As a Connecticut school, we feel the pain in Newtown as our pain. Their loss is our loss, their grief our grief. We, as a community of learners just a few miles away and a few years older, must remember that we are not so different from Sandy Hook Elementary School. We ask for safety and security as we pursue our studies. We ask only to learn in peace — and this universal right was denied to the innocent students of an entire elementary school.
In years past, this right was denied to the students of Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and too many others. We cannot allow our places of learning to become places of fear.
So often isolated from the rest of Connecticut, Yalies have an opportunity to stand with a larger community who will be unable to forget the events of just over a month ago. It is also our moment to stand with those who have seen one tragedy too many and finally called for change. The call to limit gun violence in America — and to honor the memory of those who died — must be our cause as well.
It is simply too easy to acquire a gun in the United States. We have failed to question the loopholes and lapses in our laws, allowing ourselves to forget the brutal stain gun violence leaves on our communities and our country. There are simple steps that will allow us to make our schools, malls and movie theaters safer. Of course, it is impossible to create an insurmountable safeguard against the mind of a mass murderer, but the impossibility of a perfect solution is a poor excuse for inaction.
As fellow Connecticut students, we stand behind the efforts President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday. We encourage Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to follow the lead set by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and to involve Connecticut in a statewide dialogue that leads to legislative action.
Members of our board, many of us American citizens, stand by the right guaranteed in the Second Amendment, but it has become increasingly clear that the lethal capacity of firearms has outpaced the rational application of the amendment.
Yet laws to control the purchase of American firearms will not suffice as an answer to the repeated tragedies our communities have faced. We must also look beyond guns to address issues of mental health and a culture that glorifies violence — a culture in which we have all grown up. We expect Malloy’s efforts to be comprehensive.
Of course, these solutions will face immense obstacles. Gun ownership is a part of American culture, and a right according to our Constitution. But this is a moment for students — still horrified, outraged and heartbroken a month later — to act.