Originally posted on December 21, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I don’t usually cry out loud, but Friday after endless cycles of the gruesome news from Connecticut I broke. I was fixing pizza in the kitchen and I suddenly began to sob, saying “Poor Babies!” I wrote a poem that was so sad I couldn’t read it aloud. If listening over and over to this terribly plaintive news would bring back even one of these little ones I would do so but after a while it’s pretty clear who the shooter was and that he brought a semi automatic rifle and two semiautomatic pistols with him. Once the numbers of dead and wounded stabilized there wasn’t much more to learn. I derived some comfort from the religious services which were broadcast but feel an angry pang each time I hear the story of this mass murder reported as if it’s a new story and we don’t all have the history so far.
There’s nothing much I can say about the event itself that hasn’t been said multiple times and perhaps better than I would have said them but not for the first time I’ve been thinking about not the 2nd amendment but the 1st. While as a gun owner and a proponent of reasonable gun rights myself, I’m not sure at all that I see any reason for any civilian person to own assault rifles, rifles which can fire as fast as one can pull the trigger and fire 30 or more times before being reloaded (itself a matter of a couple seconds) to keep firing. The revolvers I own can fire just as fast, six or nine times depending on the weapon but once that burst of mayhem is over there must elapse some time before I can do it again.
High volume of fire is strictly for attacking large groups of personnel or in some cases, interdicting territory through which you want nothing to pass alive. Neither of these are hunting or civilian or home defense functions. Okay I’ve said these things and may well offend some people but I think a lot of us are missing something pretty important.
While I don’t think assault weapons are necessarily a good idea in the hands of excitable folks I am not at all sure that their absence would prevent episodes such as the one which took place on the 14th in Connecticut. What is it that makes a young man, (yes, usually young and so far, pretty much always male) stoop to such a heinous not to mention cowardly act as to slaughter twenty tots basically, children who are hardly more than babies? Doubtless some internalized disgruntlement must be a factor because consequences will be significant and it’s probably not a lightly arrived upon course of action. Whatever the motivation though, I suspect the reason for committing the act has little to do with the identities of the victims. These acts are cries, shrieks! Of self pity and hatred at the world in general. The reason it is a cry that virtually the entire world can hear is that it is so well covered, over and over againwe hear factoids already burned into our memories and the name of the perpetrator is for a few days at least, one of the most famous in existence even if the killer no longer exists.
When anyone murder a classroom full, a church full, a theatre full or rain devastation on a shopping mall if this name was to be consigned to the ignominy it so richly deserves?
I recall the Marathon race of the ’72 Olympics when a young man appeared to be the winner of the race and eagerly charged the microphones and cameras to have his moment before the world. Just in time it was found that he hadn’t run the race at all, had merely taken a lap around the bleechers and was now poised to deliver some political manifesto. The anchor man said “Take the microphone away from him. Get those cameras off him. Don’t let him have any publicity for his views” or something very much like that. I don’t know what the kid wants. I doubt many people anywhere know.
If cowardisly vicious felons could be Unnamed so they were never spoken of outside their family’s home, no minute by minute coverage of his deeds, no few days of infamy, would we see so many potentially useful though now entirely useless individuals taking this route to newsworthiness? Of course we can’t challenge the Media’s right to report, over report and rereport, can we?