I will not apologize for the obvious lateness of this post, which as originally written was ready for prime time at least a week before its due date. That post, which I will put aside for now, will appear on some later date. Right now however, I felt it more than important to acknowledge the horrific tragedy that took the lives of so many this past week in Newtown, Connecticut.
Like everyone else, I watched in horror as news services here, and around the world, descended on this small, luckless, town in their impossible attempt to make sense of yet another act of terrorism taking place on our own home ground and being authored by one of our very own. But of course the hard work offered by CNN, FOX news, the BBC, and hundreds of other services as they ground every video and sound byte of this tragic event into palatable morsels of income producing, news worthy, information could never hope to offer sense or reason…not for the victims, and certainly not for the viewing public!
In place of answers to the most obvious question surrounding this event…WHY…they merely extend once again the very same opinions and considerations that has since civilization began, looked instead for someone or something upon which to lay blame! Whether that blame falls upon mental dysfunction, the tools of violence such as guns and/or explosives, fear and paranoia, political hysterics, or even personal frustrations, the news mongers of our world given credence by plenty of highly paid psychiatrists, law makers, and civil authorities, seem always to concentrate on the actions or symptoms of such events of violence. Ignoring without reason or consideration the cause that gave birth to these events. Doing so because they really don’t know, but need the affirmation and influence of those who believe they do!
I don’t profess to know the answer to the question…WHY…but I DO believe that there are as many reasons for this kind of violence as there are incidents…at least as concerns such terrorism that takes place on our home ground and by our own citizens! Such violence cannot be blamed on the proliferation of guns, which in our own past was higher in number per capita than they are now! Nor can blame be placed on the type of gun. Experience proves that a single man with a pistol can do as much or more harm than automatic weapons in vogue today. The extent of such violence really depends upon the shooter’s abilities and his or her’s ultimate purpose, and even our own secret service, burdened with the protection of our president, fears a singular shot made by a single man or women more than any other scenario they can think of!
Those who say that limiting the sale of guns, especially those in the automatic category designed and meant for the battlefield do have a point to make however. Such limits have succeeded in holding down the number of deaths in other countries, but not by solving the overall problem. That success comes only because it is much more difficult to get a gun in the first place. But here in freedom loving America, gun ownership has always been a valued ideal, and in fact, gun ownership has been a rite of passage as boys become men in this country ever since the first of our colonies were started! Though limiting guns may indeed help lower the incidence of events like those we have had to endure over the last couple of years, doing so will eventually lead to the use of other types of deadly weapons in their stead. Why? Because the real problems once again go unaddressed!
Were I a politician looking toward the next election, I would offer a sensible compromise to this problem. Weapons of any type and for any use which are deemed to be military grade would be illegal to own or sell. They belong in the hands of the military and law enforcement. But they should be readily available through local armories under local, civil rule in the event they are ever needed! Weapons built for hunting should remain available to all citizens, and that includes non-automatic hand guns used for protection, provided the potential owner can pass the assigned state-wide testing that ensures competency and a clean police record. Vehicle ownership is licensed this way because of its potential to cause harm if miss used, and I don’t believe they are as potentially harmful as guns are! The point of such laws of compromise are that people who want or need such weapons, and who have the right to bear them under our Constitution, can indeed get them…but only if they deserve them…requiring that they have not been found guilty of a felony and that they be mentally sound!
In addition, the laws regarding how and when an owned weapon can be lent, sold, or otherwise put into the hands of another without meeting these same requirements first must be included and enforced. I’ll never forget the personal fear I had when a person I had arrested by the State police more than seven times due to stalking, breaking and entering my apartment, and making threats, gave a loaded rifle to a mentally retarded sibling and told to threaten me with it. Every day for two weeks this mentally impaired man was waiting, rifle in hand, outside my apartment and behind a tree when I left for work! Calling the police had no positive effect because they could never catch this individual in the act, and because they are equally afraid of making arrests of anyone who might be mentally impaired!
But whether a person uses a gun or a bottle opener to exact their vengeance for whatever reason against an unsuspecting public, it’s easy even for a child to see that taking away ones weapons of choice does not in any way, shape, or form, begin to solve the mystery that explains WHY such violence occurs. From my point of view, if you subtract obvious reasons like infidelity, political vision, monetary gain, and all the other easily explained reasons for violence against particular and/or named individuals, we’re left with a whole plethora of personal situations and behaviors that range from old childhood frustrations and mistreatment to uncaught mental aberrations…conditions that require, at least in their own minds, some kind of violent act of retribution. And because they themselves are unable to lay blame for their own misery at anyone in particular, they naturally choose to take their vengeance out against the first person or group they can find even minimal fault with! Sometimes it’s not who or what such a person directs his or her violence against that matters. Sometimes it’s simply the act of causing hurt that drives one to such extremes!
Before we can even hope to figure out how to spot people who might succumb to such violent behavior…before their need to exact violence reaches a critical level…we’re going to need to do a hell of a lot more than simply making it more difficult to get a gun. But I don’t believe that many Americans are going to accept such needs as willingly as they are to once more allow our basic freedoms to be taken away as easily…making freedom itself the real victim of crimes like these!
After watching the news last night I was prompted to make an addition to my post on the violence in Connecticut last week.
As you may already know, one of the more insufferable special interest groups in our country…namely the NRA…has issued a number of comments regarding the event I wrote about above. In essence they are again doing little more than adding even more fuel to the fire by officially supporting the need for armed guards at every school and further blaming the violence on video games! If they were not so dam serious I wouldn’t hesitate to laugh at their ridicules comments, but unfortunately for us they actually believe the nonsense they’re spouting!
It is the foul nature of all special interest groups that prejudice against all others exists so obviously within their mandates and beliefs, and that they are all willing to let each of the others to the scorn and corruption their own ideals may and usually do cause! And this is true and cannot be ignored in the case of any and all such organizations whether they are motivated by and selling religious beliefs or a political agenda! But rarely are such anti-american methods or goals made so obvious in the public arena as the NRA has chosen to do!
The NRA has publicly admitted that they would rather see America turned into a police state than consider compromising with the rest of the country! They’ve made it quite apparent, at least to me, that they have no idea how rare freedom is in this world, or how our constitution was designed to ensure that freedom! And at the same time they recklessly blame a portion of the entertainment industry out of hand and much the way it was impugned not so long ago by the anti-communist scare! Again they ignore common sense and truth in order to place the blame somewhere else before any honest blame has even been acknowledged! It reminds me of how the christian right tries so hard to make their members believe that the Quran teaches its readers and followers to hate and kill all those who believe differently. What nonsense we as an intelligent race allow ourselves to be buried under!
The truth is…and yes, I do know how difficult it is for some to understand this…that it is not the freedom to own guns or the availability of violent video games that are causing problems like those that killed so many innocents last week. Guns are like any other tools we make use of, and because they can be easily perverted to cause harm, they must be used correctly and under a set of common rules that if ignored should result in quick and final criminal action! And video games, are just like any other entertainment medium, and must be categorized for use by age and maturity just as X rated films are, again resulting in swift legal action against those who allow them to be purchased and/or used by those not old or mature enough to be able to understand and put into proper perspective their intent and use! In actuality such games are already being rated, but as with so much of what we as adults are supposed to be doing to protect our children and even ourselves, these ratings are not being enforced by parents or the law meant to make such enforcement work!
The next time a minor takes an automatic assault rife to school and begins killing everyone in sight, try finding out how, where, and from whom, he got that weapon, the ammo, and that copy of an adult video game called “Kill or be Killed” that he’s been playing all week! Then and only then can you or anyone else justify blaming anything or anyone for the resulting massacre!