Not Sports

This blog expresses my views and opinions, and not those of RCN. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read them and I assume readers are sports fans, much like me. So let me apologize up front for this blog because it is NOT about sports. So if you want to stop reading now, I truly understand.

Everyone now knows that this past week, 17 people (students and teachers) were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. You all know that.

The gunman, a 19-year-old, has been arrested. He used an AR-15 rifle to kill the 17 in a relatively short period of time.

So America finds itself dealing with another senseless mass killing at a school – like Columbine, and Sandy Hook. If experience is such a great teacher, then what have we learned from this latest tragedy that we did not already know from the others?  Absolutely nothing!

But at least the students and the parents of Florida are not just asking questions – they are also demanding answers and organizing their power. I have some questions of my own for the NRA, politicians, and average citizens:

  • Why does anyone, except our police and soldiers, need a rapid fire weapon?
  • Why does anyone need to possess more powerful weapons than the police have?
  • Why does any politician feel it is much more important to take money from the NRA than it is to stand up against the gun lobbyists?
  • Why is any elected position more important to a politician than protecting human life, especially the lives of children?
  • Why have we defined “regulated militia” as a way to allow virtually any American citizen to “bear arms”?
  • Why have we used a time when the most dangerous firearms were “muskets” to now include guns capable of mass shootings?
  • Why is there no compromise on the types of firearms that can be purchased by the average citizen to protect their family?
  • Why aren’t background checks on those who purchase guns just plain common sense?
  • Why does the NRA just talk about the mental instability of the shooter and say nothing about the fact that he purchased a weapon that can kill so many in so little time?

About 30 years ago, when I was teaching school, an administrator walked into my classroom and summoned me to step outside. Another teacher was asked to cover my class.  I had volunteered to be on the school safety committee and the principal said I was needed.  I had NEVER been needed as a member of the Safety Committee except to go through some training from time to time.

The principal asked me to come with him and we descended to the basement where an art class was being held. As I approached the classroom, I saw four policemen in the hall.

It turns out that there was a rumor that one of the students had brought a gun into the school (mind you, this was @ 30 years ago). The principal felt that since I taught this student and I had a good relationship with the young man, I could get him to quietly leave the class he was in.  The police told me they thought a gun might be in his duffel bag.

I thought they must be kidding. I knew the student and I would never have suspected him to do anything so foolish and outlandish.  I entered the classroom, quietly went up to the student, picked up his duffel bag, and asked him to come out into the hall with me.

Once out of the classroom, I saw the panic on his face when he saw the police. They opened up the bag and there was a pistol and it was loaded.  I was absolutely stunned.  Never did I think this would ever happen in my school.  Never would I have suspected this student would do such a thing.  He was being bullied, he told the police, and brought the gun to school for protection.  He was expelled.

I taught another 15 years or so and never experienced an incident like that one again. I also never forgot that day.  Nor could I have imagined what that day would portend.

And now today we experience the tragedies that have occurred in our schools and occur on our streets. Gun deaths are commonplace in this country every day.  We focus more on these mass killings, but, according to the Huffington Post, seven people are shot every 60 minutes, over 150 per day.  Aren’t these also another form of mass killings?

“People kill, guns don’t” is what the NRA says all the time. Well, people DO kill, but weapons that kill so many so quickly must be kept out of the hands of those who do kill.

If you argue that, I can only once again say, “Why?”

I promise I’ll get back to sports next week.





Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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