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Henican: Sandy Hook, Jovan Belcher, and gun control

Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials

Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (Dec. 16, 2012) Credit: AP

Two weeks ago, sportscaster Bob Costas was widely denounced for mentioning gun control on "Sunday Night Football." Costas, who grew up in Commack and graduated from Commack High School South, spoke a day and a half after a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker shot his girlfriend to death then turned the gun on himself.

Much too soon! Totally insensitive! Or so the critics roared.

Please, would someone tell me when the right time is?

On Friday morning, police say, Adam Lanza, age 20, walked into a classroom at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. After killing his mother in their Newtown home, he went to the school, where he fatally shot 20 children ages 6 and 7. He also shot and killed six other adults before shooting and killing himself. Another adult was injured.

Say what you will about this latest tragedy, and there is quite a bit to say. One fact is undeniable: Most of those children and adults would still be living if Adam Lanza hadn't been able to arm himself so easily, in this case with two semiautomatic handguns, a Sig Sauer and a Glock, and a Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine. Same with linebacker Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, who might well be alive if he'd had no gun. Same with thousands and thousands of others.

The mayor of New York and the members of Congress from Long Island have been among the voices of sanity since Lanza's shooting rampage. We have some of America's toughest gun laws around here and far less gun violence than many places. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is always front and center at times like this. That's to be expected. She has personal experience. But give extra credit to others who've been making sense.

"We keep viewing these tragedies as teachable moments on stopping gun violence," Rep. Steve Israel wrote on Facebook minutes after the reports arrived from Connecticut, risking his very own Costas-style blowback. "Then we forget the lessons until the next tragedy."

Anyone ready to learn?



1. A well-regulated militia

2. Being necessary to the security of a free state,

3. The right of the people to keep and bear arms

4. Shall not be infringed-

5. Even if means 20 dead children in Connecticut.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Nice to hear that Stony Brook's Center for Communicating Science is asking scientists around the world, "How would you explain time to a sixth-grader?" So when will the Flame Challenge get around to asking something useful like, "How on Earth do we make more of it?" . . . Are commercial-property owners in Huntington really refusing to hang art in their long-vacant storefronts? The Public Art Advisory Committee's Art Around Town program is getting off to a mighty slow start . . . Who needs 12-12-12? On 1-25-13, hometown rocker Pat Benatar is headlining a superstorm Sandy benefit at the NYCB Theatre for her beloved Lindenhurst . . . Now that Smithtown has blocked Anthony Santilli's plans for a totaled-car storage depot on Old Northport Road, who will be the first to utter two scary words: "Garbage Barge"? . . . How tight is parking on Main Street in Northport? Tight enough that local merchants are positively gleeful at the prospect of six new spaces. Six! . . . Machine-company owner Fred Plumb is paying the feds $381,000 for Little Gull Island and its lighthouse off Orient Point, 15,875 times what Dutch colonizer Peter Minuit paid the Lanape Indians for Manhattan in 1626? By the way, how did the earlier deal work out? . . . Will Sandy-battered Jones Beach be ready for the Bethpage Air Show on Memorial Day weekend? Ready or not, the Air Force Thunderbirds, Army Golden Knights and Navy Super Hornets say they'll be roaring in.

THE NEWS IN SONG: "Today could've been the day everybody was laughing": Daughtry, "Gone Too Soon,"

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