It's taken me a while to process the reality of the horrid events in Newtown, Connecticut. I could have easily just responded emotionally to the massacre, writing about how horrible it made me and others feel. I could have just as easily tried to be logical about it, casting it as an act by a deranged individual that could not have been prevented. But in the end I did neither.
I wanted to put a little distance between me and the 27 deaths in the Sandy Hook Elementary School before I sat down in front of my computer to write this. I wanted to be able to look at what happened with a dispassionate eye while at the same time remembering that so many families have lost loved ones, mostly children. And what makes it worse is that it happened just before Christmas, for how many unopened presents will remain under Christmas trees in a number of homes in Newtown this year? How will parents cope with the senseless death of their child? How will brothers and sisters deal with the death of their sibling? How will children deal with the death of a parent? These are questions none of us want to contemplate, but something that we must. It's something that many of us will have to deal with at one level or another at some point in our lives.
The more 'passionate' amongst us – mainly those who “won't let any good crisis go to waste” - are already pointing fingers. The problem is that they're willing to point them at those in no way connected to the madman who perpetrated this atrocity. They aren't looking to blame the madman, believing that somehow “it's all society's fault.” Instead they're trying to lay blame on everyone else. These are the same people who will now be demanding that we “Do something!” at the top of their lungs, even though it might be the wrong something. They'll want to ban or confiscate guns, turn our schools into fortresses, try to implement 'programs' and 'initiatives' that are supposed to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The problem is that they're focusing in the wrong areas. In the end none of those somethings will prevent such things from happening again. All they will do is give a false sense of security and waste a lot of money and effort, but the “Do something!” crowd will feel better about it...until the next time.
But the problem isn't society. The problem isn't guns. The problem isn't the lack of programs and initiatives. The problem is the individuals who decide it's permissible to use violence against people who have done them no harm. Whether the motive is revenge for wrongs real or perceived, a mental breakdown, or drug induced psychosis, it is the individuals who commit these heinous crimes who are to blame. It is best to keep that in mind as the story of what happened in Newtown is revealed.