grasping at illusions of security… I’m really late to this conversation.

January 26, 2013

(I began this post the week after the shooting in Newtown)

Eighth graders can be very perceptive.  Not  that they always are mind you, but they “can be.”  Or, at least the ones I teach.  We spoke this week rather candidly regarding the tragedy that occurred last week month in Newtown and I was pleasantly surprised by they way some of them are thinking through the matter.

Since we happen to have school in a…. well, school, we spoke about our own vulnerability to acts of violence.  This is a scary subject for anyone but like most fears this one seemed to dissipate somewhat by having an open and honest dialogue.  It is when our fears are brushed under the rug and we attempt to ignore them that they fester and morph into full on paranoia.

The truth is that what happened at Newtown could happen at any given school, or any other location where people gather, any given day.  So what are our options?  This is where a student showed his more perceptive side and replied, “we can choose to trust people rather than being afraid and looking at everyone as a threat.  We can’t live our life being afraid of everyone.”  Well said my young Jedi.

The act of violence that claimed the lives of 27 people in Newtown, like most national tragedies, has brought out the best and the worst in people.  While some of my friends disagree with me on this, I do think that to use this as a means to push a political agenda, whether for or against gun control, is to add abuse to the ones who are already suffering unimaginable grief.  To politicize their pain in order to manipulate the emotions of the electorate is unconscionable .

Of course this applies to the Christian divas of the world who care more that they have a relevant answer of certainty to this act of evil than they do for the people suffering.  After all, we have to have someone to blame.  Right?  If we don’t have someone to blame this tragedy on then we might actually get uncomfortable with the real laments and grief of real people.  God forbid that our hands and hearts should have to feel such weighty things!

We want easy answers.  There aren’t any.  We want security.  There isn’t any.  At least not the kind of answers and security we’re looking for.  One thing that came from our discussions was ‘what can we do now?’  What happened in Newtown could happen in any town.  There is a story about a baby born in a cold, smelly barn and this baby was born to peasants in an unimaginably hostile time.  To reflect on that story and all of its implications for this life is to grasp the only secure hope we have for a more peaceful future.  8th graders get it.  I don’t know why politicians cant.


3 Responses to “grasping at illusions of security… I’m really late to this conversation.”

  1. lwk2431 Says:

    You wrote:

    ” I do think that to use this as a means to push a political agenda, whether for or against gun control, is to add abuse to the ones who are already suffering unimaginable grief.”

    If you were watching closely in the days following the events at Newtown, the gun banners and the mainstream media went immediately into ballistic hysteria and immediately turned it into a political issue.

    How long did the NRA with before it issued a statement? Quite a while. They gave people a little time to grieve before even attempting to defend themselves. In the meantime some media people even suggested murdering Wayne LaPierre (one of the main spokespersons for the NRA).

    And you wrote:

    “To politicize their pain in order to manipulate the emotions of the electorate is unconscionable.”

    I commented on the hypocrisy of some here:

    Never Let A Dead Kid Go To Waste

    Rahm Emanuel has to be one of the more despicable politicians I know of.

    My wife is a teacher in a public school. Her kids are the youngest, and most have some sort of learning disability. We have seriously discussed her getting a Concealed Carry Permit if her district in Texas eventually allows teachers and staff to carry voluntarily. I support her in that. Her principal said she feels safer when she knows there are armed people in the school (at this point parents who are also police officers and do legally carry concealed weapons). I am sure the principal would approve if the higher-ups allowed it.

    People say “guns are designed only to kill.” That is not true. More specifically it is not true at all levels. Yes, at the basic and engineering level guns are designed to be able to kill. But at a higher level they are designed to save life.

    According to Dr. Gary Kleck there are as many as several million self defense uses of firearms in the U.S. every year. But the number of dead criminals do not reflect that. That is because in the vast majority of cases the would be victim has a gun, and the criminal discovering that flees. The gun saves at least two lives, the victim and the criminal.

    You should read “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Most adult human beings cannot kill even to save their own life. There is something in them that won’t let them do it. At least that used to be the case before the military learned training techniques to short circuit that built in safeguard. That should give you some hope for humanity. 🙂


    Who Needs An Assault Rifle?

  2. “Security” is indeed an illusion. Great pos!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: