Saturday, December 15, 2012

America Mourns Over School Shooting In Connecticut


Guns In America

On Friday, a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 young children, at a U.S. school where his mother worked; it was another needless gun crime in America, but this might be a new low in that young children were targeted. 

There have been too many such murders in the U.S., not only in schools, but also in shopping malls, movie theatres and public spaces. I thought that U.S. President Obama gave a thoughtful and compassionate speech after the elementary-school shooting in  Newtown, Connecticut; I too as a parent had tears in my eyes.

An article in  The National Post gives the full text of the speech that President Obama eloquently delivered, often pausing to wipe away tears from his eyes; you can view and hear it here:
This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
Yes, I hugged my children a little tighter and told them I love them. But there's more to be done. In the best of cases, our grief ought to to lead us to action. To make things better. To rid society of its polluting evil. Yes, in the days to come there will be all kinds of media stories on what motivated the gunman, and the media will bring in all kinds of psychiatrists and other mental-health experts  to try to explain this abnormal act, as if it were such an immensely rare act in America. It's not. So it's easy to conclude that the panel discussions analysing motives will not change anything about America's violent gun culture. (Some will argue for more guns, including inside the classrooms— a ludicrous if not delusional idea.) It's only a needless distraction from the real problem.

President Obama hit the right tone when he said "meaningful action." Getting to the heart of the matter, I would say that there has to be a serious adult discussion in America about easy access to handguns, a weapon whose design and purpose is to kill. Too many persons invest too much energy in defending the indefensible, using the Second Amendment itself as a weapon, which says too much about what currently ails America. It is hard for me to understand America's irrational love affair of guns, and the concomitant need to silence all dissenting voices on that matter. Has the Second Amendment become more important than the First Amendment?

No, and the First Amendment need be used for its chief purpose: to speak truth and dismantle falsehood. For too long, there has been a false line drawn between democracy and gun ownership; between freedom and loosening gun laws; between free speech and increasingly violent films, TV shows, videos and games aimed at the young; this all needs to be erased; education is the key and government needs to play a large role, as they successfully did with the dangers of cigarette smoking. If the will is there it can be done, and parents can take the lead.

Forget the politics; forgot the narrow interests of the gun advocates (i.e.,the NRA); forget the fallacious arguments that "guns don't kill, people do." Handguns kill and do so with greater effect and efficiency than than any other similar-sized weapon; that's its only purpose. It's not primarily a weapon of self-defence, but of self-offence. To say otherwise is simply to perpetuate a lie, and a big one too.

Personally, I would like to all handguns banned. Completely. Irrevocably. I doubt that it will ever be considered by any political party; even so, it would solve a lot and make America safer. Measurably safer. Is anyone listening?

2 comments:

  1. I agree witho you about guns.
    They enable any individual to become a one-man Hamas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you; and now we need millions of others to agree and to voice their displeasure with current laws.

      Delete

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