Having arranged to meet my running companion Chris, with whom I had had a run over Wimbledon Common at dawn this morning for breakfast with our respective wives at the Olive Garden in nearby Raynes Park I speculated slightly about what the conversation might bring. Chris and his wife and mrs maytrees are all teachers at local schools for primary school age children with Chris being a headteacher. The newspaper headlines today are full not of fast approaching Christmas but of the tragic shootings at the primary school in Newtown Connecticut USA. So many children and teachers were killed there yesterday so needlessly.
The tragedy the background to which which is still unfolding, reminded me of the hideous killings at a Scottish school in Dunblane in the 1990s. The silver lining of those tragic killings is was as I recall, a change in the UK laws concerning the private possession of hand guns. The law changed not as a result of strong leadership by the government of the day, the political hue of which I do not even recollect but as a result of the Dunblane parents lobbying and insisting upon changes to the law being made. That their insistence eventually yielded a positive result might have ameliorated their grief at least slightly but surely has saved others from experiencing such sufferings as theirs.
President Obama himself a father of young children, is deeply grief stricken, which is obviously reflected in his own words and reactions. Likewise the words and reactions of the UK prime minister and other leaders from around the world.
Sadly one can never entirely prevent insane people from accessing guns as there always seem to be found some criminal suppliers somewhere,but in my humble opinion, American leaders should now act to minimise the possibility of this kind of tragedy occurring again. This they may be more inspired to do in the weeks ahead, by the actions and lobbying of Newtown Connecticut parents. Such actions and lobbying may be harder for the affected parents than even was the work of the Dunblane families because of the American tradition of gun ownership but they may be best placed to start the change of mindset that is surely needed.