And what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., on Dec. 14 was evil.
As a father, my heart broke for the families who suffered unimaginable loss. I can't imagine — and don't want to know — how they felt as they learned that their young children would never run into their arms again.
Unfortunately, the evil perpetrated in the halls of that school instantly was seized upon as an excuse by anti-gun advocates to cry for more-restrictive gun laws.
My own Facebook page quickly filled with a litany of posts by acquaintances railing against the NRA and anyone else with the audacity to claim the right to own guns as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution.
In their eyes, guns — and by extension those who own them and advocate for the right to bear them — were the evil that roamed the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary.
And the national media picked up that call.
All sportsmen should be concerned because our hunting rifles can — and probably will — end up in the anti-gun target.
What these well-meaning people miss is that guns are just tools, posing no threat unless misused by people who are mentally ill or evil.
The fact is that you are much less likely to be killed by a gun-wielding nut case than driving your car: The National Department of Health and Human Services estimates 35,080 people died in car wrecks in 2010, while the agency estimates 11,015 died that same year during assaults involving guns.
There are no calls to pass laws making it more difficult to own a car, even though there are more than three times the number of deaths in car accidents than gun-involved murders.
A Facebook friend responded to this by pointing out that at least with vehicles we have to obtain a drivers license, register the vehicle and have it inspected annually. So what? Any idiot can pass the driving test and get a state-issued license — and more than 30,000 people still die annually in car accidents.
The mandate to register cars and obtain permits to operate vehicles didn't prevent one of those deaths. Nor should restricting gun ownership be expected to stop evil and mentally disturbed individuals from committing evil acts.
None of this minimizes the suffering caused when guns are misused. The violent death of any loved one — young or old — is crushing.
But guns aren't the real problem: People intent on destroying lives, whether because of mental illness or plain meanness, are the issue.
Evil is alive and well today, but restricting gun ownership is not the answer to combating that reality.