Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mother's Day

Det. Vicky Armel (c) washingtonpost.comThere are two children this mother's day who will remember it more for the pain than the celebration. There is a mother nearby who mourns the loss of her son. There is a community in shock, still struggling to understand "why?" We all are. Why did Michael Kennedy decide that the best way to express himself was to take several weapons to a police station and start shooting? Why did Vicky Armel get killed leaving two small children and a husband behind?

From what we have learned, Vicky Armel was a dedicated policewoman, who loved her family, loved God and was enthusiastic about everything she did. She was also a decorated officer, the only woman in the history of the Fairfax Police Department to earn the "distinguished shooter" award which requires five perfect scores in a row.

Michael Kennedy (c0 washingtonpost.comMichael Kennedy appears to have been a troubled young man who left suicidal notebooks, and lived in a house full of guns. He had a website where his browser ID was "ghost." He talked of being an alien who had to save the planet from evil aliens disguised as human beings. Some have described him as "a normal kid" while others said lately he was depressed, and talked about aliens and saving the world. He had been arrested for carjacking in Montgomery County and had received mental health treatment. He escaped from a mental health facility in Maryland. He also lived in Centreville with his parents and little sister.

Meanwhile, Fairfax Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino remains hospitalized after being shot several times during the meleƃ©. It was his cries for help over the radio that sent Vicky Armel and other officers out of the Sully Police Station to confront Michael Kennedy.

The question that I have asked most is "how did this kid get all these guns? Was it at a gun show? Did his parents give them to him? Did some of them belong to his parents?" We don't know yet.

Are such weapons necessary in a civilized society? An AK-47 was made for one purpose - to kill people. It's not a hunting rifle; it's not for sport. It's to kill people. It was developed for motorized infantry - infantry as in soldiers in the Russian Army! If you Google this weapon you find more than four million hits on the Internet. And it was banned as part of the Federal Assault Weapons ban, which - ironically - expired in September of 2004.

So why did an 18-year-old have one of these things? What does it say about us that we think that the free traffic of such instruments of death is a profitable business protected by the Constitution. Do we really thing the Framers had an AK-47 in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment?

But that is a debate that has raged hotter and longer than this forum can handle. So we grieve with those who have lost loved ones - the Armels and the Kennedys. Pray for them - and for your mothers and sons.

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