Six years ago …

The snow drop. Nikon Df camera, Mitakon Zhongyi x4.5 lens. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Six years ago, twenty young children finished their breakfasts, kissed their parents goodbye, and went to school.

By the end of that day, twenty young children would never see their loved ones again.

Because today is the horrible anniversary, six years ago, of one of the deadliest and most horrific mass shootings in American history – the murders of first-graders and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

And the sad thing is … Sandy Hook wasn’t the first time innocent people were slaughtered by a deranged, psychotic, evil person.  And it wasn’t the last time.

Columbine High School was supposed to be the last time something like this happened.

An Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania was supposed to be the last time something like this happened.

And after Sandy Hook … it wasn’t supposed to ever happen again.

Then came the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

And the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas.

And the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And a newspaper newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.

And the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

And Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

And we saw the tragedy – we heard the horrified screams of parents who lost their children.  Of brothers and sisters who lost their siblings.  Of good friends and lifelong lovers who lost their companions.

That moment when we heard of the manhunt for the killer.  Did they capture him alive?  Did he complete his sadistic ritual by cheating the hangman and taking his life like a feckless coward?

And we heard the calls in government.  Now is not the time to talk about gun control, they said.  And they theorized that if people inside the building were trained and armed, they could have stopped the intruder, rather than take a weapon designed for battlefield out of the hands of civilians.

And with almost frightening regularity, we would see the attacks on the survivors.  It happened in Sandy Hook – we heard the terms “false flag” and “crisis actors” and other vulgarities directed at the survivors and the families.  That the murders never happened.  And the Twitter robots would follow behind, claiming that they were at the scene that day and there was no mass shooting.  Sometimes those Twitter robots would forget  to turn off their geotags and reveal that they were in Moscow when they posted their tweets.

And, sadly, we become immune.  We were desensitized to the tragedy.  We saw the news reports for a few days, then it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming.

In another timeline, in another moment, twenty young boys and girls would attend seventh and eighth grades today in Newtown, Connecticut.

That ended on December 14, 2012.

There are so many things we need to acknowledge.

We need to address responsible gun use and control.  And that includes, whether anybody likes me saying it or not, a citizen ban on semi-automatic weapons and the tools that can convert those weapons into automatic killing machines.

We need to address stronger background checks for gun ownership, including national standards that are the same from state to state.

And we need to find answers.  I don’t have all the answers.  But I’d rather look for solutions that make sense now, than to just hope and pray that another massacre of defenseless people never happens.

Unfortunately … I suspect that no matter how much I wish and pray that this will never happen again…

I fear that there’s a psychopath out there – somewhere – with enough of an arsenal to take out a small battalion – who doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything except his own twisted, vulgar goals.