Normally, anything I post to this blog is rooted in humor and satire. Not so today. My heart breaks for the people in Connecticut directly affected by this latest shooting. Children. Children. At school, no less. Children…
We all know what comes next, we know it all too well. The endless questions. The analyzing. The TV specials. Those railing in support of the 2nd Amendment, those against. Those shouting we should enforce the laws already on the books; the fervently religious clamoring that if God were allowed in schools this would not have happened.
I’m sick of it all.
For the record—I’m an over fifty, white, Southern male. I own guns, both pistols and long guns. While I no longer hunt, having made a conscious and long-considered decision to stop several years ago, I did hunt for most of my life. I have a healthy distrust of government and fully support the 2nd Amendment as it was originally intended. This latest shooting will not change any of that for me, personally. I have no intention of selling or destroying my guns.
What sickens me is that society—you, me, all of us, each of us, has devolved to the point that this sort of thing keeps occurring. We have become so wrought in an us-versus-them mentality that we’re quickly losing all compassion for our fellow Man. Somehow, taking a gun, car, a bomb, words, whatever, and lashing out and harming others appears as a viable solution, an option for our side. Left versus Right. Capitalists versus Socialists. Christians versus every “religion” that’s not Christian. Israelites versus Palestinians. The Haves versus the Have-Nots. Rich versus Poor. The secessionists versus the Union. Unions versus Right-to-Work. Versus, versus, versus… It’s disgusting.
Leading up to this last election, on-going still, is the discussion of the direction in which our country is heading. Look at Newtown, Connecticut. Where we’re headed? That’s where we are.
My hope—if any hope can remain after another senseless shooting—is that all the pundits, the talking heads, the Fox News’ and CNN’s, the liberals and conservatives, the gun proponents and the anti-gun coalitions, the religious zealots and the atheists, will finally realize that theirs is only doctrine and dogma. My hope is that each contingency, regardless of their “us-versus-them” allegiance, can embrace some sliver of compassion, some parcel of rationale, and admit that it is entirely possible that their position doesn’t have all the right answers. That maybe, just maybe, our actions are often barbaric, and we Americans—as a society—legitimize those actions in grandiose fashion. My fear is that the richest, most prosperous, most successful country on this planet has so isolated its citizens into pods of like-agreement and us-speak that we prefer spouting our doctrines and dogmas over actually compromising to solve anything.
Stopping shootings such as this? It doesn’t lie in striking down the 2nd Amendment. It doesn’t lie in arming everyone to the hilt as a deterrent. It doesn’t lie in holding one religion or philosophy as the ultimate truth at the expense of all other viewpoints and pathways.
No, it lies in treating all beings with some degree of compassion. It lies in asking all those questions that will inevitably follow the Connecticut shooting for the next days and months before an occurrence, not after. It lies in reaching out.
It’s not complicated, people, unless we make it so.