On school shootings and the like

What happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday is pretty much the worst possible nightmare you could ever imagine.

It’s almost inconceivable. Prior to last week, when one enters a deep of moment of paranoia and tries to imagine the most violent act that mankind can commit, a school shooting of an elementary school still wouldn’t even be imaginable.

I’m not going to lie. When a personal or nationwide tragedy like this occurs, I try to ignore it. It’s kind of my own defense mechanism. I don’t talk about it, and if someone else mentions it to me, I change the subject. Does it make me a detached, heartless jerk? Maybe. But it’s just the way I cope with things sometimes.

That being said, I couldn’t ignore this. It’s impossible. I had to read articles, watch news coverage, etc. I even did the unthinkable and searched to find a website that had compiled images of all of the kids who were killed. Why? Because that’s the only way that I can acknowledge their existence. The only way I can tell myself that they were here, and they lived.

When something like this happens, everyone wants to know about the killer. They want to know what he looked like, what kind of person he was, what his friends and peers thought of him. Well, fuck him. I don’t even want to hear his name. So that’s why I chose to look at images of the kids instead. However, after looking at about three or four of them, I had to stop. I just couldn’t take it.

It made me think about my days back in first grade. I didn’t know much about the world then. I was still trying to figure it out. My parents still dressed me, and the most exciting part of the day was when the milk cart came around into our classroom. I was as youthful and innocent as can be, and to imagine any type of automatic weapon being involved in that setting is unfathomable. It just doesn’t make sense.

Now it’s been three days since it happened, and you’ve heard all of your Facebook friends advocate for gun control by now.

Honestly, should there be gun control? Probably. I’m not going to look them up, but I know that statistics show that countries that have greater control have less shootings. But at the same time it irks me that people were so quick to preach gun control laws in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Within minutes of the news, people were already calling for it.

How about preaching human decency? Responsibility? Setting the right example?

That’s what it’s really about. We, as people, as friends, as parents, need to teach people to accept the responsibilities of their actions. They need to know that the things they do have an effect on not only themselves, but the people around them. I know it’s a simple concept, but not everyone gets that. The Newtown shooter seriously didn’t get that.

Creating a gun control law isn’t going to change anything. At least not in our lifetime.

I usually don’t get too philosophical on Facebook, but amid all of the turmoil, I had to say something, and since I would pretty much just emphasize the same exact thing — I might as well just copy and paste it.

it’s not really just about gun control. It’s a philosophy — guns are too embedded in our culture already for one law to suddenly change everything. As kids we’re raised to believe that guns, whether right or wrong, are a big part of our world. We played cops and robbers, duck hunt, super soakers, we watch movies and play video games involving guns and it’s second nature. No law is going to change that perception. As it’s always been and always will be, it’s about not being terrible parents and friends and teaching your kids and peers about responsibility and proper behavior, and setting the right example. Instead of trying to enact governmental change through facebook maybe we should ask what small part we can do to never let something like this happen.

It’s amazing, when you think about it, how prevalent guns are in our world. I’m certainly not saying that Grand Theft Auto caused this school shooting, but it’s just something to think about. I know I will.

Also, it both amazed me and sickened me how some people reacted on Twitter last night when NBC interrupted Sunday Night Football to air Barack Obama’s speech.

The sad part about Twitter it exposes you to everybody. Not just celebrities, but everybody else in the world. So the people on Twitter who aren’t celebrities, and are just regular folk like you and I, can really post anything they want without facing any consequences. People will say things on Twitter they would never say in real life, because they do it behind the safety of a computer screen.

Well, the morons (and that may even be a compliment) were out in full effect last night, and Deadspin made sure to highlight these bigoted degenerates.

It’s truly disgraceful, and made me lose a lot of faith in humanity. The worst part is that I clicked on some of the accounts, and the majority of the people weren’t even apologetic. They just continued to be racist.

I am delighted, however, to see now that Twitter has suspended every single one of the accounts that was in the Deadspin article. It was absolutely the right move by Twitter, so good job by them.

Obama’s speech was a significant moment in history. When something bad happens, it’s customary for our president — our commander-in-chief, our leader — to speak and to comfort. That’s how it works, and every American needed to know that Obama was speaking. I applaud NBC for cutting the feed of Sunday Night Football. Some things are just more important.

But there are also stories that make you feel a little better about things. Like New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who personally called one of the victim’s parents after he learned that their son was a huge fan of his. I may be a Jets fan, but from here on out, I am a lifelong Victor Cruz fan.

The coverage is really only just beginning. For days, weeks and months, we are going to hear stories about what happened. We will learn more about that fateful day, we will hear political squabbles regarding gun control, and we will hear more personal tales of the victims and their families.

But what am I going to do? I’m not going to post anymore on Facebook about it. I’m not going to engage in political conversations. Instead, I’m just going to take a few minutes to think of those little kids whose lives were cut tragically short, and their families who lost their loved ones.

That’s how I’ll remember.

2 thoughts on “On school shootings and the like

  1. We live about an hour from there, and while at work a customer came in and she asked if we heard about the shooting. Automatically I thought “Another mall shooting” “Somewhere else”. And when I learned it was right in my own state, I was shocked. “These things” “Don’t happen” in your own state, you know? It never occurs to you. I’d be just as devastated if this happened “somewhere else”, but to have it here just makes it that much worse. It’s the worst possible thing.

  2. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have it happen so close to you. 9/11 was one thing, because that was an attack on our country… but this shooting was just a random act in a town that by all means was a quiet suburban area. Kind of changes the way you look at things, I imagine.

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