It has been more than a month and a half since 20 children and six adults were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. For most people, the horror, the senseless massacre of innocents and the violence that shattered a community also shattered their own sense of innocence and security.
On that day, Lenny Pozner - a man who is like a brother to me - lost his son, Noah. On that day a twin sister, Arielle lost her best friend. On that day an older sister, Sophia lost her little brother.
While my proximity to the heartbreak caused me to remain silent on the gun debate that ensued immediately thereafter, many people chose to weigh in; some of them because of a genuine need to feel like they were “doing something” to help. Sadly, grotesquely others were/are prostituting the dead for their own personal and political gain.
Now that enough time and distance has passed where I can be more objective about the event and speak to the gun issue without the face of a 6-year-old little boy consuming my thoughts, I feel compelled to weigh in.
Let me say at the onset I am a gun owner. I believe in the Constitution, I believe in the Bill of Rights, I believe in black-letter law, I believe that protecting those rights and enforcing those laws is the priority of government — second only to government abiding by them first, and I believe in my right to protect my family, my property and myself.
The gun debate is bookended by the slaughter of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, and the slaughter of tens of thousands in Syria and elsewhere.
In the former, generations of self-interest over community, inadequate access to mental health, NIMBY isolationism by the individual and the community, lax — if any — oversight of those identified as mentally ill, and a lack of personal responsibility or accountability that has permeated our culture gives birth to the Adam Lanzas of this world.
In the latter, oppressive regimes deny access to guns and weapons, and any reasonable means of self-defense. They are able to enslave and slaughter their people at will, without opposition. We stand in horror, condemning from the sidelines — an extension of the NIMBY mentality — no longer regarded as keeper of the peace, protector of the oppressed or the voice of those cowering in the shadows out of fear.
Let us recall what gave birth to the 2nd Amendment; the fight for independence, where our founding fathers understood that what kept the powerful in check was not merely a right to vote but a right to support that vote by force should those in power fail to relinquish it against the will of the people.
Let us also consider what strict gun laws give us today. 532 dead in Chicago—– a city with one of the strictest guns laws in the country. 416 dead in New York City — it too considered one of the strictest gun law cities in the country.
This is a cultural, social debate; a debate about who we are as a people. The failings of society, the self-interest of its people individually, the celebration of ego over charity, the arrogance, ignorance and prominence of “I” in our culture is to blame for Newtown, for Chicago, for New York City, for.... Blaming an inanimate object for our failings is absurd in the extreme; a distraction to avoid the hard truth.
That is where the gun debate begins and ends — when society takes responsibility for themselves, each other, and the consequences they bring upon themselves by self-interest over community then, and only then can we make progress. There is a straight-line correlation between the rise of Generation Me and the senseless massacre of our neighbors.
If you feel compelled to blame an inanimate object for Newtown, blame the mirror. Therein lies its cause.