Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Dead girls and handguns

Okay. The emotions have run their course -- well, really, I've gone from boiling to a simmer -- and I read something this morning that made me look in the mirror and see my own hypocrisy. There must be a dialogue on the issues, and (as one online acquaintance put it) making political hay is not the answer.

As of this writing, five Amish girls between the ages of 6 and 12 are dead, two are out of danger and three more are listed in critical condition after surgery. A man who has left copious evidence of suicidal depression went into their one-room school with a handgun, a shotgun, a third weapon and 600 rounds of ammunition, with -- as one law enforcement official put it -- no intention of surviving his actions. His targeting of the school and the girls, by all accounts, was dispassionate and convenient. A 20-year grudge, and the death of a daughter three years ago are mentioned as motivating factors.

Those are the facts.

Banning handguns would not have been enough to prevent this and similar events. My own desire, strictly regulating both guns and users just as we do with automobiles and drivers, would not prevent all such events, but it would make them more difficult to carry out. Calling for a school violence summit to be held next week with education and law enforcement officials to discuss possible federal action to help communities prevent violence and deal with its aftermath, as spoken by Bush administration representatives on Monday, is not the answer.

The answer is difficult. It requires us to reverse a trend that from my POV has been strengthening over the last 40 years and more. In fact, the answer is so difficult that only the conscious commitment of every citizen, with the fullest pressure from the rest of society, will make it work.

Every one of us is responsible for every child around us.

Every one of us is responsible for law enforcement.

Every one of us is responsible for the actions of our elected officials.

And every one of us must take the appropriate actions to exercise those responsibilities.

Anyone who disagrees with any part of that deserves neither the status of citizen nor the rights and protections that go with that status. No voting. No use of the administrative functions of government. No access to anything but temporary aid and assistance in time of need, to end once that person is capable of leaving the country.

No more free rides. Put in what you expect to get back. No more privilege or special treatment due to accident of birth, wealth or popularity. No assumption of privilege for convenience. No more tolerance for inherent bullying behaviors.

No more standing on the sidelines, waiting for someone else to make the hard decisions, do the difficult tasks, take the difficult responsibility.

The list could go on much longer, and should be delineated clearly, because this is not some emotional desire for a band aid on an isolated situation or issue. This is the heart of what it means to be a member of a community, a citizen of a state and nation. It crosses all lines, gender, age, ethinicity, language, and religion. Dare I use those three simple words, a phrase that has been poked, prodded, spun and spat upon by generations of greed and lust?

We the People...

I agree with you. I also believe that the increasing amount of government control over our lives (social security, various taxes, etc.) along with all the laws meant to keep us from hurting ourselves (up to questioning whether they should outlaw certain foods just for being high in fat)is eroding our tendencies to think about things and react to them ourselves. When the government takes care of everything, the people feel they have to do less...

I've been talking to people in Europe, mostly Holland, and the attitude is quite different. One friend, when jobless, was unable to go on welfare because he didn't have an address to register with the State. I mentioned to another person from a different part of the same country, "Well, all he's got now is community." The instant response I got back was, "That's supposed to be the job of the state..." Interestingly enough, his main thought was how to get our friend under the umbrella of the State, while my first thought was to make and send a care package.
Perhaps another way to say this is, "It takes a Village."

I would add one thing to your list, which I think is quite good. We have to stop seeing "us and them," and start seeing "us."
Our society's fundamental values and morals are decaying at an alarming rate. This is just another sign of the downward progression.

-LLttF (From BN)
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