Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sadness at Sandy Hook

It was profoundly sad to witness the event, whether first hand or through the eyes of the news media, of the tragic event that befell the Village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday. There are no words to describe the blood bath that resulted in the deaths of 26 innocent people, one, innocent, but possibly complicit person and one, deranged, young adult. There's no other way to describe the actions and mental state of the killer than deranged since it's hard to believe anyone in their right mind could do something so indescribably heinous.

I won't dwell on the details of the precious lives lost, made even more painful when thinking of the 20 six and seven year old children. I have to wonder how hardened or immune we, as a society, are becoming to such events when we see these kinds of slaughters of the infirm, elderly, innocent women and children - and, hey, even the men, since most of them are not soldiers or rebels, everyday on the TV news feeds. They are far away in lands and societies few of us have any direct contact with. Yet, why does it take a massacre on our own turf to shock us out of apathy.

There is no difference between a 6 or 7 year old child in Afghanistan, the Republic of the Congo, Syria or Newtown, Connecticut. The same holds true for those adult members of society who have been entrusted with the safety, security and education of all these children to become productive members of society when they reach adulthood and are wantonly slain.

Of course, we will hear the commentary about all the recent massacres around the U.S. and, of course, the words "guns" and "gun controls" are immediately put forth. I am not about to politicize this issue nor lower myself to get discuss those issues, pro or con. The facts speak for themselves.

In this instance guns were the weapon of choice. But, we can also look at the fact that many more people and many more children have been killed in bus accidents, including school buses, car accidents, fires and by other methods of random killing including a variety of bombs. Alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs, distracted driving (texting, cell phone calls, eating, drinking, applying make-up, excessive fatigue and similar) as well as other causes are all responsible for many times more deaths than guns. And, yes, while many of these are aggravated accidents, there are accounts of these events being purposeful, often with a death wish by the perpetuator for his or her own demise.

The unfortunate fact, hard as it is to grasp, is that there is evil in the world, pure and simple. For whatever reason there are people who by some form of mental illness or personality disorder make up their mind to kill other people, either selectively or randomly. Controlling guns may slow down some of these events. However, will it reduce the number or save any more lives? That's a question that can't be answered. In my opinion, if someone is, for whatever reason, in a state of mind, and they events virtually always require some form of pre-planning, to kill one or more people, the method will be chosen and it will happen. That's a negative approach to this subject, but as a pragmatic person, that's pretty much how I see it.

We can control guns, but can we control every imaginable other means of mass murder? Remember, humans have spent millennia inventing, improving and perfecting methods of mass destruction and killing. The problem isn't actually the weapon or method of destruction, it's the human element, the mind set of individuals, the environmental conditioning, the degrees of mental illness and personality disorders in our society, the drugging of the population and other facets of our modern society.

It is my belief that we have created a society of entitled, enabled, over stimulated and over drugged people. There is a pill for just about everything. We are also constantly discovering new facets of the human psyche. If we feed the brains of people who have some form of mental disorder or personality disorder, possibly fostered genetically through parents who have been over drugged and over entitled, with violent video games, movies and television shows, what are the results? The guns don't pull their own triggers or gather their own ammunition. The bombs don't build themselves. All of this horror, in a war zone or in a little New England village, occurs because a human being has made a choice followed by an action. Are parents, siblings, peers, bullies, authorities, doctors, educators, religious leaders, employers and others actually complicit in the violence that may ultimately occur?

I surely don't have the answers. My life is about living free, as free as possible without infringing on anyone else's rights or hurting anyone else. Is there too much government intervention in our lives? Are we becoming too dependent on "them" to take care of the problems? If we control guns are we solving the problem or simply putting another band aid on it and causing the actual "societal wound" to fester until it finds another way to infect the rest of society? Have we lost our way, our work ethic, our personal responsibility and accountability, self-control and, perhaps, part of that part of our humanity that helped us make it this far from starting out with "Adam and Eve?"

We as a society have to determine what freedom is all about, especially personal freedom. We also need to determine if we want to take back control of our own lives or if we want to depend on someone else to take that responsibility, like any form of government. I for one still believe in the old Vietnam era slogan, "Make love, not War!" Sure, I served in the military, but it was never my desire to be in a position to kill another human being - regardless of whether a friend or an enemy.

My heart go out to those parents and loved ones of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. I extend those feelings to the survivors and their families. I have tried to imagine how I would be reacting and feeling at this moment if it had been at my son's school and especially if he were one of the victims. The only words that come to mind are grief and rage. Grief, I'd eventually get through. I'd never forget and I don't know if I could ever forgive. Rage, unfortunately, will accomplish nothing and only tear apart whatever humanity I might still have left. God bless us all, the meek and the strong. May you each find the way to get through these trying times. 

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