We are a country once again immersed in collective grief. The questions abound. The answers escape us.
I heard Piers Morgan of CNN say, after the Newton, Connecticut, unspeakable tragedy, that these types of “American” gunning down of innocents simply do not happen in his homeland, England.
We certainly observe the horrors of street violence and killings in all the corners of the world. And we know of the incidence of individual domestic murders and one-on-one “rage justice” murders worldwide.
But do other countries suffer these mass killings at random shopping malls and schools by the mentally disturbed?
With so many cases in recent years, it is glaring that gun control was not on the radar screen during this year’s election. Fair enough, we fight to defend our freedoms, including the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms. We debate our right to hunt food, to defend our property and loved ones. We institute tougher screening processes in purchasing weapons. Yet the increase in background checks, from 8.5 million in 2002 to 16.8 million in 2012, has not slowed the popularity of gun ownership.
Spending on hunting weapons has grown 30% in just the past five years. 49 states have legalized the right to carry concealed weapons.
What is the answer? Should a 20-year-old have the right to own an assault weapon? How can we monitor literally millions of people, their motives, their mental stability, in terms of gun ownership?
I remember chatting with a NY taxi driver many years ago, before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He said he left Russia because there was no freedom. No freedom to make life choices, to even control one’s individual career and finances. When I asked him what his assessment of our country was, after living here for some ten years at that point, he said we have too much freedom.
The top political, sociological minds of our time cannot find the answer. We go from Columbine to Newton with no change.
We are all mourning the devastating loss of so many good souls in Connecticut. The children. The killer’s own mother. Our hearts are with all those families. As well as the survivors. And we are feeling utterly helpless.
To watch President Obama cry was to witness a man at a loss. What is the solution?