The grotesque mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut, have yet again compelled America to engage in a ritualistic debate over gun control. I say ritualistic because that’s what it really is since nothing very meaningful emerges in the aftermath of such shootings in terms of gun control.
Probably the most common response to such killings often comes from the advocates of unfettered gun ownership in America who glibly say “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” To them I say “Empty hands don’t fire bullets.” Another frequently heard, and offensively disingenuous, argument made by pro-gun advocates is that had the victims been armed they could have fought back. Would they advance the same logic in the case of the Newtown tragedy?
There is something profoundly depressing and outrageous at once that we live in a society where a 20-year-old feels confident enough to act on such unnervingly violent impulses and has an easy means to do so. All killings of such nature are a reflection on the society within which they occur but perhaps what makes the Newtown killings particularly devastating is that the victims were predominantly children.
Can one even begin to imagine the sheer terror and trauma of those children at Sandy Hook School when the alleged gunman walked in and started shooting? One feels incapacitated merely thinking about the utter helplessness of those children in the face of such violence. If this does not shake up the nation’s conscience and lead to powerful and unassailable antigun legislation, then I don’t know what ever will.
An Associated Press report quoted an unnamed law enforcement official yesterday to say that the mother of the alleged gunman, Adam Lanza, owned five firearms, all legally purchased and registered in Connecticut. The AP story also said that some guns used by the shooter matched the models of the guns owned by his mother Nancy who was also killed earlier at their home, although there was nothing yet conclusive about that.
If you don’t think there is something very troubling about a school teacher in an affluent and peaceable community owning five firearms, then I suppose you have a different worldview from mine. You may call me a bleeding heart wimp but I have never quite understood this near lascivious obsession for guns in America. If the guns used in the killings match the models of the guns at the alleged shooter’s home, then one must ask if a family living in a quiet, affluent community needs to possess a Glock, a Sig Sauer (both pistols) and .223 caliber rifle.
Today’s post is my vain attempt to process what the victims, particularly children, must have gone through. The 20 children were struck down unaware of the kind of hidden dangers lurking around in their own community, perhaps even in the family of their own teacher. Unfortunately, most violence of this kind always remains unresolved in my mind because there is no resolution possible. What is clear though is that we can certainly very significantly minimize such acts, if not eliminate them altogether, if only we end the preponderance of guns in our midst. Empty hands don’t fire bullets.
Clarification: At the time of writing this post it was reported that the alleged shooter’s mother Nancy worked at the school as a teacher. It was subsequently reported that there was no record of that.