Rainbows and Unicorns
In the aftermath of Newtown, there seems to be no shortage of opinions on what needs to be done. We must, it is said, make sure that this never happens again. Some people promote gun control, others armed guards, some offer other solutions, and the debate goes on and on. The solution, however, is not the point. The fact that some believe that there is a complete solution is the issue.
When did the citizens of the United States begin to believe that Utopia was achievable? When was it discovered that laws and government will solve our woes?
We have to make sure that this never happens again. It is a great comment, full of feeling. It is also divorced from the world in which we live. People need to face a tragic reality -- Newtown, or something like it, will happen again. It is only a matter of time. Is that harsh? Absolutely. It is also reality. There may be those that think that it is not a reality. Well, revisit the topic in a few years and see if you turn out to be right.
As a country, we really need to stop deluding ourselves with fantasies. This severely affects our ability to carry out measures that may actually help. The sad fact is that there is, right now, another Adam Lanza out there. He is weaving through his psychotic life, day by day, until eventually something or someone sets him off. In a country of over 300 million people, it would be idiotic to think he is not out there.
Make the assumption that a weapons ban is passed, and somehow, miraculously, the shooter has absolutely no ability to acquire the weapon of his choice. Further assume that the size of magazines is limited, so for some reason he limits himself to a single magazine of ten rounds with a semi-automatic pistol. Under these circumstances, this lunatic can only butcher ten people. Do you feel better? I can assure you that the families of the ten victims will not feel very good at all.
This will happen, because there are so many that are insistent on dealing with the symptom instead of the disease. It is not the weapon, it is the person. Why is that such an incredibly hard concept to grasp? When the weapons ban is passed, and some unhinged person finds another way to commit mass murder, will people be all confused, wondering how such a thing happened?
There are no guarantees, and horrible things happen. While we as Americans were never able to fully accept this, we at least acknowledged the reality. As a person drives home from work, there is no guarantee that he or she will not be killed by a drunk driver. We have passed very strict drunk driving laws, and yet people continue to die. That is the world, and nothing you do is going to change it. You can minimize it, but there is no magic solution here. It is going to continue to happen.
People are free to believe that evil does not exist. They are free to believe that there is good in every person. They are free to believe that institutionalization is inhumane and a violation of individual rights. What they cannot believe, rationally, is that our nation is not filled with some really bad people that are totally devoid of any feelings of empathy. What they cannot do is deny the need for forced institutionalization and then feign surprise when one of these sick people explode and take others with them. They should know better, almost every decision has its potential consequences. Perhaps letting people with mental problems move about with immunity was a mistake. Can we separate ourselves from the emotion long enough to consider that possibility?
To survive, the United States cannot become a nation where we think we can prevent horrible things from happening. We cannot expect life to be fair. We cannot continue to believe in a Utopian fantasy, where crime and bad things are magically swept away through smiley-face, feel good legislation. It is a pipe dream. What we can do is try to minimize the damage.
The deviant, the psychotic, and the psychopath will always be with us. The question is -- what do we do about their condition? Is it fair to say that in order to protect the rights of others, we may have to curtail the rights of those who are mentally imbalanced, or have a history of felonious behavior?
We know, without any doubt, that there are very dangerous people in society. For the most part, we even know who they are. Do we do something about that, or are we happy to extend full rights to those who are threats to society as a whole? The country needs to make a decision.
We will never solve the problem, but we can do logical things to make horrific events like Newtown as rare as possible.
Stop blaming the instrument, and start paying attention to the musician. Perhaps we can find a way to minimize this madness.
Follow David on Twitter at @DavidJGarth and visit his website A Most Sacred Right.