Monday, December 17, 2012

They'll Never See It

December 14, 1976, East Brunswick, New Jersey...

If it had happened in my school, when I was 6, about to be 7...

We wouldn't have seen the development of personal computers and the Internet, mobile phones, hybrid cars, and a device that allows us to not only, effectively, program our own radio station, but carry that station in our pocket.  We wouldn't have seen the destruction of 2 space shuttles, but we wouldn't have seen the flights of 5.

We wouldn't have seen peace between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Jordan.  We wouldn't have seen the Good Friday Accord that brought peace to Northern Ireland.  We wouldn't have seen the end of the regimes of Marcos, Pinochet, Mobutu, Saddam, Khadafy and Mubarak.  We wouldn't have seen the rise of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks, but we also wouldn't have seen the termination of bin Laden and the marginalization of al-Qaeda.

We wouldn't have seen a President who admitted that he feels our pain, and we wouldn't have seen the first black President, one who demonstrates how good it is to have a President who thinks first and acts second.  And we wouldn't have seen a candidate for President who seemed to revel in being a rich man and a bully get what was coming to him at the ballot box.

We wouldn't have read some incredible books, seen some amazing movies, watched some great TV shows, some already made, some yet to be made.  We wouldn't have heard the voices of Whitney Houston or Alicia Keys, wouldn't have seen Michael Jackson become something more than just another teen idol, wouldn't have seen Eminem and Pink make us laugh one second and think the next with their songs and videos.

We wouldn't have seen championships won by the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Rangers and Islanders.  We wouldn't have seen the Devils arrive and win Stanley Cups.  We wouldn't have seen the Cosmos win more titles, then fall, then be replaced by the MetroStars/Red Bulls.  We wouldn't have seen the development of international sports networks that have shown us the world's game, opening us to names like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, the other Ronaldo, Maldini, Zidane, Henry, Messi, Balotelli.

We wouldn't have seen the New York sports scene develop legends like Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Bernard King, Dwight Gooden, Patrick Ewing, Jeff Hostetler, Brian Leetch, Martin Brodeur, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mike Piazza, David Wright and Eli Manning.

We wouldn't have seen the World Series heroics of Reggie Jackson, Tug McGraw, Kirk Gibson, Jack Morris, Joe Carter, David Justice, Jim Leyritz, Scott Brosius, Chad Curtis, Luis Sojo, Curt Schilling, Scott Spiezio, Geoff Blum, Joe Blanton, Johnny Damon, Brian Wilson, David Freese and Pablo Sandoval.

We wouldn't have seen the Super Bowl heroics of John Stallworth, Marcus Allen, Doug Williams, Brett Favre, Terrell Davis, Mike Jones, Adam Vinatieri, David Tyree, or the Saints' onside kick.

We wouldn't have seen the NBA Finals heroics of Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki or LeBron James.

We wouldn't have seen the Stanley Cup heroics of Bobby Nystrom, Mario Lemieux, Guy Carbonneau, Mark Messier, New Jersey's own Jim Dowd, Uwe Krupp, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Jason Arnott, Ray Bourque, Dave Andreychuk, Patrick Kane and Tim Thomas.

We wouldn't have seen the Olympic achievements of the U.S. hockey team, Eric Heiden, New Jersey's own Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, Bonnie Blair, Kerri Strug, Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas.

We wouldn't have seen most of the career of Walter Payton, Bucky Dent's Bloop, The Drive -- either John Elway's or Joe Montana's -- Larry Bird make The Steal, Orel Hershiser pitch 59 straight scoreless innings, Michael Jordan make The Shot, the now-tainted home run record race, the Music City Miracle, the Jets-Dolphins Monday Night Miracle, Jeter pulling off The Flip or The Dive or hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit, Alex Rodriguez's 500th and 600th home runs, the defensive routs of Mike Singletary, Reggie White, Ray Lewis and Clay Matthews III, the running of Curtis Martin, the passing of Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, or the field goals that Jason Elam and Sebastian Janikowski hit for 63 yards or the ones that Jason Tynes kicked to get the Giants into 2 Super Bowls.

We wouldn't have seen the new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, MetLife Stadium, the Prudential Center, the Barclays Center or Red Bull Arena.

And we wouldn't have met the friends we've met from 1977 to 2012, and in the cases of some of us the people we fell in love with, the people we married, the children that we had.

Think of all that we would have missed, had one mentally ill man come into my school -- or your school -- with a firearm designed for warfare, and shot it up when I, or you, were 6 years old.

December 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut...

Something will happen in Super Bowl XLVII in a few weeks.  Something that we'll never forget.  It may be a previously unnoticed player becoming a hero for all time.  Or a goat for all time.  It may be a previously established hero reinforcing his legend.  It may be a player with a cloud over him finding some measure of redemption.

Something will happen in the 2013 baseball season, and in its World Series.

There will be hockey again, and new legends will be born.

The current stars of baseball, football, and every other sport will play out their careers, and be replaced by new legends.  Some of the old legends will return to coach the new legends.

And, of course, outside the world of sports, things will happen.  Some beneficial, some harmful.  Some wonderful, some, as what happened in Newtown, horrific.

Some will be beyond the imagination of those now older than 6 or 7 years old.

But those people who died in the Newtown Massacre won't get to see them.

All because a very few people in this country don't yet think that it is important to ensure that people who are mentally ill shouldn't have firearms, and that weapons designed for war, for nothing but killing as many people as you can shoot at any one time, should be available to just about anybody.

When will we see the next Derek Jeter? The next Joe Montana? The next Michael Jordan? The next Mike Eruzione? The next Thierry Henry?

When will we see the next Albert Einstein? The next Mother Teresa? The next Bill Gates? The next Vincent van Gogh? The next scientist to find a great cure?

What if one of those was killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School?

You can be a "law-abiding gun owner" and still accept that some people shouldn't have guns.

Because people like these shooters are not "a well-regulated militia."

They're not a well-regulated anything.