Close to home

On Thursday, Dec. 3, a seven year-old child was gunned down in the parking lot of a recreation center in Taylor, Mich. after her soccer practice.

Her mother, who was also shot but survived the attack, had just picked up her daughter Emma Watson Nowling from practice when a family friend gone mad approached and opened fire on the vehicle’s occupants. After hitting both of his targets, the shooter committed suicide by shooting himself.

This is just one incident in a long line of shootings this year, but this one hits especially close to home for me.

This is because it was just 4.2 miles from my actual home.

I was raised in Taylor, Mich. and recall going to the Sportsplex regularly for league sports and school field trips. A trip to the Sportsplex on Telegraph Road was a trip to a haven of potential activities that my childhood friends and I always looked forward to.

Twelve years ago, I was a seven year-old kid playing soccer and flag football in the Sportsplex just like Emma.

To think that a person in nearly an identical circumstance as I once was had to be airlifted in serious condition to a hospital before being pronounced dead less than 24 hours later as a result of senseless violence devastates me.

The 9 mm pistol was registered and obtained legally, and the shooter held a CPL license, yet the fact that the purchasing process was followed legally did not prevent him from using it to slaughter a child.

I believe The Onion said it best with their headline from an article published in March of 2014, “’No way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens.”

It’s simple, really.

Every gun in my vicinity is just one more that could shoot me. If there are nine people legally carrying a firearm in my vicinity, there are nine guns that could potentially splatter my brains out the back of my head. If there are no guns in my proximity, there is a zero percent chance of me being shot in the face.

While the legislation currently in place does restrict known felons from acquiring firearms, it does nothing to stop nutcase murderers with a clean record from walking out of the store with a shiny new toy to kill with.

Something has to change in a country where even childhood innocence in a soccer league is under fire. Literally.