We'll probably never have a concrete answer as to why this happened, but yet we cannot help but ask why. Even so, we can only offer our own thoughts and theories as to why. Maybe Adam Lanza, the shooter, was simply insane. After all, do sane people go on such murderous rampages, especially ones that target children?
So what do we do about it? It's understandable in the wake of yesterday's horror that some people are calling for tougher gun laws. But murder is already on the books as being against the law. That law didn't dissuade Adam Lanza from his horrifying actions. I suspect having other gun laws on the books wouldn't have dissuaded him either, regardless of how he obtained his weapons. In fact we've had an increasing number of new anti-gun laws put on the books over the past few decades, with no effect. What's more is that not every crime is even carried out with guns. Over 3,000 lives were lost in 2001 in a crime spree that originated with box cutters, and just yesterday, a man in China stabbed 22 children. We could outlaw every single gun in existence, and yet they would continue to be made and still have a huge demand on the black market. Those with criminal intentions would not care that guns are against the law. Criminals, by definition, don't obey the law.
Instead, law abiding citizens would be left defenseless against those whose intentions are dangerous. We might as well all put a sign in our front yards alerting criminals we have no way to defend ourselves and plead for their mercy. I doubt we'd receive it, just like the helpless victims in yesterday's shootings didn't receive the killer's mercy. But as long as criminals know there's a chance that a law-abiding citizen has the right to own a gun, he is more likely to think twice about invading their home and that benefits all of us, whether we own a gun or not (read John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" for some very revealing statistics).
But one place criminals know guns are not likely to be found is in schools. Perhaps if the staff at the school had license-to-carry clearance, they could have stopped the shooter in his tracks with their own gun. I know that may sound to some as though I'm advocating more violence. On the contrary. I wonder, would someone who wants to see all gun rights abolished, but who had a loved one in Sandy Hook Elementary school yesterday, have objected to a teacher opening her desk drawer and pulling out the only defense weapon that could have taken this demon down?
My concern is that this tragedy is going to be used to further strip the rights of law-abiding citizens, while failing to look at the real and serious issues that are behind this. I believe this violence - and all the violence we're seeing lately, like Oregon earlier this week, and Aurora, CO, in July - has to do with moral decay and a systematic devaluation of human life itself in our society.
Maybe it's time we take a psychological look at things like abortion. How can a society that says it's okay to terminate human life in the womb then turn around and teach that human life is sacred? I don't see that lesson being taught. How could it be? Add to this things like euthanasia and assisted suicide, the glorification of death in movies and video games, and what message is anyone getting that life really, truly matters? Instead, the messages I see being put forth are ones of self-importance and self-gratification. "If it's right for you, then it's right." There is no longer an objective measure of right and wrong independent of how we feel about something, and that is a dangerous track we're on.
In many ways, society is advancing the notion that the pursuit of happiness has more to do with instant gratification than ethical behavior, hard work and sacrifice. It seems in too many cases that the only sacrifice some people are willing to make is to sacrifice their dignity in return for their fleeting 15 minutes of fame. Take a look at any random television reality show for some examples.
In line with this, a 2010 UK survey found that the top three career aspirations for five- to 11-year-olds were sports star, pop star and actor, compared with teacher, banker and doctor 25 years ago. I see similar fame-oriented aspirations right here in America. And in tragedies like yesterday's nightmare in Connecticut, maybe it's a different 15 minutes of fame altogether that some people are seeking. But where and when did these criminals lose sight of the value of human life? Were they ever taught it in the first place?
It's interesting to note that, besides legal guns, another thing schools lack is God. For all intents and purposes, He has been removed from our schools and, by extension, from large parts of our society. He gives us free will, and in that freedom, we can choose good, or we can choose evil. It seems that because God's Ten Commandments have become little more than the ten suggestions, that more and more people are choosing evil.
Of course I don't have the answers as to what drove the gunman to do what he did yesterday. I feel helpless in taking away the suffering of the parents of the children who died, or of the children of the adults who died. But I can't help but think if we are going to turn this violent, morally devoid trend around, we need to start by teaching from the beginning that right and wrong do exist independent of our own whims, that personal dignity should be cherished above vain attention, and that all human life is sacred.
May God bless the souls of all those who lost their earthly lives yesterday, may He comfort those in unimaginable grief, and may He help our country turn back to Him for the guidance we so desperately need.
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