagree.

And you will never get me to throw up my hands and say nothing more can be done about it.

And while we are sifting through the carnage from Sunday night’s mass killing (“mass shooting” is too tame), neither should you.

It has been said that if the horror at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012 didn’t do it, if didn’t change the stingiest of minds, nothing will.

It hit home for me because my prized possession — and .600 hitter in Fall Ball softball, Sofia — was roughly the same age at that time. I’ll never forget what it felt like dropping her off at school the next day and taking comfort in seeing police cars on the school lot.

This one at an a outdoor country concert hits home, too. I am a lifelong concert-goer, and the Tom Petty tragedy only reinforces my resolve to see all my heroes — and share them with Sofia — while we can.

The sad truth that the deaths of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook only sent more people toward buying firearms, not less.

Probably of the same in the wake of Vegas.

Seems that what should make our hearts soft, turns them hard. What should make us find solutions, only leaves us creating more problems.

That’s kind of how and why we ended up with this slopstorm in the White House now, is it not?

But that doesn’t mean we give up trying.

Just sitting back and letting it all be is about as un-American as it gets, even for conditional patriots determined to make America “great again” (I’m still wondering when it was “great” to begin with).

How is that makey-greaty thing looking for you now?

If you still support America being the Wild West after all this, you are clearly a sub-human.

I don’t want to hear about banning cars because they kill, too. That’s just insanely inane.

Don’t tell me about the laws that are already on the books being sufficient, because they clearly are not.

We are as able to properly enforce them as I am of dunking a basketball (I’m 5-10 with a vertical leap of a half-inch) in the face of LeBron James.

Yes, some of the laws on the books, in theory, may give what equate to good lip service to generic concerns.

But we don’t need lips. We need teeth.

And doing the biting, with backing from our legislators, need to be the law enforcement personnel we are told we need to genuflect in front of with no questions asked.

I respect what they do, but they also knew what they were signing on for, which was to be soldiers on the home front.

And their country needs them.

Now more than ever, and just as much — if not more — than the troops in trouble spots like Afghanistan.

No one is going to convince anyone with opened eyes that our society is wired to be drug-obsessed because it helps lock up black and brown males at rates that dwarf those of freckled-faced kids named Biff in the frat house.

Therefore, we have drug task force teams – and their sting operations – from small municipalities to large cities.

It’s a noble effort, but don’t be deceived. I used to report on a lot of these in my newspaper days. There would be press conferences where the confiscated contraband would be laid out on a table, and most of it would be enough marijuana to have kept Bob Marley and the Wailers and Grateful Dead feeling mellow for several tours.

There might be a gun or two that were inadvertently gathered during the arrest of the largely “of-color” ring-leaders (who were usually just middle men taking the fall for someone else), but that’s it.

How about we legalize the marijuana – and include prostitution (another waste of law enforcement manpower) in that legislation – and focus all our efforts on undercover firearms stings?

Not saying they don’t happen, because they do.

Just not enough.

Needs to be a priority.

Priority No. 1.

And it’s dangerous work, going deep into the world of black market firearms wheeling and dealing, but it’s really the only way.

We can play verbal ping-pong over the validity of gun shows and how much closing loopholes would or would not do (my feeling is anything is worth a try). The truth is that the kind of firearms that most of these monsters acquire are done so through nefariously illegal means.

The Vegas shooter seemingly acquired most of his arsenal legally, and in the light of day, even while his mental state may have been visible to any arms dealer who gave a shit.

But we can find a way to regulate that a bit more going forward, while still letting hunters shoot Bambi, but the black market is still there.

Cut off the source, via undercover policing, and we may see a light at the end of the tunnel with a lot of these planned mass mayhem shootings – and gang violence on urban streets.

I’m not advocating disarming law-abiding gun owners, but I would like to define just what that means. It’s certainly not the gun owner with the gun loaded under their pillow.

Until he opened fire Sunday night, Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, was likely a law-abiding gun owner – at least by the very loosey-goosey definition – and now he is the lone-nut triggerman in the worst mass killing by shooting in modern American history (probably a lot of Native Americans were wiped out in one horrific stampede of the white man in the now fabled days of yore that made our culture one tied to the gun, with Wounded Knee coming readily to mind).

At present, authorities are stumped about his motivation. He was filthy rich, he was A-political, had no FBI file (although his father did) and not really a loser with the ladies.

My initial gut instinct was that he lost big at the casinos, but apparently he was winning, big-time, before going out in an inglorious blaze of infamy.

The argument about it being all about mental health goes out the window, too. Clearly, he was not in his right mind at the time, but he was not diagnosed as being criminally insane. He clearly had some internal bomb ticking inside, but he still had his wits enough to meticulously plan this out.

In a nation where you can get your hands on multiple military-style firearms and ammo as easily as a milkshake and a burger, we should be more worried – much more worried – about the guy who looks like an average Joe who can snap and go temporarily insane.

That is any of us. Just this past Saturday, I can into it a bit too much with the coach of the opposing softball team (although it was nothing YouTube viral-worthy). I have never fired a gun in my life (and only held one once), but who knows who I was dealing with, right?

The way our country is now, we simply can’t trust than we can will this ongoing horror show away.

We need to peel away at the onion, wiping away the tears it causes, and get to core of the issue. The Second Amendment is clearly so misinterpreted that it’s unfathomable to believe our elected misleaders – from both sides of the aisle – are more concerned with keeping the NRA placated than the health and well-being of their constituents.

Maybe because they are so much in a bubble, they don’t realize how easy it is to get a gun right now.

Heck, we had a garage sale this past weekend (before the softball game and aforementioned incident) and several older men – probably around the same age as this waste of human plasma – asked if we were selling any firearms or ammo.

Really?

Really.

And the fact that they asked tells me that they are able to circumvent a lot legalities by going to garage sales and flea markets.

They were so cavalier about it that they must find plenty while scavenging around on weekends.

And yeah, 999 out of 100,000 might just be collectors who get their jollies by diddling around with guns once their ED sets in, but what about the one – the one who snaps one day and sets up a sniper’s nest above a concert (or any larger gathering) and tries to top Paddock’s kill number.

Won’t happen?

Don’t kid yourself.

Not a question of if.

Just a question of when.

Not comfortable with that, either?

Maybe you need to check your priorities.

 

Dear Deity …

 

Stan Horwitz

By STAN HORWITZ

PHILADELPHIA — This morning, I woke up to the horrible news about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. They’re saying that at least 50 people perished and at least 200 people were injured by the sniper while attending a country music festival at the Mandalay Bay.

My condolences to the victims and injured and their friends and family. Not enough thanks can be given to all the heroes who helped take out the shooter and stop him from doing even more harm. Bravery like that is a rare trait.

I saw that my state’s own senator Pat Toomey offered his prayers to the victims, their friends and families. Other politicians are no doubt doing the same. How nice of them to offer prayers at this tragic time in our history.

Maybe instead of Toomey and his fellow senators and President Trump just offering useless prayers to the dead and their survivors, they actually do something real to fix this problem of violence in our country. These mass shootings seem to be growing in frequency and body counts. Prayer isn’t helping. I doubt it hurts, but it obviously isn’t helpful either.

Here’s my prayer: Dear Deity who knows all blah, blah, blah and who presumably saw this tragedy blah blah blah coming yet did nothing blah blah blah to prevent it, blah, please blah blah let those shooting blah blah blah victims blah blah blah go to your blah blah Candy Land.

If I did believe in the power of prayer, I would pray every day to the God in which I believe to stop the violence from occurring in the first place.

But what do I know?

Cope With No Hope

Vigil

Cope With No Hope

Another long night, another slain teen

Take a sneak peek, as the dawn bleeds

Splash of cold water, read the tweets

News, views – more prayers for peace

By dusk a vigil, let the cycle repeat

Darkness descends, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Up for air, come pastor and the priest

How many of these have they seen?

Hear what you want, not what you need

Sing a song, prayers for peace

From all this, who will take heed?

Maybe one day we all can break free

Until that day comes, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Now it’s less than a week later

Pick up the local newspaper

Story is gone, never to be followed

Back to the zoo and its baby cougars

Those with jobs, head back to work

Once numb, how much can it hurt?

The root cause, never gets learned

On and on and on, the fire just burns

 

All that is said cannot be believed

Like blaming it all on the police

Is it the poverty or the money?

The money we all think we need

Take it past these prayers for peace

Prayers end when you hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

-Gordon Glantz

 

 

 

First Cut Is The Deepest

Pence

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – A vice presidential candidate walks into a barbershop …

If this sounds like the start of a bad joke, you are picking up on the right scent.

Such was the scene recently in Norristown, when GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, was paired up on an awkward blind date in the inner sanctum of any black community – the barbershop.

Followed by CNN cameras – not like there were any surreal floods or forest fires going on, so why not? – the barber in question had to quell chuckles from the cheap seats as he had to fight through the layers of Brylcreem to kinda sorta cut and style hair that was, literally and figuratively, as white as you could get.

When the dog-and-pony haircut came to its merciful end, the CNN crew accidentally stumbled upon actually “news.”

Turned out the barber was not quite sure who Pence even was, having to ask his name, and then being somewhat taken aback when he learned he was on the same ticket with a candidate who secured his nomination by stoking racial prejudice in what we hope is a vocal minority of mostly angry white males who started demanding their country back a split-second after Barack Obama was elected the first president of color in 2008.

Spin Central tried to sell us that Pence was chosen for the bottom half the GOP ticket to make it look respectable.

Good luck with that.

The choice of Pence as VP wannabe, as exhibited by his track record, was merely an act of doubling down on the Make America Great (i.e. White) Again platform that bullied its away to the nomination.

Pence’s addition to the ticket only underscores the Molotov cocktail of ignorance and arrogance that is a self-imploding campaign that is sagging in the polls against a flawed, and beatable, candidate in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The barber is not alone in not really knowing Pence.

Criticize him for that if you must, but why should he bother?

The nation has become so turned off by partisan politics that exist and subsist by and for the special interests and big corporations, that it is not too hard to tune it all out.

Fortunately, the information still exists for any who seek it. We may not know what goes on behind closed doors in Mike Pence’s world, but we know the basics from his actions.

For all those like the barber, who don’t really know who he is, considering the following a PSA (public service announcement) from GNN (Gordonville News Network).

Pence is the governor of Indiana. Nothing wrong with that, at least at face value. For those of us who have been there, the people are quite nice – well, up to a point.

John Mellencamp is a native son, as is Larry Bird.

But Indiana is also home to some of the most ridiculously soft gun laws in the country. When they talk about loopholes, put the Hoosier state’s logo on the poster (believe it or not, blind people can even own guns there).

The GOP presidential nominee is touting himself as a “law and order” candidate who will end violence – mostly in America’s urban kill zones (conservative code for where non-whites run amok) – about 12.2 seconds after stepping into office. The city often cited in these disjointed diatribes is Chicago, and it always mentioned how the Windy City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but still has a mounting body count.

What isn’t mentioned? An estimated twenty percent of the guns used on the streets of Chicago are purchased in nearby Indiana, where Pence is the governor and vice presidential candidate on ticket vowing to save Chicago from its evil ways.

For that many guns — one in five –to come from just one outside state is downright obnoxious.

The blind shooters is only the tip of the gun-nut iceberg that is the Hoosier state. In 2014, Pence spurned state school organizations and signed a bill to allow guns to be allowed in cars on school property. He recruited the NRA to train the National Guard on concealed carry techniques (even when the National Guard questioned why they were being trained by a private agency, as if they couldn’t connect the dots there).

He also signed a bill in which lawsuits against gun manufacturers in Indiana – and sellers of ammunition and firearms – became almost impossible. It also retroactively terminated a lawsuit from the mostly-black city of Gary, Ind., where one would guess he would not be welcomed in many barbershops.

But what did he care? It was designed for the gun industry to view Indiana as gun-dealer friendly. He surely got his cut.

Now, while we know more about this guy with an A grade from the NRA, let’s look at how he came into our orbit in the county seat.

After losing bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, the historically homophobic Pence built his brand with one of those slanted talk-conservative radio shows — the creatively named “Mike Pence Show” – where pro-gun rhetoric is like a stretching exercise before yoga class.

He billed himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” which is kind of like being a Dead Head on hashish.

Pence was elected to the House in 2000, sweeping in on the coattails of George W. Bush’s stolen win over Al Gore in the presidential election and the fact that his perpetually gerrymandered district was vacated when the incumbent ran for governor.

Pence stayed in the House until 2012, earning a battlefield promotion to Republican Conference Chairman (a thrown bone after losing to John Boehner by a country mile for Republican minority leader).

Pence then ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 (the outgoing GOP governor was “term-limited,” so it was not that much of a bold move to walk away from his Tea Party friends in D.C.).

To be fair, Pence made himself fairly visible as a “values” Republican while in the House.

As such, his views are out there. You need not be a political junkie to shoot his poison into your veins.

And these “values” would likely not make him welcome in too many black barbershops — let alone Mexican restaurants (opposed birthright citizenship) or places where women dare think to do anything but cook and clean and bring their husbands martinis (strongly advocated defunding planned parenthood).

If the Tea Party had the guts to set the rest of the GOP free from bondage and form their own party, Pence would be right there with Sarah Palin as a leader.

Consider the following:

-Pence declared that “freedom won today” when the Supreme Court took the people out of the political process with its Citizen’s United ruling in 2010.

-He voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007 because a hike from $5.15 to $7.25 would “hurt the working poor.”

-He was all in, from the jump, on Bush’s war of folly in Iraq that created thousands of American casualties, with a disproportionate number being black or Hispanic, and opposed withdrawal.

-As the GOP stance on immigration mysteriously softens, consider that Pence – as far back as 2006 – proudly put forward an immigration policy he dubbed “No Amnesty Immigration Reform.” Right on cue, he didn’t need more than a split-second to vote down the DREAM act to give children of undocumented workers non-immigration status.

Had enough?

We’ll send you away with these fun facts:

-He denies climate change, as he is still waiting on the facts not presented by 99 percent of scientists (whisper: he also claims that the full effects of tobacco use are not yet known).

-He opposes embryonic stem cell research, claiming those breakthroughs are “obsolete.”

-He believes in evolution.

Impressed when he showed up for a photo opp recently in Louisiana after horrific flooding, were we? Consider that he wanted to limit funding for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005.

So, people, that’s Mike Pence.

And the first time he ever went against his own party’s playbook may have been when he walked into a black barbershop in Norristown.

And the barber didn’t know his name.

That was a well-deserved slap in the face.

 

A Vow From The Chair

Dems For Bono

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

GORDONVILLE — It has been more than three decades of political awareness than stood before a mirror, with a picture of Bobby Kennedy behind me, and made the following vow:

I, Gordon Glantz, take you the Democratic party, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

And I have, more or less, stayed true to these ideals. When I send in a play from the sidelines, it was from the Liberal playbook.

My first presidential election was 1984, and I voted for Walter Mondale. I have never voted for a Republican for president.

Yes, that means I voted for Barack Obama twice. And, while I don’t agree with everything he has done, I would do it again.

Because I can’t, I’m “all in” for Bernie Sanders. If his long-shot bid fails, I have no choice but to go with Hillary Clinton over anyone currently in the GOP field.

Sorry if some of you find that as a turnoff, but I believe honesty is the best policy. When you are not in a vicious cycle of telling lies to get out of the lies you told before, your days are easy and your nights are not as sleepless.

While we are being honest. I will admit that I was as bloodthirsty for revenge as any red-blooded American after 9/11. I remember how unified we all were — at least for the blink of an eye — and even commented that it was a “good thing we have a Texan in the White House.”

Because he blew it, leaving the country more divided, I believe that “ersatz Texan” — George W. Bush — is the worst president of my lifetime.

Not even close.

Some told me I would get more conservative after the birth of my daughter, Sofia, in 2007. Turns out, the opposite was true.

Because my baby girl will be one day be a young woman and a lady, gender equity is is an important issue to me.

Because I want to leave her — and her children and children’s children — with a better planet, I have become increasingly aware of the environment.

And whether or not you believe climate change/global warming is a human-made or some strange natural phenomenon, it should not change the idea that we can work together to do something about it “in the now” by simply recycling and eating less meat and carpooling and using public transportation in lieu of driving.

And don’t get me started on holding the oil industry and other major polluters accountable.

While my liberal playbook — and a few viewings of “Bowling For Columbine” — always had me advocating for stricter gun control, it got more personal after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The young victims were around the same age as Sofia, and I have been passionate about strict gun control ever since.

While I would never own a gun, that doesn’t mean I want to go door to door and take guns away from sane and responsible gun owners. I merely want them taken away from those who have no right being in the same hemisphere with firearms, and I refuse believe it is impossible to work toward that goal — just like it always was, and remains, possible to make the roads safer with better-made vehicles and ongoing enhanced enforcement for evolving scourges likes distracted driving.

Like climate change/global warming, my mind is boggled about gun control being a political wedge issue.

However, I don’t believe in absolutes. That would make me closed-minded, and therefore not a true liberal (look up the definition).

On the local level, I have voted for nearly as many Republicans as Democrats,a nd I have done so with no regrets. That includes Sam Katz when he ran for mayor of my hometown of Philadelphia, which I believe would have been better off had he won in 1999.

It certainly would have been a safer place  to live and work, which my wife does.

This brings us to the subject of law enforcement. Since residing in Montgomery County, I have voted for the best person for the job — regardless of party affiliation — for the offices of district attorney and sheriff.

And, as it turns out, my choices have always been Republican.

I was proud to pull the lever for Eileen Whalon Behr, who I knew well from my hitch as the crime reporter for the Times Herald, and I was even more stoked to see Russell J. Bono come out of a short retirement from the Norristown Police Department to take her place.

I worked closely with Russell while I was covering the crime beat, as he was in the final phase of his career with the NPD, that being the chief during that time. We developed a mutual respect and a friendship that transcended our political differences (such as the Second Amendment).

When I was promoted to managing editor, he was one of the first people I called, and he gave me a vote of confidence.

When he retired, I gladly penned a column and a story about his career.

When my own journalism career came to an end, he was one of the first people I reached out to and he was again beyond supportive.

Those are times you don’t you don’t forget, because you find who your friends are.

When he decided to run to retain the office, I put aside party affiliation — as everyone should when it comes to enforcing the law — and asked what I could do to help.

I don’t know all that much about the opponent. Frankly, I don’t need to know much because Russell J. Bono — as a lawman and not a lawyer — is the right man for the job.

As a career lawman, he is an artisan of his craft. What always amazed about him, despite his years on the job, is that he was never jaded enough not feel sincere compassion for innocent victims

That is why I have gladly accepted the position of Chairman of the Democrats for Bono committee.

Whether you are a fellow Democrat, an independent or an on-the-fence Republican, I ask for your support.

The End of the ‘Silent Night’

Image

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — Sofia is a playing an angel in her school’s Christmas pageant. Always the performer, she turned our home into a playhouse, and has used the pending occasion to practice the song and dance routine repeatedly.

But it wasn’t until the other night – as she was singing “Silent Night” and busting ballet moves in her angel outfit, complete with wings and halo – that a bitter irony struck me.

The pageant practically coincides with the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 26 people dead.

Twenty of those victims were first-graders huddled together in a corner of their classroom.

Sofia is now in first grade herself.

Sorry if it hits home, but it hits home.

Just like the parents of those once-living angels who never saw 2013’s Christmas, or Hanukkah, I drive her to school each morning and make sure to say “I love you” and get a goodbye kiss before she exits. And my day isn’t complete until she is back in my car, safe and sound, and begins telling me about the happenings of her day with her teen-like verbiage oddly coupled with a baby voice.

And when Sofia and her fellow angels sing “Silent Night,” it will be hard not to think of those other angels from Newtown and the sentiment that they will “sleep in heavenly peace.”

There will be commemorations all across America on Saturday’s marking point of the nation’s 31st – yes, 31st – school shooting since Columbine in 1999, and many will include moments of silence for the victims.

But the silence on gun control – and the powerful stranglehold that the NRA maintains on our weapon-entranced culture – should have ended a year ago.

If that wasn’t the definitive line in the sand, a call to begin fighting back, then what is?

Yes, there had been mass shootings before that begged for change.

But Newtown – maybe because of the time, place and age of victims – seemed to have “last straw” stamped on its ugly face.

The clock had struck midnight in America.

The time seemed right to stay vigilant through the darkness and celebrate a new dawn.

The president, who had not done anything but “try to take your guns away” in his first term, laid down the gauntlet with 23 executive actions, including the CDC doing an about-face on a short-sighted act of Congress calling on the Centers for Disease Control to cease and desist putting the scourge of gun violence under its objective microscope.

The result? Nothing.

Once again – against the will of “we the people” (91 percent of voters support background checks on prospective gun owners, according to a Quinnipiac poll) – those inside the beltway, who are protected by secret service agents, decided to place it on the back-burner and dare to look parents in the eye.

What was a cursory baby step toward sane gun control was shot down by our leaders in Washington, D.C. in a cruel-and-calculated way that more or less exceeded what happened in Newtown, Conn.

People still can’t believe something like that can happen in an upscale New England town.

I still can’t believe something like what happened in response could happen in Congress.

The current year has been just as bloody. Lowlights include 13 being gunned down in a D.C. Navy Yard in September and six school employees at a Santa Monica Junior College in June.

What does or doesn’t make headlines and lead the nation news broadcasts on a given day is an inexact science. Let us not forget six killed in July in Hialeah, Fla. in July or five in Manchester, Ill. (by the nephew of the local mayor) in April or the spree in upstate New York by a 64-year-old who took six lives.

It would be safe to say that the full year since last Dec. 14 has been a silent night.

A long, cold and sleepless one.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,” said Martin Luther King., Jr.

To heed these words, we need to begin standing together and making a noise so loud that our elected leaders will realize that they will be out of work if they choose not to listen.

Newtown has jarred some modicum of progress. Individual states, some which previously had pathetic gun laws, have enacted measures. But without top-down legislation, it’s too shoddy. It’s no surprise that there is a correlation between higher rates of gun deaths and those assigned failing grades by the Law Center to Prevent Violence.

In a clash of titans, the NFL seems to be willing to butt heads with the NRA, as it has refused to accept pro-gun blood money to run ads promoting firearm ownership for the sake of self-protection.

The American Association of Pediatricians, in a recent survey, supported legislative action.

There has been the formation of grassroots groups, several of which I follow on Facebook and repost – much to the annoyance of my gun-toting friends – on my page.

This is a great first step, but these groups – with the exception of the NFL — remain mice fighting gorillas.

All the logical arguments to work toward gun control meet with responses ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and from the ignorant to the arrogant.

Common right-wing retort:  It is more about addressing mental health than guns.

OK, honestly – and I don’t mean to sound harsh — how do we police every person with issues who may have skipped his meds, let alone all those who go temporarily insane and act on impulse with a gun close at hand.

Here’s a classic: It is impossible to do anything about it.

So … that means do nothing?

That means Nelson Mandela, who said, “it’s always impossible until it’s done,” had it wrong but you “defenders of freedom” – in your infinite wisdom — have it right?

And they like this one: Cars kill more people than guns do, and you don’t want to ban all cars, do ya?

First of all, while my utopian world would be gun-free, no one is talking about banning guns. We are advocating dialing it down a notch from it being the Wild West of yore in the 21st century.

There are, as there should be, a litany of safeguards against the type of driving that takes lives. On top of that, measures are taken to keep safe vehicles on the road. Law enforcement is empowered to make the roads safer.

And, secondly, there are thousands upon thousands of vehicles on the road each day. A miniscule percentage of drivers are looking to do harm, as stupid as they are at times. It’s not apples to apples.

So how do you like them apples?

And they might counter: I am a responsible gun owner. Why should I be penalized?

If you are a responsible gun owner, you won’t be penalized under any of the proposed baby steps toward saving babies.

And there is this old standby: It’s the law. It’s in the Second Amendment. It’s what the founding fathers wanted.

The founding fathers came from a different place and time when they advocated gun ownership. If they could see what is going on in their name, they would be heartbroken.

If they wouldn’t be, they are no one I care to admire.

According to USA Today, there have been more than 200 mass killings (four or more victims) since 2006, which is an average of one every two weeks.  That is a conservative estimate, as the exact number is curiously underreported by the FBI (considered 61 percent accurate).

The same article revealed that a third of the victims are under the age of 18.

In the last year, since the unspeakable tragedy at Newtown, 194 children (defined as being under the age of 12) have been killed by guns, according to MotherJones.com.

And the average age per victim was 6, same as Sofia.

Our country leads the world with this dubious distinction, and that rate is four times that of Canada, which is second. It is a rate 65 times greater than Britain or Germany.

In keeping with the holiday season, let’s put it another way.

That’s a whole lot of angels prevented – via a silent night – from sleeping in heavenly peace.