15 December 2012


The shootings at the elementary school in Newtown was an act of random violence. There will be a reaction to it, both politically and legally. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to protect yourself from acts of random violence. It can not be foreseen by those who are killed or injured. It is an act of terrorism as that term is and should be defined. Terrorism is the attack by one person against a second person to send a message to a third person. The second person is simply the victim of the conflict between others either real or fanciful. The shootings in Newtown will have an impact on this entire country; it has a psychic impact and affects us all. What I do find ironic in this act of violence is our lack of response to these acts of violence elsewhere. These types of acts are played out daily in Iraq. A car bomb goes off in a crowded market killing 40 men, women, and children. A road side bomb explodes in Afghanistan randomly killing whoever might be in the vehicle that set it off. Always, in the mind of the perpetrator, there is a reason for killing people who you don't know, who are minding their own business, who are simply living day-to-day without hurting anyone. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan, the mothers sending their kids to school, those going to market to buy provisions for dinner live with the knowledge that there kids or mothers may not be home that night. How do they do that? Our first response to Newtown is that such acts are not suppose to happen here in the United States. We are different; this is not how we settle our differences nor employ our dissatisfaction with our own lives. As we have seen in the last few years, there are always a person or two, of a country of 300,000,000, who believe it is the thing to do to go on a killing junket. These acts of violence are first given credulity, then planned, and lastly executed. They are not impulsive acts. The one ingredient in all such acts is a message. The person committing the act is sending a message; is expressing himself; making a statement. In this case guns were used; just lately, in China, school children were attacked and killed with a knife. There will be a violent argument ensue from Newton over guns. The president immediately indicated that there will be a reaction to this shooting; the gun people are girding themselves for battle. Rather than react as we are wont to do with all things untoward, lets think about it first. Let us first decide if we can actually do anything about these random acts of violence; is there something in the national psychic that can be addressed? Personally, I doubt a solution. The human impulse to control others; the dissatisfaction all of us feel at one time or another with our own lives; the urge to have an impact are unmanageable. The 20th century saw a hundred million people slaughtered, starved, tortured; the most destructive period in the history of humans; and we did it to each other. Maybe we are better now, but the 20th century was not so long ago, and it is difficult to see that we, as a species, have changed much.