Should We Try To Make Sense of It?

Fra_Angelico_-_Massacre_of_the_Innocents_-_WGA00610

Another day, another tragedy in the US of A. This time little ones played victim to a deranged and troubled young man. A man who found no problem popping his mom in the head with the same gun he would later use to chase down and kill defenseless children at an elementary school. I’m talking of course about the recent events of the Sandy Hook massacre of innocents.

How do we react to this? How can you even fathom the motive in order to understand the actions? I don’t think you can. This is evil in its fleshy form. However, it’s not unprecedented in history unfortunately (as the image suggests).

There are those who will rush to blame guns and say the Second Amendment is outdated. Strange though that the Second Amendment has been around as long as the Bill of Rights — it being of course the Second Amendment and all. But these kinds of massacres are only a recent phenomenon. Sure America has always had its share of violence to talk about and kick around, but nothing on the sadistic level we now find ourselves trying to come to terms with. So what has changed recently?

This is something different. This is societal rot showing itself. In other words, we have problems as a people, as a nation. We have problems as communities and families. For those who wish to curtail and possibly greatly limit Second Amendment rights, what do we do with the First Amendment? The amendment, which protects the filth, the decadence, and the hedonistic culture that is our entertainment, our lifestyles, and our past time.

I’m not a Wild Bill, militiaman type of guy. I certainly grew up with guns and learned to hunt and use one. Joining the military, I was trained and taught how to use them against other people. After coming back from Iraq, I don’t particularly like guns. You could say I gained a new understanding about them. I cringe when I see kids playing war and shooting each other in my neighborhood. I don’t like it when my son pretends to shoot someone or plays dead. He’s not allowed to point his toy guns at people.

However, I own one gun, which I keep in my room. I have it for protection. I have a wife and two young children and no one or no thing will harm them if there is anything I can do to physically prevent it.

Even in spite of this senseless slaying of innocents, I appreciate the wisdom behind the Second Amendment. I feel freer and safer having the ability and right to legally keep a firearm for my protection. Or if I choose so, to purchase another firearm and teach my son to hunt just as my father taught me and his father taught him. I feel this way even in spite that there are undoubtedly those who wish to use that right to do harm to others.

So I think we should ask ourselves what drove this young man to do what he did, and not why he chose a gun as his instrument to do it.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll begin to scratch at what’s underneath. But I have feeling people would rather just pour on the paint as opposed to dealing with the rot that’s waiting for them.

Categories: Life & Musings | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Should We Try To Make Sense of It?

  1. If firearms or the Second Amendment to the Constitution could explain this sort of happening it would be comforting. And naturally a lot of people will choose that guise of comfort. I suppose if I could bring myself to believe the matter was as simple as that, if I thought it would make any difference at all, I’d have to do some soul-juggling decide more.

    I can imagine the satisfaction I’d get thinking I had an opinion that might influence such matters and behaviors. But I’d be deluding myself, just scouting around for self-congratulations as a reward for having a right opinion.

    Tonight out there across the US there are almost certainly people who read the news of the event and believe they understand perfectly what the guy did, because they’ve harbored such notions themselves. And we can be certain something similar will happen again somewhere.

    You’re right, I believe, in pointing out it’s something that’s happened a lot in history, a lot, a lot, a lot. Maybe not precisely this scenario, but the Wounded Knees, the raided homesteads by Apache and Comanche, the countless ethnic slaughters almost everywhere during the last century, the one before it, the ones, all of them before that.

    I’m guessing there’s some fundamental statement somewhere in all that about human beings, or a side of a lot of them not easily acknowledged or recognized.

    So the answer, for me, is a resounding ‘no’, it’s not worth trying to make sense of, though, of course, I’ll try anyway.

  2. Jules, thanks for the insight. I think we are sniffing along the same trail.

    I suppose we humans are okay sometimes.

    We help each other, heal each other, protect each other. We may even get around to building a few cities when we cooperate.

    I suppose we humans are pretty difficult at other times.

    We scheme against each other, kill each other, take advantage of each other. And we will knock over those same cities if it comes to that.

    That’s about the most sense I can come up with when discussing the whole lot of humanity.

  3. This is a very delicate and complex issue, but I feel like sharing my opinion on this matter and on your thoughts. Also, since this happened in a school that is fairly close to the one where our daughter goes, you may appreciate we were very shaken by the recent events.
    As much as I like you and hold your views in great esteem, on this one I disagree.
    I am not saying I have the perfect recipe to resolve the problem, of course I do not, but let me just offer some food for thought:

    1. You cannot possibly correlate Herod’s massacre of innocent kids with what happened in Newtown: the former was the “king of Judea” back then, a ruthless tyrant with no restraint as to how to use force, in this case it was just some random guy who woke up and decided it would be cool to shoot some innocent kids. So, you could perhaps compare Herod’s slaying to one of the crimes that were committed by Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot, not to those of some random guy in the U.S.

    2. In my view, the second amendment sure is outdated and some form of regulation of the purchase and possession of firearms should be introduced, much like in most other civilized countries in the world where the number of these crazy massacres is incredibly lower than in the U.S.. There’s no more “Indians” to fight: for the rest we have the police. They are there for a reason, we pay their salaries for a reason. I am not saying I would flat out restrict possession of firearms to the police and military only, but for certain I would be in favor of restricting the type of firearms one can legally buy and possess (who in the world needs to own an AK-47 or an M-16 or even more lethal kinds of weapons?) and I would be in favor of instituting a register of all people who hold firearms as well as periodic checks of the mental health of anyone who possesses a firearm.

    3. Individual freedom should always endure compression when it may infringe on the wellness of the community as a whole. So, I do not buy this “I need to be free to buy even a cannon because nobody can tell me otherwise.” Someone should, and laws should be there to protect the interests of the people as a community, restricting those individual freedoms that may easily end up in actions that may hurt such community. Why can we not all drive 140 miles per hour in town? It should be my freedom to do so, right? Well, maybe we cannot because, in the interest of our local communities, we want to limit the risk of injuries or death.

    4. You cannot compare the second with the first amendment: the first amendment, by protecting the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference, is the pillar of a free country. Giving the government the power to restrict your freedom of speech would be a very dangerous path to take, as it opens the door to the risk of dictatorship and censorship, when someone else can come and tell you what you should think and what you should not. Does Communism come to mind?

    5. There have been so many absurd mass killings of unarmed, innocent people in the United States by crazy armed individuals that the lack of any action whatsoever to try to limit the risk of this happening again just leaves me speechless. How many more innocent people need to die in vain before we find the strength to resist the firearm lobbies and regulate purchase and possession?

    Now I will shut my mouth, but I think everyone should seriously ponder upon the consequences of enduring inaction on this front.
    Clearly, nothing personal AH, I still like you a lot :-) but the wound is still open and hurting.
    Take care

  4. Stefano,

    Thank you for your thoughts. No need to worry about stating your opinion here. Your opinion is welcome.

    I’m stepping out for a couple of hours, but I want to get back to this. In the meantime, I have a few thoughts.

    You’d be surprised, but we aren’t too far off. People do not need cannons, tanks, or AK-47s. I don’t want my neighbor owning an arsenal. I don’t want some guy packing heat sitting next to my family at a restaurant.

    I just stop way short of saying the 2nd Amendment is outdated. There are fundamental reasons why it was included in the Bill of Rights. The example I brought up with the 1st Amendment was more in the vain at what point does violence, sex, and general empty garbage begin to effect society and children? When kids can plug in a video game and rehearse mass killings from the comfort of their parent’s living room, I don’t find it all that surprising when kids actually carry out a mass killing.

    Like the first commenter, Jules pointed out if the 2nd Amendment and firearms can be blamed for this, it would be comforting. I’m afraid, however, we have a sick society. In this case, a mentally unstable kid who got his hands on guns.

    Lastly, this isn’t directed toward you at all. But it it relates to your closing comment. I find it strange that those who are against guns have occupied the ground that is somehow their tragedy, that the incident is personal to them.

    Almost as if to suggest that those who are in favor of gun rights did not take it personal or do not find it any less of a tragedy. I’ve seen this and observed this on various blogs and Facebook posts. However, I took it very personal. I was disgusted. I have a son who is in kindergarten. So I can relate fully.

  5. Thank you for your well thought out reply, AH: I appreciate it and enjoy the discussion.
    I believe you are right, we are not too far apart.
    And I agree regarding your point on where our society is headed and how much garbage is out there that can and does affect our children’s behavior. I can totally relate to your point. I am only saying that allowing censorship or forms of “thought-control”, even if for well meaning purposes such as this one, is one dangerous road to follow as you have to be very careful to draw a line up to which censoring is allowed and beyond which it should stop.
    Take care

    • Stefano I enjoy these discussions. What’s the point in believing anything if you can’t articulate it? Differing view points only strengthen the argument :)

      I don’t advocate thought control or censoring. That was the point I was making with the 1st Amendment, which you caught understood to be a potentially bad thing. But in the same light, the Second Amendment is also equally protected and valued. Specifically for the reason the entire Bill of Rights are written directly to the individual. They are individual rights. However, if one right can be abridged, certainly the easier it will be for another one. Furthermore, by taking the Second Amendment a way, the easier it will be to take another a way.

      Nonetheless, I agree we would approach a very slippery slope if we went after the 1st Amendment. But I would argue, so would we also if we went after the 2nd Amendment. Only a durable and legitimate government can withstand a well armed citizenry. The same can be said for property rights, where people own and operate on the land they required without fear of government interference or confiscation. The only societies where individual rights to property, ownership, contract etc., are confidently expected to last across generations are the securely democratic societies.

      But sustained democracy requires the rule of law: The system can only endure if those in power accept free speech, political competition and free individuals guaranteed the rights of the Constitution. The rule of law came about as a means of facilitating our inalienable rights; in this sense, American’s rights were the basis for democracy and the federal government, not vice versa.

      Conversely, a government that controls the rights of its citizens will also control the lives of its citizens. These things inevitably lead hand in had with tyranny.

      That is why I find wisdom in the Second Amendment.

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