Friday, December 14, 2012

Oh My God. . .

The title here is not meant in its usual, profane/blasphemous way, that marks my profanity-ridden website (one I should really update more often).  Rather, this title is part of the prayer I've been saying in my head since the early morning:

Oh my God, please let this news be true.  Please let it be a hoax.  Don't let those children die, don't let the survivors live scarred lives. Please. . .

Of course, the news is real.  Over twenty people have died, many of them children.  An entire classroom is still unaccounted for.  To the families of all of those who have died, I am sincerely heartbroken for your loss.  But, of course, I will be fine in a few hours or a few days; my life will go one.  I will not pretend to understand your loss, and your pain.  Just know that there are plenty of people like me who, for this moment, feel for you, even 3,000 miles away.

But I am 3,000 miles away, and like so many others, my mind turns on how to prevent such things from happening again.  Because it has happened, over and over and over again.  And it is human nature, indeed the very essence of humanity itself, to try and figure out how to fix things.  Our ancestors used to be subject to fatal attacks by animals, so we built fires and shelters and weapons to protect ourselves.  We don't just throw up our hands and say there is nothing to be done.

Is gun control the answer?  Maybe.  While it is true that "guns don't kill people," some guns allow people to kill lots of other people very, very quickly.  In fact, that's the actual purpose of a fair number of guns.  Sure, there are other purposes for guns, but the whole basis for their existence, their whole purpose, is to make killing easier.  Compare this shooting with the crazy guy in China who stabbed a bunch of kids.  It should not be at all shocking that someone occasionally uses them for this very purpose.

Now, of course, the 2nd Amendment, which traditionally has not applied to states, just the Federal government, stands in the way, somewhat.  But the interpretation that the 2nd Amendment prevents any form of gun control is simply absurd.  There is no right under the Constitution that is an absolute right.  No one can shout "Fire" in a crowded movie theater, human sacrifice is outlawed, and the police can search you and your home without a warrant under certain circumstances.  There must be something we can do.

With that said, gun control is not the only issue at play here.  There is also a mental health issue. To shoot up a school where the oldest kid is at most ten, is beyond my comprehension.  It does appear that these massacres are perpetrated by suicidal men looking to go out in a blaze of "glory."  So while we think about limiting the access to firearms, we should also try to insure that the mentally ill are receiving treatment.

What we can't do is simply throw up our hands and say that nothing can be done.  We owe it to ourselves and to the fallen to do more than that.

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