What to Do in the Wake of Sandy Hook? Nothing.



Tragedy. We look for meaning, we search for answers. We try to make sense of grief. When Sandy Hook’s tragic events unfolded we were shocked. The normal was so shattered that no amount of reflection could answer the overwhelming questions created by our dull grief and hollow sorrow. We felt ineffable things that thwarted our best attempts at explanation and keep tormenting us as we struggled to find meaning, answers, and solutions.

However, the simple truth is that there are no solutions and there is no answer. Horrible things happen. They defy explanation, they are not imbued with meaning, and they cannot be solved.

A crazy and determined person, with no regard for their own safety will always be able to figure out how to kill people. Looking for an ‘answer’ is part of the problem. Looking for a public policy solution will prove disastrous. The answer will not lie in disarming the public, nor will it be found in arming teachers.

The simple truth is that there is no answer.

I’ll spare you the history of school shootings and mass killings, but if it’s shown anything, it’s that there are crazy people, who, when they disregard their own lives, are able to carry out horrors that average people could not conceive.

The simple truth is that there is no answer.

I’ve heard it said that the answer lies in disarming the public. To disarm a law abiding public over the actions of what a fraction approaching 0% of the population does is just plain wrong. To rethink the wisdom of the 2nd Amendment based on the actions of effectively 0% of the population is an overreaction. Mass killings and school killings are not new – they’ve occurred for a long time, and the determined lunatic, bent on destroying others and themselves, has chosen as his/her method many implements. They’ve done it with guns, with bombs, with fire, and with knives.

The simple truth is that there is no answer.

I’ve heard friends say that we need more guns in schools; that teachers and administrators need be armed. This, however, will not stop anyone committed and willing to die. It may lower the amount of deaths but it will not stop horrific acts from occurring. I support the 2nd Amendment but I just don’t like the optics or overreaction in the idea of armed guards at schools. I don’t want child-play to be shepherded by people with firearms. I remember going through Heathrow my first time and seeing the soldiers with machine guns. It didn’t make me feel safer; it made me feel like I was in a dangerous place. I don’t want this to be my children’s childhood. My friends have posted pictures of men with guns protecting the school of the president’s daughters, implying a hypocrisy. There is no hypocrisy. The president’s daughters are actually under threat by foreign enemies; your children are not. Remember, this kind of thing happens at a rate closer to 0% than 1%.

The simple truth is that there is no answer.

Violence has been a staple in our stories, songs, and myths since we’ve had them. The works of Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Homer, to name but a few, are filled with violence. Our Holy Books, the foundations of our faiths, are filled with tales so graphic that they would not pass television censorship standards. Songs of war and violence are as common as those of love’s pining and desire. Can we really act incredulous when our television, movies, video games, and new media express the same? Most children hear of heroes and villains, death and love, suffering and redemption, and are better for it. For all sane people, these narratives serve as entertainment as well as inspiration and admonition to reflect upon themselves. For the smallest minority, a minority approaching 0%, they seem to act as a spark to externalize internal madness. Do we really think that attempting to curtail art is the answer?

The simple truth is that there is no answer.

In our pain, in our grief, in our ineffable sorrow, let us not cede ourselves. The fact that we’re looking for any government solution to this is really what I find disconcerting. Left and right might disagree about what government should do, but both agree that it “should do something,” and therein lies the problem. Let me state this once again: this is the kind of thing that happens so rarely that it approaches an effective rate of 0%. A child is more likely to die in a bathtub than in a mass murder, more likely to die in a car accident or perish of cancer than die in a school shooting. The calls for big government solutions to tragedies like Newtown show that we’ve replaced true introspection with a knee jerk desire to have someone else fix the problem in our name.

3 Responses to “What to Do in the Wake of Sandy Hook? Nothing.”
  1. Kender Breitbart MacGowan says:

    The problem is the idea that government must do something….all government need do is get out of our way.

  2. Lea Routledge says:

    …the ‘simple truth’ is that there IS an answer. In fact, though perhaps not ‘simple’, there may be many of them: sickness, rage, desperation, fear… there just may not be a ‘simple’ solution. With regard to the Sandy Hook tragedy, the assassin…, almost a boy himself… killed his mother first. FIRST. And as was discovered later, this woman was very close-mouthed about her ‘private’ ‘family’ life. Why? What happened in that house…in his life …behind those closed doors that was so horrible that her ‘private life’ was ‘off limits’ even to her friends and caused her disturbed child to kill her FIRST. And when he continued on to kill babies…was he actually trying to protect them from his fate? We’ll never know with certainty because they’re both dead but one thing IS certain; healthy people DON’T torture; only the tortured torture. There, at least in part, is an ‘answer’. The solution? Complicated and beyond the control of the whole so for intent and purpose, there may be none. Even if one can SEE the solution but can’t implement it, it might as well not be. But one thing is certain; throwing more guns and more government at the situation, while not necessarily part of the problem is definitely part of the solution.

  3. Lea Routledge says:

    NOT part of the solution

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