The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre forces us to talk

Since this past Friday there has been non stop coverage of the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. We saw one deranged young man kill 26 people. Twenty small children lost their lives that day and their families are left to cope with an unspeakable lost, but once their children are buried and the tears have ceased their flow what will we do? Over the past few days we have heard gun owners and gun lovers defend their right to bear arms, but they have stopped short of defending the right to bear an assault weapon. The weapon the killer used is the kind of gun that should only be used in a war zone, and an elementary school is not a war zone, but in an inexplicable act of evil the killer turned it into one. There has been a reluctance to criticize the mother of the killer. Yesterday I heard a pundit say he did not want to speak ill of the dead. In theory I understand this sentiment, but we have to ask why would a mother who is aware of her son’s mental issues have these types of guns in her home? Do you blame her? No, but you do have questions and unfortunately no one can answer them. Yesterday the first two children were buried and we weep with the family, but our tears are small comfort. We have to act and at least now we are starting to have a real conversation on gun laws and mental health issues. Do we have the courage to really pass any comprehensive gun legislation? Sadly, we have to ask does it take an unspeakable act like this to start a conversation that we should have had to avoid something like this.

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Comments

  • Spanish Inquisitor  On December 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I have a couple of thoughts:

    1. We definitely need a dialogue on how best to handle mental illness. There is such a societal stigma attached to it, then we seem to only want to touch it with kid gloves, by making light of it, or joking (have you ever called a psychiatrist a “shrink”?). We are far more educated about the workings of the human brain than we were even 50 years ago, but we are light years away from understanding it completely. We have no problem running off to a doctor for the slightest physical ailment, yet despite that fact that the brain is far more complicated than all the other organs in the body combined, we hesitate to do something when things “aren’t right”. Often mental illness is left to the parents, or families, and society simply ignores it. We need to change our attitudes about it. In the process, we’ll not only have a better understanding of what makes the Adam Lanza’s of the world tick, but we’ll make great strides in dealing with other societal ills, such as homelessness, suicide, drug addiction, etc.

    There is no single entity capable of rounding up all the elements necessary to accomplish this, than government. So at a time when politicians keep talking about “government being the problem” and cutting back on spending, we should be increasing government involvement and spending on mental illness, not decreasing it. Something on the order of putting a man on the moon is what is needed.

    2. We also need to get a grip on guns. Guns are not the problem, but they are the tool that the problem-makers first grab when they cause the problems they do. Whether it’s over-population, or poverty, or mental illness, or TV, or a lack of religion and morality, or violent computer games, or an unallocated combination of some or all of those things and more, whatever the cause of the problems that result in gun violence, it’s guns that are used to express the problem. We have the wrong attitude about violence in this country, and we need to drill down and find out why. While we’re figuring that out, and that may take a long time to do, we need to restrict access to certain types of guns, to certain types of people. I don’t know how to accomplish that, but that’s a truism that is hard to object to, in my opinion.

    3. I don’t hold out much hope that we will do anything at all about # 1 and #2 while the Republicans in Congress hold any power, and while the Democrats resist them. These things need all parties to come together, to forget political differences, and work for the common good of the country. Neither # 1 nor #2 is a political issue. They are human issues, and as human beings, Congress should forget their party affiliations and do something, do what we pay them to do. Legislate for OUR common good, not theirs.

    If they don’t, this latest massacre will blow over in a week or two, and nothing will be done.

    • elogam  On December 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Wow S.I., we see pretty much eye-to-eye on this! That just shows this truly isn’t a partisan issue, but a human and cultural one. I sincerely hope our leadership will bypass the outrageous and focus on the realistic, effective and workable solutions to this problem.

      • Spanish Inquisitor  On December 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

        Wow S.I., we see pretty much eye-to-eye on this!

        There IS a god! ;)

  • rs  On December 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I am all for our second ammendment. The moment we redefine our Constitution, is the moment we lose freedom.

    That being said, no one should have any accessible weapons in their home when there is an unbalanced individual living in their home. However, when someone truly wants to injure others, a gun is not needed. He could of used a knife, a bomb, or even tossed a Molatove cocktail through a window.

    He was a deranged young man, and while, his mother meant well, she was not prepared to give her son the help he needed.

  • rs  On December 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Please google A Principle and His Gun. It is the story of how an assistant principle ran to his car to get his own gun to stop a 16 year old from shooting his classmates. At the end two were dead, five injured. Imagine how many more could have been killed if this man did not get his legally owned gun to protect his students.

  • elogam  On December 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    EM, I have to differ with you on a key component. The weapon used, the Bushmaster, is NOT the same type of weapon used by military and police. Externally it looks like an A-4 or similar weapon, but internally it is different. It has two settings: semi-automatic and safe. In other words, you pull the trigger one time and it fires ONE bullet. It has NO automatic fire setting, a critical step to make it a proper “assault” weapon. The round it fires is a .223 caliber bullet. It’s slightly bigger than a .22 bullet, albeit longer. I am SO tired of people on both sides referring to it as an “assault weapon” and making it difficult for us to have clear conversations. To give you a better analogy, remember the old VW bug? Someone came out with a kit you could use to bolt on the body of a Porsche and make it look racier and sexier, but the performance didn’t change. We need to have a clear discourse, hopefully without ulterior motives. I’m hopeful, but realistic as to the changes of that happening.

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