The CDC has a fascinating site which gives you cause of death statistics for 2010 and it really points out that maniacs with assault weapons are the least of our kids worries. Taking into account Newtown, we are probably going to have 30 school-associated shooting deaths this year, up from the range of 3-24 deaths annually since 1999. However, according to the CDC, we had 4,419 kids aged 0-19 die in 2010 in vehicle accidents. That means your child is 150 times more likely to be killed in a car than by a "assault rifle" wielding madman. When you consider the fact that there are 310 million firearms in the United States and about 244 million cars, that car in your driveway is almost 190 times more likely to cause the death of a child than your gun is to be involved in a school shooting. Essentially, even if school shootings go to zero, that is no more than a rounding error when you think of the number of kids that die every year in car accidents.
There's more. 1,027 kids aged 0-19 die every year from drowning, making that the community swimming pool and other such bodies of water over 30 times more dangerous for your kid than some guy who wants to re-enact Call of Duty in the halls of a school. Even accidental falls kill more children every year. 127 kids died from accidental falls in 2010, making your child 4 times more likely to be a victim of gravity than a madman in the school. 365 kids die accidentally because of fire. 78 kids die from the adverse effects of medical care or drugs every year. How can we tolerate this anymore?!?!?
I'm not making light of what happened in Newtown, as a parent, the prospect of that happening to my kids scares me to death, I just don't think we can legislate a safe environment for our kids. This is life, bad things will happen. There are things that we might be able to do to mitigate some of those bad things from happening but in the end you can't really stop them. You can make the risk of another Adam Lanza go to absolute zero and yet as I've shown, you will not have materially decreased the chances that something bad will happen to your child and there is no realistic way to, short of banning bodies of water, gravity and automobiles.
Due to our headline driven culture, we seem to be more impacted by 30 deaths annually than 1,000 times more deaths that we face annually due to something as "boring" as the flu.