Monday morning firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were fatally shot while responding to a fire on Lake Road in Webster. That fire is now believed to have been a trap.
Firefighters Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter are in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. Both have serious injuries, but are expected to eventually recover.
With the country still reeling after the horrible Newtown, CT tragedy, those in the Rochester, NY area were greeted on the morning of Christmas Eve with another multiple homicide with a firearm. Maybe it is the fact that my son is a volunteer firefighter in a nearby district, or perhaps even more so because one of those fatally shot was just two years younger than my son, but something about this tragedy has had me on the verge of tears for the last 24 hours. In the wake of so many other highly publicized mass shootings in recent years, including the death of my children’s cousin at Virginia Tech, I have a mix of emotions from anger, betrayal, sadness and even hopelessness that our country can ever achieve the kind of critical thought necessary to become the safe, compassionate and moral society that we want for our children.
As I ponder how we came to this place, I’m struck by the tepid suggestions I hear from the newly energized gun control advocates. Neutered by 30 years of conservative victories and the proliferation of these instruments of death, even the most progressive voices are only calling for a re-instating of a ban on assault weapons and the high capacity ammunition clips that facilitate mass killing. The court’s recent rulings on the constitutionality of gun ownership (District of Columbia v. Heller) that makes irrelevant the first half of the sentence in our governing document is now seen as some kind of immutable cultural artifact.
The Second amendment to the Constitution: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed
It’s as if progressives, enraged by the slaughter of innocents, have risen up with a whisper.
I can’t help but think that we have all become victims of a venerated document. We bow before the document as if we have forgotten that we ourselves are its creator, with the intellect and the means to change it. There is something about letters written on old pieces of paper that makes us believe that the authors had wisdom unavailable to modern man. Something that makes us cowards. Something that keeps us stuck with solutions from another time, for another problem.
Which brings me back to those firefighters. There is no doubt that many will seek comfort in their religion, and that turning to their deity will give them a sense of hope. In fact the fire department of the slain men put out this statement:
“We are very saddened with the loss of our two beloved firefighters, your thoughts, prayers and condolences are greatly appreciated. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”
But I suggest if we really want to do something to prevent future tragedies, we must do more than pray. We must trust ourselves enough to take bold action. We must understand that ancient texts were written for ancient times and we must have the courage to make real change. Repeal the second amendment. Ban firearms. Period!