4 people or more dead qualifies as a mass murder. So a young man takes his parents’ assault weapon, an AR-15, probably legally purchased, and he goes and kills his mother as she lays in bed, and then uses the gun against children. No, not the Adam Lanza story; this time it’s the Nehemiah Griego story. The story is similar, but in this case, Nehemiah killed his parents and siblings and didn’t shoot at strangers. After murdering his mother, he killed his nine-year-old brother. He then killed his 5-year-old and 2-year-old sisters. Then he waited for his father to return home, and he killed him. His father was a pastor, and his father was the one who taught his son how to shoot. It is said that Nehemiah was in fact planning to go to the local Walmart to shoot up strangers after killing his family, but he changed his mind.
The family asked the media not to politicize Nehemiah Griego’s death.
“Our family has differing views on gun rights and gun control,” the family statement said. “What we do agree on is that those who wish to score political points should not use a confused, misguided, 15-year old boy to make their case.
“He is a troubled young man who made a terrible decision that will haunt him and his family forever,” the family said.
I remember someone saying something similar after another mass shooting. He was the brother of a victim, and the brother chastised and yelled at some famous TV personality for trying to “politicize” his brother’s death after she asked him a simple question about guns and gun control. This brother’s sound bite became overused fodder by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and all the other talk radio goons.
I used to agree with the view that we shouldn’t politicize incidences like this out of respect for families. I don’t agree any more. Since there was a threat of public mass murder, it’s not a private matter. As Colin Goddard, one of the Columbine survivors said, “I’m not here because of what happened to me. I’m here because of what happened to me keeps happening to other people, and we have to do something about it.”
It’s not about “political points.” It’s about stopping the bloodshed. It’s not about one family’s tragedy. It’s about how one family’s tragedy could have been shared by many other families. I’m sure the Griego family wants time to grieve, but let’s not ignore the fact that there’s an epidemic of gun violence going on right now. Let’s not forget that Nehemiah was planning to shoot strangers at Walmart–this “family problem” could’ve easily become another public problem. It’s been barely over a month since Sandy Hook. No doubt the Griego father heard about the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and yet he himself didn’t feel it necessary to give up his gun, especially with a son who had mental issues. While I can certainly empathize with the family’s right to grieve, it’s wrong to ask people not to start conversations that can help change the laws to protect their own families.