Warning this post may annoy you if you don’t actually read it and just jump to conclusions.

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary there has been a lot of reactions from people. Fortunately, pretty much everyone agrees its a terrible, terrible tragedy. That’s where consensus seems to vanish though.

There are many people who say, “Don’t politicize this tragedy, just mourn.”  What they think they are saying is don’t use this tragedy to advance your personal agenda. That’s a worthwhile sentiment. But the trouble with that statement is that everything is political. To not politicize this issue would involve not taking a stance on anything. And that would mean doing nothing to try and prevent it from happening again.

But when a bunch of kids are killed, if your genuine opinion is to do nothing, well, screw you. Doing nothing is not an option. That’s text book insanity; doing the same thing and expecting a different result (ie no more massacres).

There seem to be  a lot of people on the opposite end of that spectrum, placing the blame squarely on one issue. People blame the media. They blame the separation of church and state. They blame guns. They blame poor mental healthcare. But none of those things exist in isolation.

Preventing tragedies such as this requires looking at the whole picture. I don’t claim to know what the solution is. But I do know you can’t focus solely on one issue. Nor can you declare an issue off limits.

Sadly, in my personal experience, this is something done exclusively by gun enthusiasts. In the wake of this tragedy, involving a bunch of children being shot by a gun, my Facebook feed had several posts along the lines of “Don’t blame guns.”

Now, I’m never really been anti-gun. I will never own one and I don’t understand the obsession people have for them, but I’ve never really cared that much. In some ways, guns are like marijuana and alcohol. If you use them stupidly you can kill. They aren’t for me but if you use them safely and responsibly, have fun.

But I also recognize that unlike alcohol and marijuana, the actual purpose of a gun is to kill.  And to make killing easy. If a person wants, there is no end to the ways they can go about killing another person. But for pure ease of use there aren’t many things that will do the job better than a gun.

Saying guns aren’t to blame is just as stupid as saying guns are solely to blame.  We need to look at the whole picture and consider every factor that went into allowing this tragedy to occur. We need to reevaluate the state of mental healthcare. We need to consider why the media sensationalizes these tragedies and what it means that people soak up the coverage. And yes, that means we have to consider the fact that a gun was used and maybe they shouldn’t be so easy to get.


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One Response to Blame

  1. *applauds*

    Yes, thank you. I’ve been refraining from talking about Sandy Hook, mainly because I just don’t have any energy to devote to it. But what I’ve seen on the internet has really irritated me. Especially the BS out there that was trying to blame Asperger’s for the shooting. Let me tell you, as an Aspie? That was awesome to read. /sarcasm

    You take a really level approach, and I’m in complete agreement that we need to look at the whole picture. It’s not just one thing; it never has been. It’s always a collection of factors that lead to tragedies like this. Unfortunately, people get polarized and ignore those factors.

    I’d really like to see a frank and honest discussion about mental health care, for example, and how we treat people with mental illness socially, in the wake of all this. I think that having that discussion and looking at the ways that our very poor treatment, medically and socially, of people with mental illness contributes to things like Sandy Hook could possibly help us navigate a few steps closer to a world without school shootings.

    But instead, we get scientific studies on the violence in video games. When the violent video games = violent behavior model has already been disproven.

    *rips hair out*