Friday, December 14, 2012

Who Should We Blame?

By Alan Caruba

At the end of the day, what we know is that a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 18 kindergartners and nine adults for twenty-seven in all. Among the victims was his mother, a teacher at the school, killed prior to the massacre.

It is a monstrous crime, but differs only in the details from comparable crimes in recent years. The shooter in the Colorado movie theater on July 20 this year comes to mind, the shooter of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan 8, 2011, and of course, the two young killers at Columbine High School in 1999.  And doesn’t 1999 seem an age ago?

Would it surprise you that there is a computer game available called “Kindergarten Killer” that says it’s "a great way to relieve stress"?

The media and the nation will now engage in the same analysis that always follows these events; who or what to blame.

Some will blame our “gun culture” and call for more restrictions on gun sales. The obvious answer is that people kill other people with every manner of instrument available from kitchen knives to a lamp cord. Guns may facilitate the killing, but someone has to pull the trigger first.

Others will blame the nation’s penchant for movies and television shows that show so much killing that it dulls the senses to the violence, but I grew up on cowboy films in the 1940s and 50s when the “good guy” wore a white hat and usually dispatched the “bad guy” by the end of the film.

In one of the most memorable scenes from “The Shootist”, John Wayne’s last film about an old gunfighter, his character, John Bernard Books, imparts his reason for having killed a few bad guys. “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.” A simple, but effective morality.

So, yes, Americans have always been fond of guns, but we forget that they were a necessity for much of the history of the nation in which colonists and then settlers moving West routinely hunted for venison, bear, geese, ducks, rabbits, wild turkey and anything else that put meat on the table.

You may be astonished to learn, as journalist James Sterba points out in his book, “Nature Wars”, that America has “an informal army equal to the manpower in the ten largest armed forces in the world—China, United States, India, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Vietnam—combined.” Hunters.

Deer are the favorite game of hunters and ten million Americans take to the forest and field to bring one home in the autumn. “Pennsylvania alone fields a force of deer hunters twice the size of the U.S. Army.”

If it were just the quantity of guns that are to blame for the day’s tragedy, one would think that these events would be more common. It is precisely because they are not common that we find ourselves appalled by the news reports. When it involves innocent children, it just adds to the horror.

Then we must ask ourselves if there is so much mental illness in the nation that it may be a contributing factor. Mental illness abounds as does a pharmacy of medications routinely doled out to those experiencing everything from depression to hallucinations. It is commonplace and very hard for a layman to spot. How does one know if the noisy neighbor might just also be a psychopath?

So, who do we blame?

I suggest we blame the alleged killer, Adam Lanza, age 20. He was found dead at the scene and, as of this writing, he may have committed suicide or been dispatched by police. He’s dead. He’s left his mark and will become a Wikipedia entry.

Some who don’t own a gun will purchase one. The ladies prefer those small enough to fit in a purse. The men like something with some heft to it.

The only thing we know for sure is that we all feel less secure in our daily lives, whether going to a movie or leaving a child off at school.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


TexasFred said...

There is no one to blame other than the evil bastard that did the act, but I can't help but believe that the political correctness that smothers this nation has much to do with it as well...

Think of this:

Dear God, WHY didn't you intervene and protect these teachers and children in Connecticut? Signed: America

Dear America, YOU don't ALLOW me in your schools... Signed, GOD

Warlock Sundance said...

well stated....very well stated.

Longstreet said...

THIS is what EVIL looks like.


Unknown said...

Stricter gun laws won't stop this type of occurrence. Alan, you did well with this article as usual and Texas Fred makes a good point. It's hard to believe how insane this shooter was as he was heartless and had absolutely no compassion whatsoever....hard to believe anyone could reach such a moral depth.

Long Ridge Deer Camp said...

Spot on.

Anonymous said...

A gun may allow more people to die, but just this month in Wyoming, a 20 something male killed his father's girlfriend, then killed his father in the college classroom where his father taught. This person used a crossbow and a knife. He committed suicide in the classroom after killing his father. No guns were involved and three people died. A determined individual does not need a gun.

Guy in Ohio said...

As long as we continue to condition our youth to accept killing and violence as a means of conflict resolution, this problem will not only continue, it will intensify.

All violence originates in the mind. Take away their guns, and sick, violent people will just find some other equally effective way to express their anger. It's OBVIOUS to anyone with a brain that, unless we all want to live in padded cells, we can't ban every single one of their potential implements of destruction...

The rational, logical approach solving to this problem must start at it's roots. Any other approach is a waste of time. Of course, our society is far from logical or rational nowadays, so we can fully expect a flurry of senseless and misguided anti-gun legislation ... and lots more killing.

Personally, I'd recommend buying plenty of guns and ammunition, and keeping both handy at all times. Unless this society wakes up and starts addressing the REAL problem, it's going to be a rough ride. And make no mistake ... law enforcement will NEVER be there in time to save your life, or the lives of your loved ones. It's up to YOU.

Unknown said...

Alice is totally correct. He could have parked near the school and then ran the car full speed into just as many poor kids as he shot. The following is from the New York Times on 12/14. If a gun is not available the killer will find something else to use.

Man Stabs 22 Children in China
Published: December 14, 2012

BEIJING (AP) — A man wielding a knife wounded 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for classes on Friday, the police said.

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The attack, in the village of Chengping in Henan Province, happened shortly before 8 a.m., said a police officer from Guangshan County, where the village is located.

The attacker, Min Yingjun, 36, was subdued by security guards and taken into custody by the police, said the officer, who declined to give her name, which is customary among Chinese civil servants. Guards have been posted at schools across China after a spate of attacks in recent years.

A Guangshan County hospital administrator said there were no deaths among the nine students admitted to the hospital, although two badly wounded children were transferred to better-equipped hospitals outside the county.

A doctor at Guangshan’s hospital of traditional Chinese medicine said that seven students had been admitted there, but that none were seriously injured.

It was not clear how old the wounded children were, but Chinese primary school students are generally 6 to 11.

A notice on the Guangshan County government’s Web site confirmed the number of wounded and said an emergency response team had been set up to investigate the stabbings.

No motive was given for the attack, which resembled a string of similar assaults against Chinese schoolchildren in 2010 that killed nearly 20 and wounded more than 50. The most recent such attack took place in August, when a man broke into a middle school in the southern city of Nanchang and stabbed two students before fleeing.

Most of the attackers have been mentally disturbed men involved in personal disputes or unable to adjust to the rapid pace of social change in China, underscoring grave weaknesses in the antiquated Chinese medical system’s ability to diagnose and treat psychiatric illness.

In one of the worst attacks, a man described as an unemployed, middle-aged doctor killed eight children with a knife in March 2010 to vent his anger over a thwarted romantic relationship.

Long Ridge Deer Camp said...

Ourselves...for leaving, er...requiring those teachers to be rendered helpless in the face of a madman's attack.

Geoff A said...

In the early 1960s, God was removed by law from US schools. To help Obama in his assurance re the present shootings "We will put this right", I suggest publication of the statistic of how many school shootings took place before the eviction of God from schools, and how many came after. This might prove helpful to the good Mr Obama in his deliberations.