Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Quandaries

I'm still not sure what to say. I suppose that's the horror of tragedies like that in Newtown--it sort of consumes everything, pulling it into itself, coloring everything remotely connected to it. This probably isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, if we didn't look at certain issues through the lenses of something like this, we might potentially make a grievous mistake. Then again, decisions made in the midst of emotional turmoil are rarely sound ones.

On the one hand, I agree with the people that say that, in the aftermath of this tragedy, it is important that we make sure nothing like it ever happens again...and to accomplish that goal, we have to make sure that people don't possess things that could kill other people. On the other hand, I also agree with those who remind us that a disarmed populace can never protect its liberty, that a nation of people that gives up its means of defense is open to both tyranny from within and conquest from without.

The answer to tragedies like this and the prevention of future ones is not to remove means of defense from law-abiding citizens. To those who would say that taking semi-automatic weapons from regular citizens would keep them from those who break the law, I would offer exhibits A and B: the drug war and Prohibition. Have fun. The answer is not removing a sovereign right from the American people. Lord knows we've had enough of those taken away through the PATRIOT act and like pieces of legislation. No matter how you interpret the second amendment, no matter if you err towards what the Founders meant or what it should mean to us now, no matter if you believe in controls or not, I believe you should at least acknowledge that.

I can't say I know precisely what the answer should be. I'm not connected to any of these tragedies in any way, and I have no desire to be. I'd rather not lose any of my friends. But I don't think, at this point, that taking away weapons is at all the answer. Disarming those who abide by the laws does not stop those who do not; it simply puts the former even more at the mercy of the latter.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Senseless Tragedy

I'm not quite sure what to say. I feel that I should say something, even if nobody cares to read, if only because it will make me feel better, might help my mind make sense of things.

Yet what sense is there to be found in a situation like this? Twenty children are dead, along with seven adults. Another ordinary person suddenly went berserk and slaughtered dozens of people, only to shoot himself afterward.

I suppose we could focus on the fact that guns allow people an easy way to kill many people. We could reflect upon the fact that loss of life suddenly becomes important once it's our schoolchildren being killed, while those in power don't give a damn when it's schoolchildren in Pakistan or Afghanistan being slaughtered by our drones. We could. And I think that in the coming days those are definitely questions and aspects of this that should be addressed. We cannot ignore the fact that crazy people can easily get hold of weapons that can kill many people; nor should we ignore the fact that hypocrisy runs deep in our national psyche and that the lives of children should be sacred no matter what color their skin, the religion they adhere to, or the nationality they hold.

But to do so today, as this tragedy is so fresh, seems cheap to me. It turns these deaths, this senseless tragedy, into a political play. Whether you are on the side of gun-control or not, whether you find it mildly interesting that a rash of shootings has suddenly cropped up as efforts to instate meaningful gun control laws in the US are ongoing, or whether you really don't care either way, please don't let this incident, this tragedy, be so easily covered up and used for the gain of one side or the other.

We must talk about it, of course. As someone on Tumblr pointed out, when is the 'right time' to talk about such things--after Columbine, or VT, or Aurora? Why not now? But give time for families to grieve. We will have time to discuss the politics. For now, it is enough that this happened, and that it is horrible. We will consider, reflect, mourn, and then we can discuss the meaning of it.