Preventing Another Newtown Massacre — Guns Aren’t the Problem
In a savage attack, over 20 children were murdered execution style in Connecticut. It is still hard to understand and is abhorrent to all decent people.
As a result, Americans are being cajoled into thinking the responsibility of this massacre falls upon guns and the NRA. We are hearing that we need legislation to restrict the use of guns — in particular, semi-automatic weapons — in an effort to stem the tide of violence from our supposed gun culture here in America.
The problem is, there is no “gun culture” in America. While tragic, the deaths are by no means unique. More importantly, in the scheme of things, the alleged shooter — Adam Lanza — was a rookie.
On a cold Japanese night, Mutsuo Toi, a 21-year-old man, killed 30 people in 1938, including his grandmother, with a sword and axe, and seriously injured three others before killing himself with a shotgun.
In Korea in 1982, Woo Bum-kon, using grenades and a carbine killed 57 people (including himself) in South Korea.
The list is endless, going back to the year 1875, long before the invention of semi-automatic weapons, when Alexander “Sandy” Keith used time bombs to kill over 200 people in a mass murder spree in Bremerham, Germany.
The killers did not come from a gun culture nor did they extensively use guns. Our society by historical standards is peaceful and non-violent compared to other civilizations, both past and present. Can you compare the violence in American society today to the wars in Uganda where entire populations are being executed? Or compare us to most of South America, where the murder rate is ten times that of America and people are being killed so fast they are burying them in trenches?
A more intelligent discussion of mass murder sprees results in one asking the question — what do these killers have in common? And, what causes people to act in this fashion?
The answer, while not easy to understand, is obvious. They all felt disenfranchised with society and are unhappy with themselves, mental infirmity or not.
We have to ask ourselves, given the fact that there has been a recent upswing in killing spree, what is causing the uptick? A careful examination results in a point of note, that as we emphasize being successful and defining success so narrowly in our entitlement based society, we increase the pressure on the individual, and sometimes that individual cracks. Society now puts more pressure than ever on being popular, rich or famous.
As a result, when a person suddenly has a financial or emotional setback (like losing a wife or daughter), the individual sees his life as being ruined and therefore damaged. He strikes back in the only way he knows how — through violence — and seeks to hurt society as they have hurt him, preferably in way that is most shocking and causes them most fame. If he can’t be famous in life, perhaps he can in death.
In each of the cases above, and in a shocking amount of other cases, the murderer was alienated from normal society by either poverty or social dysfunction. This is why so many of the killers are from well-to-do families — they cannot hope to meet the standard set before them and thus they strike out. They feel empowered by the death and destruction they wreak on society.
“I’ll fix you.”
The answer is not gun control or more regulation restricting the freedoms we enjoy. In fact, that may make matters worse. As government takes more and more control, we are less empowered as individuals and closer to the breaking point. Recently, we have had more of these incidents. Government is reducing the human spirit, breaking independence, and defining success in ways that many people either do not want or can’t achieve. The media exacerbates this, by making stars out of people for being sexual icons, fashion icons or just being rich. They emphasize the role of fame in a person’s life rather than how they treat others. The virtues of thrift, charity and work ethic are given a back seat.
The only solution is to expand what success is, and allow people to be who they will be, de-emphasizing riches and fame. Re-introduce the traditional family values of various faiths (not religion itself) and promote traditional American values. Combined with an improved mental health system, which will treat these people through reassessing goals and purpose rather than medications and isolation, perhaps we can reduce these types of incidences, as it is impossible to eliminate them.
Lastly, we must put down the legislator’s pen as the answer to everything. Legislation cannot fix the desperate acts of mentally weary society.
- On Newtown and Gun Control: The Difficult Response (nationalreview.com)
- Newtown Tragedy Is Just So Sad (ribbie.wordpress.com)
- A Real American Horror Story (jeffwinbush.com)
- Newtown and the Madness of Guns (newyorker.com)
- Following Massacre in Newtown, A National Call for Action on Gun Violence (commondreams.org)