I wondered how someone could be so evil and disturbed to the point that he could stand in front of innocent children just like my little girl and open fire as he looked into their petrified and tearful faces. Each day since Friday, I have read articles about the massacre, watched news coverage of the horrific events and shed a lot of tears for the loss of lives.
I have also read about the heightened school security measures that lawmakers are discussing, the insistence on increased gun control and bans on assault-style weapons, and the occasional article about providing help to the mentally ill, the latter not being as hot a topic, ironically enough.
Years ago, we just didn’t experience this kind of tragedy. It was a different time. In general, there was more structure, both in the family unit and in society as a whole. There was discipline and there were most certainly consequences to pay for wrongdoings. In schools, there REALLY was zero tolerance for bad behavior, regardless of circumstance.
Of course, external influences were much more innocuous than they are today as well, not that I believe these are sole contributors to crazed behavior. But overall, our moral fabric has unraveled considerably over the years and that most certainly is a factor.
In the past, our society was much stricter and more conservative. People had guns, there was not a need for armed guards and police officers at schools, and there were people who were treated for mental issues. But there were no shooting rampages. There was crime, yes, but not frequent mass tragedies, as we have seen increasingly over the past several years.
Over time, our culture has decayed and society has taken on much more of a liberal spin. You can’t say that; it is politically incorrect. You can’t do that, it may offend someone. We have become a society that placates and ignores and defers. As a result, we don’t deal with the tough situations because it is going to ruffle feathers and it may result in confrontations that require firm and swift decisions that we just don’t want to make. People have grown accustomed to turning the other cheek. It is easier and requires less work than actually directly dealing with the issues at hand.
I have a close friend who works at a nearby high school. She has students in her class that are “classified,” meaning that they have recognized behavioral issues. She is instructed not to interact with them at all. They basically co-exist with the other students and do not get disciplined in the same way. In fact, they don’t get disciplined at all. Educators are told not to interact with them, and sometimes, they are instructed not even to make eye contact. If the students become disturbances in the classroom, they will more than likely get escorted out of the class and given a D for the term, because the administration does not want to deal with them. They will be pushed through the system because nobody wants to address their bigger, more challenging issues.
What happens when these students get out into the real world, without the help they need to assimilate into society? Is there a risk that a number of these kids may become Adam Lanza? Aren’t we doing them a greater disservice by turning them out into the world when what they really need is our help? Or is the focus just on keeping a high graduation statistic for the school district, so that towns can continue to justify exorbitant taxes and entice people to buy homes in the area?
Tighter gun control is not going to prevent these tragedies from occurring again in the future. People who intend to do harm will find another way of imposing terror on innocent lives. That is the larger concern here and one which requires our acknowledgement….much more so than laws banning assault rifles.