Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t believe; God bless us, everyone

  

Last night I fell asleep on my couch, worn out from the long week and still trying to digest the tragic events that had occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary hours earlier, spilling out of both my tv & laptop.  I woke up sometime around 3:40am, turned off my tv & fell back asleep.  When I awoke this morning, I turned on the tv again, watched those same people report the same horrific chain of events, then looked at Facebook and saw a friend had posted this:

STUDENT:  God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools?

GOD:  I am not allowed in schools.

At first it annoyed me:  a so-called Christian using yesterday’s tragedy to promote their personal beliefs about putting prayer back in public schools.  (Dude, face the facts—classrooms aren’t full of little caucasian Presbyterians anymore.)   Anyway, I didn’t stay bothered for long.  The guy who posted it is a kind & good person, and if he sees this as an opportunity to promote some personal feelings, more power to him. 

So I suppose if I wanted to share MY feelings about this tragedy, I’d ask what is it going to take for the government to step in and do something about all these guns?  Last year there were approximately 50 gun-related homicides in countries like Germany and the UK; in the United States there were 10,000.  So what’s more insane, the 20 year old who walked into that school & shot those poor babies or labeling the thousands of Americans shot dead every year as an “unfortunate statistic”?

We need to face some sad truths: the majority of us are not intelligent or wary enough to own a firearm.  It’s proven everyday.  And all of those angry, defensive rants about having the right to bear arms and that it’s right there in the Constitution doesn’t justify all this bloodshed.  (If you want to protect your home, keep a baseball bat by your bed or front door.  No curious kid is going to accidentally club himself to death with a baseball bat.)  Why can’t we be like Australia or Finland?  You can only own a gun in those countries if can prove to your local police you NEED to own one.  Why can’t we have those same laws here?  Are they smarter than us?  They probably think so. 

While I admit I’m not a religious man, personal beliefs about God & such things shouldn’t matter right now.  So I’m going to say a prayer for those innocent souls taken far too soon because frankly it just feels like the right thing to do, and while I’m at it, for this little one too, my niece Sophia. 

I just hope & pray she gets to see the bright future she deserves.   

16 comments:

  1. That was a great post, Doug. I do want to say something about the people saying that God should be in schools, because I get what your friend on Facebook was trying to say. I would never shove my religion down someone's throat, but it does bother me that more people aren't at least aware of spirituality or the concept that there may be something greater than us...and that every person and animal is a soul that has feelings. People don't have any moral values anymore and they don't feel any remorse when they hurt or kill a person or animal or commit another heinous crime. And it's getting worse and happening over and over. Perhaps if they believed in an afterlife...and the consequences one could face for their actions...they might think twice about doing terrible things.

    In this particular case, I'm upset that the mother was keeping firearms in her house. If you know your son has psychotic problems (one look at his photo seriously gave me the creeps) why would you give him access to guns???

    I absolutely agree that we need stricter gun control laws in this country. In this case I don't think it would have helped much since his mother owned the guns, but maybe they can save future lives. When the hell are lawmakers going to wake up?

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  2. Thanks very much Pam, but I enjoyed your take on this a lot more. To be honest, I still have reservations about any kind of spiritual instruction in a public school system, but I sure am glad to see we're on the same page about gun control laws. I would love to see something positive come out of all this tragedy, and hopefully this might open some stubborn eyes.

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  3. Great post, Doug.
    I'm appalled, though not surprised, that there are religious idiots using the deaths of little children for religious vengeance. These people are beneath contempt. See what happens when you don't pray in schools?

    If horrific events like this happened on a weekly basis it still would not be enough to quell America's raging hard-on for the gun.

    My friend recently got a single-shot .22 rifle to control vermin on his land. He had to have physical and mental health checks, a criminal record check, and interviews with the police to establish a valid reason for gun ownership, and an inspection of his gun cabinet and house safety. Inspection and oversight will be ongoing.

    Handguns are outlawed entirely.

    This seems entirely appropriate.

    I don't wake up sweating with worry about the tyranny of government or feel any compulsion to go to my local supermarket and buy a rifle that shoots 6 rounds-per-second.

    I don't buy the 'well, the genie's out the bottle so it's pointless introducing gun control' argument - America should start tightening control now, and continue to do so.

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  4. Andrew, thanks very much for your fine feedback here--while we think alike in many respects, I envy how you're able to express yourself.

    It's also interesting to hear someone's thoughts from 'across the pond', & of course the way your friend got that rifle is the way it SHOULD be, period. I really hope it isn't too late for us gun-happy Yanks.

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  5. Too heartbreaking for words. Wonderful teachers and 20 faultless little souls. I'm glad you wrote about this.

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  6. Agreed Shawn.. I wasn't planning to, but it's just too big & too tragic not to say something. Thanks as always for reading.

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  7. My two cents on the subject. Yes, if by some magical stroke, all guns on the planet could be eliminated, then maybe yes, I'd be OK w/ that. But the reality is, they are out there. Banning new sales, and even confiscating existing ones (which would cause a lot more violence, in my opinion), would solve nothing, as the well worn, but valid argument goes, "the bad guys will not give up theirs". As a person who legally carries a firearm, I feel comforted at times that I do have it, as when I go out photographing and such, you don't know what you will encounter out there, all alone.

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  8. Thank you for writing this Doug. I agree with your sentiments. This story has been center stage here in Canada too. It's just devastating. And here our right-wing government just scrapped our long gun registry and ordered the collected data to be destroyed, citing it as "useless". Even a simple registry is deemed offensive. Sigh.

    My parents started crying when they heard little Emilie Parker's dad speak yesterday. It was hard to keep it together. What affected me greatly was the twitter page for the principal who was killed. It shows her passion, her love for her students and a look into what school life was like for students that week and in the months preceding.

    I love the pic your beloved niece. It really puts things into perspective.

    Hugs everyone.

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  9. Hi ET Williams--I appreciate you throwing your two cents in, as the truth is, I'm surprised how few people I know DO own a gun (or at least admit to). Well, I think I'm a realist & I know that some type of 'total gun confiscation' is never going to happen--I would just like to see some sort of ban on assault weapons, limit on the number of guns any person could own, stricter sales on future guns. (By the way--I really enjoy your blog, it makes me homesick for Greene County everytime I visit it) :)

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  10. Hi Chelly, good to hear from you my old friend--I was thinking about you when I wrote this, I wondered what the laws were in Canada & what the statistics were. Anyway, I saw Emilie Parker's dad speak too & it broke my heart--he was kind & gracious but honest. I loved when he said "Don't let this define us." Anyway Chelly, thank you for the kind words about my niece, I hope you are well. :)

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  11. E.T Williams,

    Your position is the pull-the-string, laissez-faire nonsense we've heard forever. It's the one that will lead to more and more Americans being killed, including children.

    But, hey, as long as you feel 'comforted' by having a gun about your person because of your fear of the unknown (where the hell are you taking those photos?) then it really doesn't matter - and it's telling that you make no reference to the dead children in your defence of gun ownership, which is seems par for the course with gun-loving Americans...

    This is not the time for people to throw up their hands and say 'well, there's nothing we can do about gun ownership, so let's - yet again - do nothing', this is the time to address the problem, and from different approaches - through beefing up the Brady Act, through better mental healthcare outreach, through education, through the reporting of massacres such as this, for example, and to keep on that path.

    How long before the next gun massacre?

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  12. Hey Doug, just want to clarify that I wasn't saying that God should be taught in schools...but you have to admit it's pretty ironic that when something like this happens, people pray, the president quotes the bible, and people start asking "where was God?" Mike Huckabee recently said that He has been escorted right out of our culture. It's too politically incorrect to mention God nowadays. Not that it would have helped much in this situation, because the mother made some poor parenting choices giving her mentally troubled son access to guns and (so I read through the Telegraph in the UK) violent video games such as Call of Duty. I'm not saying that people should go to church, but maybe try to have an awareness of something greater than ourselves and respect for other living beings.

    By the way, there are people who think that meditation would be beneficial to children. I don't think that's a bad idea, but I can see the parents squawking already...

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  13. Well, there sure has been some strong stuff shared here...I felt a little overwhelmed reading the followups here from Pam & Andrew, not sure what to say. It's obvious this has affected everyone in different ways.

    Just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to write down their feelings, and I truly hope that something positive can come out of all this & give all those young deaths some meaning.

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  14. What came out of this, Doug,is the claim by the NRA that what America needs is more guns, apparently, and armed guards in schools.

    It's a ballsy move, isn't it? Their clarion cry in the wake of each fresh massacre will now be 'it wouldn't have happened if there had been more armed personnel there'.

    But what about the Fort Hood shooting? If a man on a military base, surrounded by people trained to use firearms, and literally surrounded by guns, can kill 13 people and injure 29, what hope is there for the rest of society?

    What the NRA have effectively said, ramped up through cynical phrases such as 'unknown number of monsters', is that America is lawless, has failed as a society, and cannot offer to protect its citizens.

    This isn't the model you should expect the world to admire or emulate.

    Isn't America better than this?

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  15. I'm truly surprised at the number of people who believe the tragedy would not have happened if people did not own guns, the truth of the matter is it would have. If someone has it in their mind to do this trpe of harm they will find a way, the same day this happened a man in China walked into a elementary school and stabbed 20 children, so should we ban knives, Timothy McVay and Terry Nichols kidded 168 people 19 of them were children with fertilizer and diesel fuel and no one is trying to ban that. What needs to be done to help stop these attracts is attention to mental health issues, from 1955 to 2005 the number of beds at mental institutions has dropped from 340 for every 100,000 people in 1955 to 17 for every 100,000 people in 2005. One other thing that in my opinion would help stop some of these attacks is for the news media to not even mention them on the news, I believe some attacks in the past were committed by people just looking for their "15 minutes of fame", and as for bringing prayer back to school I feel that making prayer mandatory is wrong but having a denomination neutral class that students can sign up for instead of study hall should be available.

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  16. Thanks for the great post here Steve, and yes I saw that China classroom tragedy with the man and a knife too. Deranged people are going to find a way if their minds are really set on it to commit these heinous acts, it just seems that having a ready arsenal makes it all too convenient.

    I DO agree with you about the media's attention to these crimes--I'm SURE that's where these sick individuals get their inspiration, just like the theater killings at that Batman movie. Thanks again for sharing Steve.

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