Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut Shooting - No Words, Many Words

Here we go again. Another day, another mass shooting. This time, Adam Lanza mowed down 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School - including 20 children - as well as his own mother before he turned the gun on himself. There literally are no words to describe a nightmare like this.

In fairness, these mass shootings don't only happen in the U.S. - remember Polytechnique, Dawson College and Concordia, all in my own hometown of Montreal - but the U.S. leads the world by far in their frequency. And I can't believe I'm the only one who's troubled by this.

So I tweeted the following - and also cross-posted it to Facebook:

And wouldn't you know, but it touched off quite the debate on Facebook (read the entire exchange here...feel free to send me a friend request or subscribe to my feed if you can't read it.)

Now, a quick level-set: I'm all up for a good debate. I'm not so arrogant as to believe that I'm always right, or that someone can't come along and open my eyes to a new way of looking at things. That's why I write, why I blog, why I engage at all on social media. Because fascinating moments of learning happen when you get into it with people who don't necessarily see things the way you do.

But then I saw this, and my curiosity was piqued:

Feeling that, perhaps, Mr. Hanson, who has followed my work online for a number of years, misunderstood where I was coming from, I answered him:

And he answered back, confirming that indeed he had misunderstood my intent:

And so on:

And so on:
To the point that things got uglier:

Until I summed it up and tried to end this now-circuitous exchange:

Am I glad I raised the issue? Sure. Am I saddened that society can't seem to put its head together to come up with a collective means of dealing with this growing, unspeakably tragic epidemic? Of course. Does it pain me that not everyone shares this view? You bet.

And as long as this inertia persists, we'll be face palming ourselves in horror time and again. At what point do we all rise up and say enough's enough?

I'm guessing never. And while nothing can ever approach the tragedy of children murdered in cold blood, our collective unwillingness and inability to finally do something about it has to rank as equally tragic, for it dooms future victims to a similar fate.

Raising the issue today may indeed be inappropriate. But inaction of any kind is a significantly more troubling path.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Carmi, I heard other views yesterday on the news... some do not think this will change what happened yesterday... Did u hear about the Portland, Oregon shooting at the mall? that was earlier this week. Also, at Cal State Fullerton college, (thank God, no lives were lost) was on lockdown.. students kept for over 6 hours while police tried to find jewelry robbers on campus... Would u believe the suspects eluded cops? Its the system, and ways that things are handled... I hate to say this, laws will change only, if some high official's family member has been effected... Don't u agree? They are saying there are both democrats and repubs that are snubbing the gun control laws... Its all politics... I've read your pasted tweets here. Only in America can people say/do what they please... Common sense and logic have been' thrown out with the bath water'... so to speak.

lissa said...

Carmi - I've been vilified for my views as well...but only because I walk on the Dark Side...the conservative side.

I agree with you that something has to be done. I think the dialogue should have started WAY back when schools became killing fields. I don't pretend to know the answer. I don't pretend to be high and mighty with knowledge. I have become a pariah because I hold the Unpopular Opinion. And I have my reasons, supported by facts and by many many others who see things the same way. But it is only one side of the debate, which has heated up to the point (as you experienced - and I did as well, in another venue) with deep animosity aimed toward those who do not agree with a held belief. It exacerbates the situation when, in the face of evil, we encounter intolerance and vitriol.

And I saw your intent right away. It isn't to try and effect change in a broad sweeping manner. It's what we all noted, at some point or another yesterday: that no one seemed to be shocked THAT it happened. HOW it happened, and to WHOM was where we all had our worlds shattered. But yes, it's come to be a norm (even in Toronto this past year, on at least 2 separate occasions) in our society to expect shootings will happen. And you, being you, expressed your heart in the way you did, to open the dialogue. Too bad you were met with an attack.

Gun control is a hot-button topic and I won't go there, not here, not today. But school security, proper and thorough background checks - ONGOING checks of gun owners, mental-health issues and cultivating a culture of safety, respect and Do Unto Others have been mentioned in the last few hours as being on the international "to-do" list.

I suspect that wonderful kindergarten teacher and her small charges were beginning the road to learning respect toward others, and I mourn the loss of any life, but add my devastation at the victims whose ages and status make this crime that much more horrific.

Thanks for being you.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

What saddens me most is that this has become an argument over gun control, and not any attempt to change the culture that people have normed to. You can make all the rules you want, but until people put the guns down and find other ways to get help and make points, it's not going to stop.

Love ya, Carmi. Glad you went there.

JC said...

Hey, Carmi... what do you propose? I would be first in line to give up my arms if that were truly an answer in preventing the horror that occurred in Newtown.

Yes, you can assume I am a responsible, law abiding *normal* citizen.

You know, sick people hurt children every single day, without guns. So sad. But, again, what would you propose?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This reminds me of the debate over health care in the U.S. People who point to the fact that other civilized countries have solved this problem with single payer are stared at like they have three eyes.

Single payer? THAT'S SOCIALISMS!!!


=>So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.

The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.<=

Prego said...

I checked out this Wendy character on FB... Her solution? She's getting a gun permit. Pearls to swine, my brother.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure by now you've seen the issue raised about mental illness; certainly one to consider as we re-evaluate the stronghold of the NRA in our country. It's a complicated issue to extricate ourselves from a "right" deeply rooted into the fabric of America.

I know your record of kindness and balanced consideration; I likely wouldn't have raised the issue you did as soon as you did, but I understand your emotional, angry response to the INSANITY which only continues.

I appreciate how you get people talking, thinking. Always a good thing.