Newtown, Gun control and a “Culture of Violence”

The loss of life in Newtown, CT is a horrible blight on the landscape of our national history.  One cannot exhaust the supply of the most extreme hyperbole in describing the evil befalling that community, and the deep anguish visited upon so many parents, loved ones and friends.  The collective sorrow we all feel will always hold space in our hearts long after the media moves on to the next major story.

Yet, right now, our focus must also be, not simply on the horrific action, but also on the character traits that gave rise to the instantaneous heroism displayed at the Sandy Hook School.

So much attention has been given to the mindset of the assailant, and much has to be done in that regard.  Yes.

But we need also to fully explore and examine the motives of those who stepped in front of bullets, knowingly sacrificing themselves and sparing us all even more despicable damage.  Yes, we need to see and understand how our culture inculcates incredible bravery as well as how it may encourage inhuman, depersonalized murder.  Our fixation, to be fair and healthy, must be directed at the good immediately stepping up to stop evil.  That is how we survive this tragedy and enable it to be redemptive, for the sake of those who died and those who must now live.

Beyond this, without attacking and castigating, and in effect, dehumanizing those who disagree, now is the time to reason together.  Now is the time to ask if the 2nd Amendment was intended to afford the general population direct access to and ownership of high-power, military grade weaponry.

The people I know who own guns are great individuals.  They’re responsible, upstanding, quality folks.  I do not own a firearm, but I’m a good shot, and my 3 kids are too.

Yet, none of us should be able to possess an assault rifle, suited for a war zone, and not for a Newtown, or Anytown.  I am hard pressed to see how any civilian should be able to have an arsenal one might find in a rack at the FBI.

Personally, I don’t buy into the “culture of violence” philosophy.  It’s too easy.  My heavens, we in this country killed 600,000 souls in 4 years of the Civil War.  Kids, adults, brother killing brother.

I wouldn’t choose to raise children anywhere else, at any other time, than right here, right now.  I’m not nearly ready to cash in my American chips.

But we must show ourselves to be a culture of common sense.

Weapons will only get more powerful and sophisticated.

Our ability to responsibly reason and debate must rise to the level of our technology or we will run the risk of ruining the gift of personal rights by reducing them into being an expression of mindless irresponsibility.

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