The carnage in a small New England town on Friday has been occupying most everyone's thoughts for the past 48 hours. The blogosphere and social media sites are overflowing with expressions of shock, grief, indignation and doubt that we can ever feel safe again. It is good for the nation as a whole to talk through the grieving process openly, just as it is demanded by rationale people that the personal pain of the victims' families not be exploited by self-aggrandizing journalists and media wannabes.
Sadly, the grandstanding political players have already lined up on their expected battle lines: gun control zealots versus 2nd Amendment absolutists. This column is not a place for that battle to be perpetuated. My personal opinions on the issue of gun control and the right to bear arms are just that -- personal. Rather than fanning the flames of irrational hate-mongers, I'd like to see us start a dialogue on how our society must take stock of itself if we hope to begin to turn the tide of neverending violence that has become as much a way of American life as baseball and apple pie.
We live in a nation of enormous contradictions shrouded by unwarranted perceptions. We may yet be the strongest country on the planet, but we can't protect the lives of our own children. We may still maintain our leadership role in the global economy, but we tolerate the self-serving small minds and timid souls of our political leaders who play games of chicken with the collective wealth of the nation. We pound our chest about the inhuman treatment of animals when we, ourselves, behave like the very beasts we claim to want to save. Contradictions.
There will be endless debate and name calling about what should be done (or what should have been done) to prevent the malevolance visited on those families in a small New England town last week. It will be painful to watch or listen to. The incessant drumbeats coming from all of the numerous stakeholders will become so deafening that we'll want to escape the noise by crawling back into our imaginary protective shells. Don't do it.
Now is the time for us to look in the mirror and decide if we like the morals of what's staring back at us. Now is the time for us to evaluate our obsession with making violence in film, tv and video games as real as possible. Now is the time for us to consider the impacts of the unfettered secularism we teach our children. Now is the time for us to examine our true motives and our sense of right and wrong. Now is the time.
The tender, innocent victims of Adam Lanza's psychotic break call out to us, expecting us to grab this opportunity to seek a cure for our decline as a civilization. Will we answer their cries with silence or instead be accountable for the dangerous mess we've made? Will we put on our robes of righteous indignation designed by those who claim to be our leaders, or will we go the way of introspection that could lead us back to the path of the moral high ground?
The clock is ticking toward the next unspeakably horrible encounter with evil in all it's forms. The choice is ours and no one elses.