Contributed by Donna Marie
As I went about my day yesterday which was chock full of meetings, I learned of the hell that had been unleashed in Newtown, Connecticut. The all-encompassing question that naturally follows is something like, How could someone be so heartless? Then we monsterize, dehumanize, psychoanalyze and profile them; and, somewhere in the midst of all that, we debate the use and abuse of guns and ammo in the United States.
Mr. President, it would be most bold to take a stand in support of passing effective gun control legislation.
When I allow my mind to go to what might have taken place on the morning before those children died, I think of them being dressed for school … some might have needed coaxing, others might have been enthusiastic about seeing their friends or a favorite teacher. Then, under cover of the apparent safety of their classroom, their lives were extinguished in a hail of bullets by some young man who chose to deliberately mow down innocents for crimes and misdeamenors that he was convinced they must have wrought. I have no children but I feel the echo of the pain that families of the lost children must feel in the wake of such a massacre. To lose one’s child is devastating enough, to lose one’s child in a senseless act is beyond comprehension.
It is unimaginable for me to think of what possible debate their could be offered (that makes any sense) to thwart gun control measures with teeth. Of course the reports are that the guns this young man used had been legally purchased by his now deceased (at his own hands supposedly) mother and might not have been stopped by any legislation but one never knows. Perhaps the larger, and parallel issue, is a communication issue. The fact is communication has become impersonal over the years. The art of thoughtful debate when there is disagreement might be suffering due to the emergence of electronic forms of technology. We take to twitter and express complex thoughts in 140 characters or less; we post messages on FaceBook that can sometimes be hurtful; we press send in numerous other ways without much thought most of the times. Then there they are, millions of megabytes of thought in a virtual world where we do not see, nor are we necessarily aware of the consequences.
I’m sure as the authorities put together the puzzle of this man’s odyssey of destruction, there might be accounts of him blaming others for whatever he has been living with or postings of frustration, angst, anger, sadness, pain on twitter or in chatrooms or on Facebook. We have heard this story before in notorious ways – witness Columbine, Aurora, Rutgers to name a few – and in everyday ways in our own lives whenever we blame others for this or that situation. What drives such actions, unspeakable or otherwise? How do we resolve this? For sure there is no one answer to this question yet it is something that we must address, alongside any legislative remedies, for there to be meaningful and enduring change when it comes to gun violence.
What remains right now is this:
I extend my deepest, most profound, heartfelt sympathy to the families, the friends, the colleagues, the community and beyond.
We are all Newtown, Connecticut.