You live long enough in this life (or sometimes not so long) and some tragic event will touch you. For most of us, these events change us. And our opinion about such events matter.
As for me, I'm lucky. My uncle was murdered by the mob before I was born. A childhood friend committed suicide by hanging when I was 10. A cousin died of leukemia at 13 when I was a teen. I was attacked by seven mobster wannabees in college, had my head smashed into a windshield several times fighting them, but got out fairly unscathed.
I had friends in the first World Trade Center bombing who got out alive. I was mugged while living on the west coast and survived. I lived through the Los Angeles riots, watched as rioters broke through a strip mall one block from me, but luckily never got hurt. I lived through the Northridge earthquake in 94 and, while my apartment was cracked in two others weren't so lucky. I was in an airplane that lost one of its engines at 39,000 feet, had a rough landing and lived to tell the tale. I was in two auto accidents where a driver rammed into my driver's side door, turned two of my cars (one an old Hyundai) into bananas, and was lucky enough to survive both without injury.
I was down in the battery during 9/11. My wife and I escaped the city by foot. A good friend of mine wasn't so lucky. His son died in Tower one and my hometown lost over 35 people.
My mother and father have alzheimers and emphysema. That's tragic. I have an uncle who recently committed suicide. I have an aunt who did the same due to not being able to handle her illness anymore. I've had bumps in the road, been affected by the economy, and get irritated when someone who's lived a charmed, sheltered life goes on and on about how everything bad that happens to people is their own fault.
But nothing...not one solitary thing...was as horrible as hearing the news that a friend of mine lost a child in Newtown. Having two young children of my own, the awareness of that kind of pain is real.
And when ignorant people shoot off at the mouth at how our government is trying to steal our guns, how Newtown didn't happen and that all the parents were actually actors, and how nothing is more important than showing the world how this event means nothing compared to the likelihood of gun control measures...I just get enraged.
The only reason anyone needs guns is to hunt for food. Maybe as a last resort - a pistol to protect your house (my dad was an ex-marine specialist and he never had anymore than a bb gun to ward against intruders. He taught soldier's how to shoot, saw war first-hand, and was 100% for gun control).
Any other reason to have a gun is simply to kill something or someone who never did you or anyone else harm. It's a cruel, primitive, ugly machine.
And nobody on this fucking planet needs an assault rifle. If you think you need one as a civilian, you're an insecure little homunculus who suffers from a small dick or a smaller brain - or a cowardly wuss who really thinks the government is "out to get them." Give me a break.
As I've said, I've been lucky - I've been touched by tragedy dozens of times but never got the worst of it. I've had the luxury of eventually being safe...but I've hardly ever been blind. There but for the grace of God go I. You don't have to have any religion to understand how we're all in this together and how your entire life can be turned upside down in a matter of seconds. Some events are out of our control. Others are not. Guns are dangerous. Not just people.