How does one begin to comment about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut?
What can one say about the slaughter of 28 people, 20 of them young children?
Well, let me try if I can.
Like everyone else, I am profoundly saddened, dismayed and bewildered by what happened today. My thoughts are with the families of those who are no longer with us.
I realize that it may be too early for “analysis” especially when the victims haven’t been laid to rest. The following is only intended to try to put what happened today in some kind of perspective.
Given the age of a majority of the victims, I suspect there will be intensified calls for tighter gun control laws and I also suspect there will be greater public support for these measures. The death of young children is very hard to take. What parent doesn’t see themselves in the shoes of those in Newtown? This would include President Obama.
But when President Obama speaks of ” taking meaningful action” it is hard to conceive that he is talking about anything other than stronger gun control laws.
Let me put it this way. If I thought that tougher gun control laws was all it took to prevent this from happening, I would be on board. But easy answers not only never solve the problem they often create more problems.
No gun law can ever abolish evil. Indeed, evil can rise anywhere at anytime. As Bill Hemmer of FNC pointed out there hadn’t been a major crime committed in Newtown in two years. Let us also remember that the gunman shot and killed his own mother before proceeding to the school where his mother worked and then killed all those people.
Sadly, the killing of schoolchildren is not unprecedented in this country. Of course, most people remember Columbine. I particularly remember the 1988 school shooting in Winnetka, Illinois which resulted in the death of eight-year old boy while four of his classmates were seriously wounded. The 2006 school shooting in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania which resulted in the death of five girls also sticks out in my mind. Unfortunately, this scarcely scratches the surface of the school shootings that have taken place over the past quarter century.
Let’s consider that gun ownership has been part of this country’s history since its founding. The same cannot be said of massacres of this nature. What this tells me is that something has changed in the character of this country over the past 25 years. These changes in character and culture won’t be easy to diagnose as there are multiple symptoms. Even if we do manage to come to a general consensus as to the diagnosis and then somehow find some kind of cure, it will take many years before we can remedy our character. And even if we do that, evil is never far away.