BLOGGER’S NOTE: New details are emerging on the Connecticut school shooting, some correcting heretofore reported information, such as the report now that the shooter used a semi-automatic military style rifle to shoot his victims (although there were apparently semi-automatic pistols present too), and the shooter’s mother, whom he shot off the school grounds at her home, was apparently not a teacher or employee at the school, and the weapon or weapons used were said to be registered to her. All the children, 12 girls and 8 boys, were first graders (using initial information reported I said in a previous blog post that they were thought to be kindergartners). Six adults were also shot at the school. Initial information is being corrected, but the fact is a large number of small children were shot to death, along with several adults. The shooter reportedly committed suicide.
If Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut — 20 little school children gunned down at the school, along with six adults, plus one off the school site — does not propel something to be done about the free flow of dangerous weapons meant for the battlefield, not for hunting or simple self defense, then really what hope is there for civilization? In some quarters the mentality is that we have to arm ourselves as citizens to protect ourselves from criminals and crazies and the government. But in a strange irony one report I read now says that the shooter’s mother, who died as his hands, bought the weapons involved with the idea of self protection in a collapsing economy — kind of the survivalist mentality.
And yes, if it came to the worst some of us might find it necessary to arm ourselves against the mob. But then everything would be chaos, and it seems that in some ways it has already turned to chaos in a gun happy and gun tolerant society.
I’m not sure why we are in the predicament we are in, other than the fact there are a lot of deranged or mentally ill people running around. But some of it may be the evolving culture of guns and violence. Maybe it began in the shoot’em up westerns, especially the old ones where people did a lot of dramatic spinning around but no blood was ever seen and getting shot in the arm was no serious thing. And the cartoons I watched as a kid were extremely violent but as kids we did not see it as violence, and the characters came back to life in the next frame after being blown to bits in the former frame. And the movies TV glorify violence. And modern video games promote violence. And somehow it seems harmless because it is not real, and even when we see reports of violence, if they don’t involve us directly, we somehow feel protected and immune from it.
Maybe it is the circles I find myself in or maybe it is the fact that I am somewhat of a loner, but I was at a work-related function today and I heard nothing mentioned in conversation about the shooting incident. Of course I live in an area where the right to own guns is considered sacred, and I imagine among most or at least many, little to no distinction is made between hunting weapons and military assault rifles (although I have heard some hunters make a distinction) and it is considered accepted form to speak of the government as the enemy and something that one needs to be protected from.
No one wants to see innocent people murdered, especially little school children, but I think maybe some think a rush to do anything about the status quo would be just part of the conspiracy to disarm the public to make it defenseless against the tyranny of big government.
And I have to admit, there is something to be said for the notion that we can’t surrender our rights to be armed, lest we fall prey to those who would enslave us by force.
But we have to be sensible and do something to try the best we can to make it much more difficult for both criminals and outright crazy people to get guns. We especially need to control the movement of these highly-lethal automatic kinds that spray out so many bullets at a time.
In another irony, it is said that the shooter’s now deceased mother went to some trouble to get her weapons because Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. If that is true, it goes to show that tougher restrictions alone will not resolve the problem.
Gradually we may have to change our culture or attitude toward guns and violence. Gratuitous violence in entertainment though is a money maker. And of course the gun trade profits. There is a vested interest in maintaining the culture of violence.
For some strange reason we have put up for years with various sections of our cities being free fire zones, with drive by shootings and other crimes — again, if it does not directly affect me where I live….
But this incident at a Connecticut elementary school (by all appearances middle class heaven), all those poor little children being gunned down (and of course the adults too)…
It seems that the time is now to do something.
Are we powerless against violence?