The problem with Sandy Hook is more pervasive than the considerations of most people. The problem with Sandy Hook is insidious and dark. The problem with Sandy Hook resides quite unexpectedly in the collective hearts and minds of our 'great' society. The word great appears in quotations because we as a society no longer do things that 'great societies' do. Our fast food, reality T.V., drone assassinating mentality numbs our minds to the point of non-questioning compliance. So much so our hearts have become hardened against the cries for help from within our borders and callous toward the cries of those beyond. Numb minds can no longer register and contend with the constant assault against, and erosion of, our 'inalienable rights' or manufacture and distribute the one thing that could actually help us - love for one another. As we analyze the problem that is Sandy Hook we are forced to analyze the problem with ourselves.
Guns, Gun Control and Politicians
Politics, and by extension politicians, does not and cannot solve social ills. The best we can expect politically is a re-action to a problem instead of pro-action which is usually reserved for self-serving political ventures and not for social upliftment. Legislation does not solve social issues and more legislation will only fool us into thinking we are better off socially. Can more gun control legislation change a depraved heart or a demented mind? What more can words on paper do for the wounded and fractured psyches roaming our streets and terrorizing our playgrounds, schools, shopping malls, and churches?
The reason why more laws appeal to us so much is that the problem is relegated to the politicians so they can 'do something' while we excuse and exonerate ourselves from any responsibility. After all it is easier to medicate and ignore the people who annoy us as opposed to taking time to speak sincerely with them. It's easier to cast aside and denigrate the 'freaks' and others that do not look like us or conform to our norms instead of embracing our differences and try to learn from one another. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook Elementary and all the mass killings in between we still fail to collectively connect the dots.
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The Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy that there would come a time when people would love themselves and money more than anything else. He also said that people would be without natural affection and self-control all the while being fiercely mean and unappeasable. Whether you believe in the bible or not no one can reasonably deny that people excessively loving themselves and being willing to hurt others in the process is on the increase. How can you tell? Pay attention to those around you who think very highly of themselves even when you both know they are doing something dead wrong on a continuous basis. Add a little dash of arrogance and voila! you have a lover of self. We can find copious examples of 'lovers of self' on reality television shows where, generally speaking, any type of behavior is excusable and acceptable. This extends into the world of finance and corporations where you don't need to look very hard for examples of money hungry scoundrels. Some people (e.g. Bernie Madoff) and some corporations (e.g. Enron, Goldman Sachs) typify what it means to love money even if it means hurting people in the process of taking it. Both points deals with affection, or the lack thereof, meanness and the inability to appease people. It has become increasingly noticeable that some people are easily moved to anger with little to no ability for anyone or anything to assuage their anger. There is much video evidence of angry, bitter people behaving poorly (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-z0_YH2UGw).
Remaining in the vein of poor behavior what ever happened to self-analysis? Awareness of one’s shortcomings and adjusting accordingly in a positive way is both helpful to individuals and society as a whole. The days where we took a good look at ourselves and blushed or cowered with embarrassment over poor decisions seem to have almost disappeared from the face of the earth. There is a complete lack of conscience. The unfortunate fact is without conscience we cannot see the wrong in the actions of ourselves or others who are behaving in the same manner we are. Blinded by our own lack of self-awareness of negative actions and any culpability we should feel we are also blind to the causes of the high levels of irrational violence that is plaguing our communities. Do we as a nation wink at violence? No doubt! Preemptive wars against people who haven't harmed us doesn't seem to bother the average person even after it has been acknowledged that we were 'mislead'. No protest in the streets to hold those accountable for the senseless deaths of thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians who did nothing more than live in the wrong country at the wrong time. So desensitized to violence are we that the killing of over 80 people by drones in a month and a half (Dec 2012-mid Jan 2013) hardly rates as news. But who cares about them; they're terrorist, right? We no longer care about kidnappings, secret prisons, the suspension of habeas corpus or the mass killing of others abroad.
I'm sure there are some who are reading this article that believe in the complete infallibility of America and its policies but most assuredly America is led by people and people do make mistakes. And a mistake even with good intentions is still a mistake. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, essentially, in his sermon "The Drum Major Instinct" that America's pride and arrogance has caused it to do unnatural things in the world. These unnatural tendencies have led to some of the most tragic examples of man's inhumanity to man. Pride and arrogance can be haunting and has a way of showing up in unexpected places. That is because what we send out into the world is what we tend get back.
Despicable acts and violence doesn't bother us anymore partly because our music, television, and video games along with a healthy dose of apathy has thoroughly desensitized us. The University of Michigan Health System notes that the average American child will observe 200,000 acts of violence by the age of 18 with most of these acts going unpunished and is often accompanied or associated with humor. A full 2/3 of all TV programming has at least one violent act. Violence with humor in the absence of any perceived punishment equals at best desensitization and at worst fuel for broken minds and broken spirits to do whatever they will to be done.
What does all of this have to do with Sandy Hook or any other mass shooting you ask? Great question. What we are getting back from the energies we send out are people with broken minds who have a predilection towards violence and destruction. They desire greatly to harm as many people as possible before surrendering to the only way out that they can see through suicide. These are people who have been ignored and isolated from the rest of society. These are people who are medicated instead of ministered to. It has become very easy and familiar to get people to pop a pill rather than to engage them in some meaningful way. It takes a great deal of pride and arrogance to think that some pharmaceutical chemical cocktail can ultimately replace human interaction. It takes a great deal of apathy to be so unconcerned with our children, friends, and neighbors that we routinely ignore them instead of nurture them out of love and respect. In addition, comfort and complacency allows us to ignore our inhumane actions abroad and this same complacency allows us to be apathetic in our actions at home. When moral degradation, technological distractions and pharmaceuticals replace wisdom, support and love we can expect the Columbines and Sandy Hooks to continue.
Guns have always been tools that can either be used as a means of protection or destruction. As a tool it can also be used as a means of distraction to take our collective eye off of the real problem. Ultimately it is the people who would do us harm we need to be concerned about and no amount of legislation will ever erase the darkness that lurks in the hearts and minds of man. Only through our capacity to love and exercise wisdom can we hope to eradicate a plague that threatens to consume us.
In the final analysis the problem with Sandy Hook is us and the solution lies within us.
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