Under the shadow of the gun: A perspective on the Connecticut killings

| December 21, 2012

Clive Caines Cultural Contributor

Here we are yet again, America crying long tears over the killing spree of a lone gunman.

In 2012 alone America has experienced 13 mass killing sprees taking the tally since 1992 to 62 such occurrences.

I have to say that of all the acts of inhumanity or down right human stupidity that have occurred this week it is difficult not to be most moved by the amount of children who lost their lives in this latest massacre: 20 school children age between 6 to 7 years old paying the ultimate price for some-one’s disaffection.

Anyone who saw President Obama addressing the nation in reaction to the Connecticut killings would have witnessed a man clearly moved by the tragedy.

But my reading of that address was that Obama was also deeply angered by the knowledge that despite all of the fine words that will be uttered in response to the event any attempt to enforce change through legislation will be neutered by a powerful gun lobby.

The absolute shame of it all is that if America can’t see the killing of so many children as a watershed moment that should lead to a change of heart on gun law legislation then what will it take?

Certainly if the National Rifle Association is allowed to lead the debate on gun law reform then it is highly unlikely that the Connecticut killings will make a jot of difference.

The NRA’s website doesn’t currently carry comment on the Connecticut killings but I presume the following quote from its Chairman Wayne LaPierre, dated November 2012, would frame any such comment: “The point is, gun owners and the NRA have been right all along. It’s the criminals, not the law-abiding gun owners, who are the issue. More guns, less crime isn’t just “quite possible,” it’s a fact.”

Now it would be easy to take the view that mass killings are an American affliction but let us not forget that the UK, Norway and Japan have also experienced such events. It is however difficult to dismiss such killers as merely criminals as this trivialises their actions.

Photo courtesy news.com.au

When a mass killing event occurs a well functioning society should be prepared to engage in a period of deep introspection.

Out of this introspection surely should come a desire to put right those wrongs that lead to individuals believing that their dissatisfaction could only be assuaged by mass killing.

I say this in recognition that those individuals who commit such crimes may have mental health issues, however those issues are tied up with their view of themselves and what they believe they are due in this world.

Maybe if we humans stop telling ourselves that we are entitled above others then maybe we’ll see fewer individuals wanting to take a dreadful mass revenge.

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Category: Caines Corner, Culture & Society, Politics

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