I rarely if I should write about things that I hear on the news. Half the time, I’m a day late cause I never get a chance to watch the news until late. Usually hubby emails me or calls me and tells me that something horrible or outrageous happened. It’s not that I don’t care, or I don’t have an opinion, but other people can express it better than I can. Certainly, JJ at Too Many Fish to Fry had a post that was useful and straightforward. I stopped watching CNN years ago because it turned into Armageddon TV. That kind of journalism only serves to spawn fear and notoriety. Hubby often comes home in a horrible mood because of some awful sensible tragedy, usually involving a child. He believes the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I hang on to the stories of those who did make a difference even if they had to die in order to do so.
The mass killing in Newton, Connecticut though was so unbelievably horrifying that I could barely hold the facts in my head. And so I need to write about it. Tears slid down my face and I immediately tried to stuff down my reaction. I wanted to un-hear what I had heard. I wanted to change the channel. It didn’t seem right to hear that children went to school one day and were murdered and then just talk about something else with a glass of wine. Seriously, again? I have no idea of where I can buy a gun, but apparently you can get a hold of a gun and ammo in the States as easily as you can buy a can of Coke. As a matter of fact, you can probably find one under the bed or in a closet. It’s not that mass shootings don’t ever happen in Canada, they do. The Eaton Centre shootings were supposedly gang related and the child that died was collateral damage. They are just rare compared to the news coming out of the States these days. I don’t know anyone who owns a gun for hobby purposes and we don’t do a lot of hunting in Vancouver. My husband and I used to work for a clothing company that also sold accessories related to law enforcement. For some strange reason, we even had a sample firearm (unloaded) gun in the office and I actually held it. Didn’t like it, didn’t see the point of it unless I intended on using it and that was that. Hubby brought it home once when he began working from home. Once I found out about it, I INSISTED he remove it from the apartment.
Canadians are always smug about our culture not being enamored of guns. Typically, we think of random shootings, in schools or elsewhere as an American phenomenom. Oddly, during this weekend- at a Christmas party, at my Buddhist meeting, during a visit with out of town friends, not one person mentioned it. I knew that people were aware of it, but the subject seemed also taboo. Perhaps it was because they were Christmas parties, having a good time and discussing the joy of chanting and dead children don’t generally mix. Certainly, I did not want to discuss any of it with my kid present. He’s only three, but he’s got ears and I didn’t want to put any of the horror in his head. Cause then I’d have to explain it. He would ask me why? How come? (He’s at that stage where everything is why, why, why.) I don’t have any answers.
In a way, it doesn’t really matter to me why a young man would shoot his mother in the face and then go to a school and kill children. Yes, of course the details, the understanding of the cause does matter, but in the end, knowing why does not seem to affect a lasting change. Having information makes people feel safe. It certainly makes me feel calmer. All is well if we can just line the facts up in order. People will talk about mental illness, gun control, the right to bear arms, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, blah, blah, blah. The adults, the children will still be dead, families will continue to grieve and suffer, and sadly, somewhere else it will occur again. The details will be different, but the effect will be the same. It’s becoming commonplace. Like a fatal car crash on a highway during bad weather. We tut-tut, shake our heads, hug our children tightly and change the subject. We don’t really talk about death in our society. The death of children, innocents, in particular. Especially when it happens in the most familiar of places, the safest of neighbourhoods. I’m not going to throw the race card in there (cause I could) because it’s not the point I’m trying to make.
I think there is a deep, deep, cause in the minds of all people, disturbed or otherwise, who believe that killing others and then killing themselves is a way to relieve or express their suffering. What are people willing to do in order to make a lasting change? I do believe dialogue is more powerful than diagnosis, but I also believe that practical actions need to be taken.