Bleak December

Tragedy follows on tragedy in 2012. Maybe the world really is ending this year. Not even a week after a man accidentally shot his own seven-year-old son in western Pennsylvania, a gunman kills twenty school children, six adults and himself in Connecticut, and still the “Religious Right” advocates our God-given sanction to own guns. Various commenters rail that guns don’t kill people—please allow the evidence to disagree. Loudly. Violently. Twas the fortnight before Christmas and all through the school… Nightmare before Christmas indeed.

As a nation we have outlived our need for guns. The only real threat out there is other people who have guns. Even a simpleton can see that it is an insane spiral because no one trusts the other guy. A miniature arms race. A cold war within a nation, state, town, or school. Like the journalists who write the sad stories for the papers, I think of Virginia Tech, Columbine, and children who will never grow up. Wikipedia has an entire article entitled “School Shootings.” America has its own sub-page. I think of other children scarred for life because some people think that it is our right to “protect” ourselves. From what? Still, they’d swear it on a stack of Winchesters. Having been shunted around from job to job and apartment to apartment, I’ve lived next to many people that I found unstable and thank local laws that they were unarmed. The sack on Santa’s back this year is a sack of serpents, and it has been opened and there’s no way to get them back in.

If the Church wanted to make itself relevant again, all denominations would band together and demand stricter gun control. No, it won’t stop every madman from massacring children, but if the Christian community really believes the Gospel it claims, it is far better to die than to kill. The next world is supposed to be better than this. The mother of the shooter, Nancy Lanza, appears to have been the owner of the guns. Probably they made her feel safer. She is now cold in the morgue because of them. Along with a classroom of children in the school where she worked. As the families of the murdered face Christmas this year, they will think that 2012 is the year the world ended. If only it would. But then, nature, and gun-ownership-rights activists ensure a future much more bleak than that.

Nikodem Nijaki's photo of shoes on the Danube Promenade

Nikodem Nijaki’s photo of shoes on the Danube Promenade

9 responses to “Bleak December

  1. You know what’s really sad – no one knew that family. When it comes to gun control, try to remember how effective prohibition was. When it comes to changing the world, don’t rant about politics in your blog. Connect with you next door neighbors and the troubled family around the corner. Don’t add a dollar to your grocery bill for some charity you’ll forget by the time you reach the parking lot. Don’t drop by local food kitchens. Invest in the people around you. That will change this world more effectively than gun control.

  2. Pingback: God and Tragedy in Secular Public Schools

  3. Thanks Steve. You are absolutely right: guns do kill people. There were a lot of Facebook posts yesterday that shared two themes: grief and powerlessness. You show that we do have the power. What we lack is the will.

  4. If gun control had a chance of stopping mad men, I’d be all for it. But I don’t believe it will work. In fact, I have a belief now based on a lot of unexpected research this year, that many (if not most or all) of these bizarre “lone gunman” shootings are even more sinister than they appear on the surface. I am not really a conspiracy theorist…but there are some very consistent and troubling patterns which emerge in these “incidents.” I think there’s a nominal irrationality around banning or controlling guns as “killers” when there are so many other “things” that kill people (lots more people) that no one ever talks about banning or controlling. If we want to be rational about this type of “preventive” policy-making, then we must have integrity and include other things that kill even more people. There’s a pretty long list. But this is a big debate and can’t be exhausted in the comment section. I agree it is a Bleak December indeed. My heart breaks for those devastated parents and family members of the innocent victims. Profoundly sad.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Peacer. The problem is that the kinds of guns used in this attack have only one purpose–to kill people. Cars, which kill far more people, have the function of transporting us around. Alcohol even has a function of making some people feel happy. Many things can kill us, but guns such as these are explicitly designed to do so. I agree that it is not an easy debate and answers are far from simple, but I think we need to start trying to do something about it while there’s still time.

  5. Hello.
    Your views are understandable but I respectfully disagree.

    “As a nation we have outlived our need for guns. The only real threat out there is other people who have guns.” This is remarkably narrow minded and inaccurate.

    “Religious Right advocates our God-given sanction to own guns”. This is simply not honest. I am not religious and I am not of “The Right” or “The Left”. I am of America. I support the constitution including the 2nd amendment. I also support the first amendment which gives you the right to publish this article and disagree with me. Without the second amendment what assures the first amendment?

    Friends that I respected and loved have died for that constitution. Men and women whose names I shall never know died for it long before my brother was killed in Viet Nam, my father was wounded on Leyte in WW2 or my Grandfather spilled his blood at Belleau Woods to stop the last German Offensive of WW1. I and others have bled for our right to live under our own constitution and I would do that and more on any day at any time in any place if called by my nation or my conscious to do so again. The sacrifices of those that have given more than I matter to me. The loss of those children in Ct. also matters to me.

    Only insane people want twenty children to be murdered. Our nation (like most nations) lacks an adequate mental health system. The high unemployment, the ever growing separation between “rich” and the rest of the population, and a host of other social problems make it easy for a lost soul to enter a state of disconnected desperation and hopelessness. People that murder strangers without provocation are insane. They do it with guns, knives, fires, bombs, poisons and methods that I thus far fail to imagine or recall.

    Our nation and our culture are sick and we (like many evolving cultures) are producing many angry violent people. Unless we become more sane innocents will continue to die.

    It seems that perhaps your pain has clouded your judgement of others. Please, when the pain lessens, take a moment to openly and honestly reassess your words.

    • Thanks for your reply. My father was a veteran, and I have been a pacifist all my life. I do not wish to imply that only the Religious Right supports ease of gun acquisition, only that it is among the most ironic of groups to do so. I believe the second amendment should be repealed. Let the military keep their guns if they must, but let’s get them out of houses where statistics clearly show that family, loved ones, and children are by far more frequent victims than thieves or complete strangers.

  6. Steve,

    I agree with and appreciate your thoughts on this subject. I don’t own a gun or guns and do not feel threatened. Understanding a person’s need to own one or multiple firearms designed to kill 30 persons wearing bullet proof vests is not something I ever expect to gain.

    I do consider myself fortunate.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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