Though its final 3 victims were buried yesterday, it's impossible to lay the events of last week in Newtown, Connecticut to rest. This festive time of year which I normally enjoy so much has certainly taken a somber tone with this tragedy so fresh in my mind.
During summer I watched Gus Van Sant's masterful Elephant which gives a realistic account of the Columbine High School massacre. The realism of Van Sant's film forces viewers to consider the reality of what it must be like to flee for your life as an unsympathetic gunman attempts to indiscriminately kill off yourself and the people you've grown up with. This reality is by no means an anomaly - tragedies like Columbine are all too frequent in the United States. However, as horrific as High School shootings are, the events at Sandy Hook Elementary school involving children as young as 6 seem to navigate uncharted realms of human depravity. That a human being could end the lives of 20 children and take away the innocence of dozens more is utterly despicable.
Obviously these events have had a drastic influence on the gun debate which is perpetually raging in America. Given the preceding events it is utterly preposterous to me that any debate remains - evasive action should immediately be taken to resolve the firearms crisis faced in USA. Concerning the firearms issue, it seems to me that America still finds itself in a social milieu we would expect to have seen 200 years ago. In Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine we are told about a building society which gives its clients a hunting rifle for taking out a savings account. The archaic right to bear firearms and being able to acquire them so readily (in the above example through such absurd means) seems outrageous in the world's most poweful nation. While I'm no expert on guns, its obvious that when the US Constitution was formulated in the late 18th century weaponry was very, very, very different - muskets and blunderbusses barely capable of hitting a target from a hundred yards versus military grade assault rifles and hand grenades... How can there possibly be any debate that the laws need amending? As a person who had always considered living in the United States its events like these which make me question emigrating. Sure, Britain isn't without it's faults but when I eventually decide to have children, would I be comfortable with them attending an American School? Maybe not; at least not until the ridiculous constitution is revised. In the wake of Sandy Hook an NRA spokesperson said that the only way to stop a 'bad guy' with a gun is to have a gun yourself. The primitive choice of diction here is indicative of the generally erroneous statement - no anti-gun campaigners are arguing the police shouldn't be armed, they're saying that buying a gun shouldn't be as simple as supersizing your MacDonald's meal.
Amid this catastrophe there are some warming examples of bravery and selflessness. Those teachers who chose to sacrifice themselves so that their students might stand a better chance of escape are truly inspiring - being able to completely forego one's own safety to save those in your care and to be able to come to this decision in spite of the chaos occurring all around almost undoes the damage done to my perception of human evil done by Adam Lanza. I've also become fonder of Obama since the tragedy. I feel like the tears he shed were of a man genuinely distraught and it just made me think that he really must embody the emotional climate of the millions of people he presides over. I don't believe he would appropriate a tragedy like a school shooting by feigning tears in a repugnant attempt to garner more support.
|Fire arms and live ammunition displayed like groceries.|