Will writing help with the sadness?

I grew up in Connecticut. It was in a town just like Newtown. It was safe and it was quiet.

I am a father and a grandfather. My life is surrounded with children.

This weekend has been tough. You try to read or write something, but the mind wanders. Then you feel sadness. The more you think about the specifics, the sadder it gets. Your heart aches.

Our nation feels it. I recently read the words ‘collective grief.’ That about sums it up. And this too: we are collectively sorry for those poor souls.

Now I might make you mad. But it needs to be said, now more than ever.

On Guns:

My mom had only two unbreakable rules for us four kids: No guns and no motorcycles.

Guns scare me. I don’t like seeing them or being near them.

I only shot a gun once. It was during my short stint in the Boy Scouts. (I didn’t make it long in the Scouts.) I also learned to shoot a bow, but after killing a squirrel once, I felt awful, and stopped that too. Though I personally don’t like hunting, I understand its draw. Okay, many use guns to hunt.

But handguns and assault rifles? It seems senseless, farcical even, that weapons of human destruction can be acquired so easily. What are we thinking? I’m all for freedom, and understand well the Bill of Rights, but come on? Surely we can be true to our founding fathers and still maintain common sense. This must change.

On Mental Health:

It’s not fair, nor right, that those with disorders of the brain are shunned. We should fund and study mental health disorders with the same vigor that we do breast cancer and heart disease. Surely we can all agree on this. How well we care for the poor–who so often are afflicted with mental illness–says a lot about our nation’s soul.

On Society:

The word that comes to mind is ‘amplified’. Everything is so amplified. At work, the rules and regulations are amplified. Always more rules—more signs, more emails, more meetings, more lights and more alarms. More.

Then there is our constant connectedness. This too amplifies. Social media amplifies. So does cable news around the clock. Living so close together in urban centers amplifies. The noise is deafening—in the car, on the roads, in the train or airplane, in the grocery and even at home. No peace. Everywhere there is distraction and noise. These are the facts. Though the young would have trouble imagining life without smartphones and Apple products, us olders can vouch that it was equally happy. Life is just so dang amplified. Always full gas. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

No, I don’t think society is more violent now; in fact, it’s probably less so. And I don’t blame technology for this spate of madness.

As a contributing factor though, how we humans have come to live is hard to ignore.

I wonder about the mental effects of all this amplified noise.

JMM

27 comments

    1. What would keep them from stealing one and doing the same thing?
      The answer is a strong defence do away with NO GUN AREAS!!

  1. Why don’t we just take away all the weapons the military has, so no one gets killed!
    You say that sounds kinda stupid? So is haveing no gun zones!!! If only a dozen or so of the adults in that school would have had a gun the death count would have been a LOT LESS!!

    1. Evidence, Andy? Is there any evidence, aside from so-called “common sense” and other brands of speculating, that gun-brandishing teachers would have presented anything but targets to the shooter? Or should we assume that these in-place SWAT teams will have been trained to handily take down a deranged aggressor possessing superior firepower and nothing to live for? And without producing additional casualties?

      Maybe it’s a deterrence factor you’re thinking of. The kind of deterrence that causes a suicidal psychopath to reconsider his suicide mission, because of the possibility that he might be killed.

      1. Yes to both! I don’t care of it is only a deterrence that means in this case 28 people would be at home tonight!
        The News media will not cover the good things that happen when a teacher has a hand gun. Two years a Christian School Teacher had a gun in her purse when a deranged person came into the school shooting a couple of times but killing no one before this ONE TEACHER pulled her gun out of her purse and killed him! But you didn’t hear about it on MSN, NBC, or any of the other NWO controlled, so called news media! A few years back a 14 year old friend of my son was at home with his parents when a murderer broke into the house and was going to kill his father and mother but the young boy heard what was going on from his room went to his fathers room got one of his fathers guns and killed the intruder before he did a lot injuries to his father. Shure glad the parents wern’t stupid enough to put child locks on there guns. If you teach your children to shoot guns and teach then they are always loaded (not tell them to handle them LIKE THEY WERE Loaded) they will respect them. I have had loaded guns in my home ever sinse my oldest son was born, he is now 50 and my grandchildren have more loaded guns then I ever had, they have more respect for them then most hunters and (Know How to Use Them) I would not want to be an intruder breaking into my son’s home, he might get 5 foot from the door, before he went to meet his maker!

        1. How many kids would have been shot accidentally while the adults trying to protect them were firing off errant rounds. Less guns, not more is the answer. Not the silver bullet (pardon the pun) but certainly a step in the right direction.

  2. Fairness left the world when brokeness entered. Legislating guns won’t stop evil from happening. My daughter-in-law still grieves her friend who was strangled to death along with her children by an angry lover. I agree that better mental healthcare may go a long way but brokeness is brokeness. You can’t force hypertensives to take beta-blockers and diuretics and you can’t force schizophrenics to take antipsychotics. Tears and prayers for all who are affected by this evil, even the helpers.

  3. Thank you for the post John, though I do believe this is a more violent time than when we grew up. I’m not sure of “the” answer, but a little more “regulating of our militia” seems to be a start.

  4. Dr. John – You had a smart mother who made excellent rules.

    I realize the “debate” about Gun Laws won’t be settled here (just like “debates” between whether Democrats or Republicans are “right” are virtually impossible to settle). But I find it hard to think of ANY possible reason to justify why regular citizens should have access to assault weapons. That is not their “personal right”. Step 1 to my mind is simple – it is the absolute outlawing (and enforcing) of a NO Assault Weapon Law. That should be a no-brainer (without which this scene of multiple mass killings of innocents will just keep happening on and on as it has increasingly done).

    Step 2 = What to do after outlawing assault weapons – is topic for another day (that in my opinion should be immediately explored and acted on right after accomplishment of Step 1.

    1. Why don’t you go with me to Chicago, Ill where all guns are outlawed! I will take you to almost any area in Chicago and let you walk on the street at night by yourself see how safe you feel!!!

      1. I was born in NYC.

        I am fully aware of the arguments on both sides for hand guns. My comment said the “no brainer” ought to be to outlaw assault weapons which is very different than the hand guns you refer to in your comment above.

  5. Ours was an easier time. We walked & biked everywhere, took swimming lessons in the freezing cold park pool and didn’t worry so much about stranger danger because of all the eyes on us (in a good way). Thank you John 🙂

  6. Actually kids/adults are safer today than they were years ago. It is only perceived to be more dangerous today because of the constant and easily obtained data at everyone’s fingertips.

  7. The real issues run way deeper than the feel good politics of gun control. There is no way to legislate away the Ted Bundies, Timothy Mcveys or the Michael McLendon’s of the world out of existence.

    1. @Rich – I agree completely with your comment. The problem is deep-rooted and multifaceted with no easy fix. Along the way – outlawing citzen use of assault weapons (as had previously been done until the law expired in 2004) would at the least reduce the chance of such carnage at these mass murdering sprees. It should be an easy 1st step. There is in my mind NO justification for citizens having access to assault weapons … What to do about hand gun control is another (totally different) issue.

      1. So long assault weapons are available on the world stage those that want them will have them. And those having them will either be military or criminal in nature.
        87 out of 100 people own guns, factor in illegal ownership, I bet the numbers go higher.. With that many guns out there you would think that there would be a much higher rate of issues such as we have seen this past week, but we don’t.
        I personally have no problem with having a stricter process to gun ownership with longer waiting periods and better background checks. I waited over a month to acquire a gun carry permit in my state.
        So far as assault weapons go, a majority of them are no more than regular firearms with synthetic (black) stocks and in some cases a larger magazine capacity. Many hunters throughout the country use these guns solely for that purpose. So instead of having a clip that holds 50 rounds you have 10 clips that hold 5 rounds.

  8. John’s memory of his Mom’s ban is correct. We were uncomfortable with guns, but respected the rights of others to own them. I seldom respond to John’s blogs because the words between a father and son for the most part should be private.

    The tragedy in CT is beyond words as we try to come to grips with it, but it is important to begin a discussion to end these senseless acts. I am a proud father that John’s life work both public and private is always about making life better for all who come to know him.

    I have read all the comments and am hopeful that as we debate ways to end these tragedies we will this time find the answer. As the president has said this must end. I don’t believe that the argument for and against more gun laws alone will provide the answer. We must rise above our own personal beliefs if we hope to find a solution. All of the shooters in recent memory have been mentally ill with one or more mental disorders. I don’t believe that even the most stringent gun laws will be able to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and even if we succeed in getting stronger gun laws we must think and act beyond that. We must find a way of protecting the innocent from the criminally insane and we must do it in a more humane way then it was done in the mid-twentieth century during my time.

    John is right that those with brain disorders should not be shunned, but there must be a way that will protect the innocent and those who suffer mental illness from hurting others and themselves. The debate about mental illness is an important one and may be the key to ending these tragedies. If we can only get beyond the argument that it is or not just guns then maybe we can end this as the President has said.

    1. @Bill Mandrola – THANK YOU very much for writing. Your comments mean a lot. I think there is growing consensus that this issue is about much more than just guns and gun laws. I personally think ban again assault weapon ownership by private citizens is an important first step to begin with – but that obviously will not solve the entire problem which is multifaceted. I agree that the President’s message was powerful – and hopefully will encourage coming together for the good of the country rather than sticking to polarizing arguments about rights to own (or not own) hand guns.

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