Most of us are fortunate enough to live in a nice house in a nice community. We work really hard and sacrifice for that privilege But, are we really safe? We love our children more than life itself. We want to protect them. We don’t let them play outside unsupervised, lest some evil befall them. We send them to the best schools. We tell them: “Don’t talk to strangers.” We watch them carefully at the mall scrutinizing every stranger like he or she is evil incarnate. In short, as parents, we do the best we can. But, are they really, really safe? After yesterday’s horrific shooting spree, I think we know the answer. It was there all along, but we didn’t see it. We know that despite our best efforts the answer is NOT REALLY.
The sad reality is that evil is omnipresent in the world. There is not only external danger from, say, terrorists, but also internal danger from our own people. Time and again, we learn that “normal” appearing people from “normal” homes harbor some defect that makes them capable of heinous acts of violence that are beyond the comprehension of most of us.
The media has been calling Newtown, CT the second-most horrific shooting in American history after the Virginia Tech slayings. I maintain that, qualitatively, it is the worst, because most of the victims were young children aged 5 – 9 with their whole lives ahead of them. I’m reminded of that truism “you’re not supposed to bury your kids.” Imagine, for a minute the terror of a parent walking into that firehouse looking for his or her child not knowing whether that child is alive or dead. Imagine what would go through your mind for those horrifying seconds until you finally see your child alive and well and hug him or her tightly for all the world…or not. I, for one, can’t imagine, and I hope and pray I never have to.
In addition, I think we all find it disburbing that this incident is perpetuating a trend in which a disturbed person with a “beef” against other people, or society in general, obtains a weapon and shoots up a school, an office or a building to take out his frustrations. In recent years, this has happened more times than I care to recall – Columbine, OKC, Va Tech, to name a few. The question is, what do we do about it? What CAN we do about it?
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
Yesterday, everyone was shocked, stunned, horrified, angry; you pick the characterization. President Obama was moved to tears during his address. Predictably, there will be calls for stricter gun laws, or even gun control, and corresponding resistence from the NRA, hunting enthusiasts and such. We have seen this all before. Typically, nothing meaningful happens, and we forget and move on.
I would applaud stricter gun laws. We all know that the constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms, but, I fail to understand why any private citizen would need an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. I would also favor stricter penalties for any crime in which a gun was involved. Finally, we need better supervision over gun shows and internet sales. Let’s hope that this time there is action, not just rhetoric.