Our response will be defining moment in our history
by Thomas Cheater
December 18, 2012 12:01 AM | 1044 views | 4 4 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An unimaginable horror descended upon a small rural Connecticut town 60 miles north of New York City last Friday. In the modern world of real-time communications and pervasive media, I received an early glimpse of what was unfolding over text messages one of my colleges in Connecticut was tracking during a Friday morning conference call. She has a close friend whose daughter attends the school. By noon it was headline news over every media outlet, absorbing America’s full attention as the chilling details began to unfold.

It’s logical to believe that our response, as a nation, to this latest massacre will be a defining moment in our history. The events of Columbine in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007, and Aurora, Colo., in July have built a painful legacy punctuated in somber anniversaries, which now number as “one too many” for the American public to bear.

The difference in Newtown was notable — they were prepared with a security plan, had full control of school entry points (locked doors), and were well trained in the actions to take during an emergency. It didn’t matter. Within minutes an unprovoked gunman broke into their quite rural school and abruptly ended 26 lives. This, in a town that had only recorded one homicide in the past decade.

The frustration weighs heavy on a society that has grown sick of the senseless slaughter that has moved from inner cities to the high schools, public universities, suburban malls and movie theaters of rural America. In Georgia it’s reached local churches, with no refuge — not even a house of worship — safe from the murderous intent of a crazed gunman.

However, this was unprecedented. It was an elementary school — and 20 of the victims were between the ages of 6 and 7. How do you console the grieving parent of a 6 year-old senselessly killed along with his classmates 10 days before Christmas?

While the long lens of history may not fully capture when the tide turned, or where government decided it was finally time to develop new sweeping legislation to prevent another senseless slaughter, I believe Newtown represents that turning point, our true “defining moment.”

So, as we pray this week for the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy, let us hope for all our sakes that our collective actions extend past the well intentioned condolences and flags set at half staff. As a civilized society where we truly value the sanctity of life, we simply can’t endure another repeat of these events.

Thomas Cheater represents Ward 6 on the Marietta School Board.

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Off Balance
December 18, 2012
Friend of Tom

To be fair, I thought Tom was hinting at legislation too. That is one problem of living in a society where political figures hint at what they want to do then bury many other agenda items in their proposals.

December 19, 2012
Seriously folks...take the politician agenda to to another discussion. This is a school board representative speaking, for Pete's sake. What in the world do you think a school board can do other than find funding for bullet proof glass and doors in the school facilities? Tom is a public servant -- a parent representative, which is the best kind to have on the school board. He mostly likely funded his own campaign and probably spent less on it than what your flat screen TV costs. Furthermore, its an editorial speaking to this event being a defining moment, the reasons why its defining, and the fact that something has to be done. He did not say gun control is what has to be done. And, to be fair, the comments by Anonymous were rude, presumpitious, and insulting. Not fair to him, I would say. So what type of legislation do you think he hinting at? Why don't you just ask him rather than assume. I would suggest legislation that makes it easier for a parent to commit a disturbed young adult or gain guardianship. Seems Britanny Spear's father was able to do it, but then again he had the wherewithall to make it happen, and who knows how long it took him.
December 18, 2012
It's interesting that you, like the president, only hint at what you're really getting at, which is to take away our rights under the constitution. Am I correct?

Did you know that this crazy boy was denied an opportunity to purchase guns in CT the week before he perpetrated his horrendous crimes? That he killed his MOTHER in order to get weapons? Which goes to show that people intent on killing will find a way no matter what, even if it means killing their own moms, finding explosives whatever. CT has some of the strongest gun control laws in the land, yet that did not stop these acts.

You are naive sir. Bad people will find a way to do evil. The only way to counter evil is to recognize it for what it is. Guns are not inherently evil. You need to recognize where the threat comes from and address it, and until then, don't try to scold people for something no law could really prevent. Killers are LAWLESS. Evil must be met with equal force by GOOD people. Guns are not the problem.

By the way, I realize you are a politician and therefore unable to be direct and truthful, but if you are talking about gun control, the least you can do is say the words. To do otherwise is disingenous and cowardly of you.
December 18, 2012
I know Tom Cheater, and he is not a politician. He's a husband, father, businessman, and faithful church goer who decided to offer his sensibilities and strong values to public service. You THINK he is hinting at gun control because he mentioned legislation. Shame on you for reading between the lines and judging! He could be hinting at a number of solutions. One solution that comes to my mind is legislation that helps parents of young adults get them the help they need, even if the say, 20 year old, is trying to refuse it. These days, to get someone this age forced into mental health care, you have to have a significant event happen FIRST. Not a shooting obviously. But its always something bad before you can invoke any laws to get them help. PRIVACY acts have prevented parents of even high school seniors, who turn 18 while still in school, to force them into care. My theory is that Adam Lanza's mother was escalating her efforts to get him into care and he was refusing. I personally know that Tom would want everyone who has any power to change things to get involved in creative measures. How dare you assume that this article was about gun control. How dare you refer to him as cowardly and disingenous? Are you in public service? Are you afraid to leave your name and contact Tom and Marietta School Board with any contribution toward a solution? By the way, I support your position on guns. However, I think you give the cause a bad name when you rant online like this. It makes supporters of the right to bear arms look like wingnuts. Not saying you are one, but think about what you wrote!
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