In the twenty-four hours since the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT took over every form of media in this country; I have been doing a good bit of thinking about it. I'm sure many others have as well. Some of my thoughts may not be particularly acceptable to those of you reading this, but I believe that whether like them or not (and I'm not taking a poll before putting this up), someone probably should speak them. Feel free to comment if you will. I will put up any that are not from anonymous trolls (feel free to create clever names for yourselves if you wish to hide your identity), but will put no restrictions on otherwise. Better still, create your own blog and give your side of it ...
Not all of these thoughts come from specifically from beliefs of my own. Some come from what I believe which are widely held nonetheless, cogently argued, and worthy of mention. As with most subjects, I am of two minds on this one; so I will separate my multiple personality disorder into the Humanist and the Cynic. Because these are 'Random Thoughts', I will list them in so specific order, but will label them according to point of view.
- H: Twenty-eight deaths is a tragedy at any time. The deaths of twenty children even more so. That these children are so young makes the entire thing all but unbearable.
- C: Murder rates in this country are down, but still horrendous. Most times such events barely rate a story in the local daily rag, or more than five minutes of news coverage in other media. Over 1.2 million abortions take place every year (2008 is the last year for truly accurate data), which equates to just over 3,300 children's lives per day that are ended. I'm not arguing for or against abortion here, just the inconsistency of outrage on such things. It's also curious that some would consider this number to be in fact an example of freedom in this county, rather than one of horror.
- H: This tragedy in Newtown has absorbed every media outlet since it occurred, and with good reason. Thanks to this coverage, we not only about the ongoing investigation and the history of perpetrator, but also of the heroism of many teachers and students alike in saving friends, co-workers, and those put in their charge. Thank goodness that we have a media that can provide such coverage.
- C: We saw a lot less coverage in the news on rockets that were being fired into Israel just a few short weeks ago; and got very little detail, no names, and no back stories about its casualties. We haven't heard much about civilians killed and wounded during US drone strikes in the Middle East, nor are there stories of local heroes attempting to do the same thing there in saving lives. Rather than gaining 24 hour coverage in fact; those whose lives were ended are all too often simply listed as 'collateral damage'.
- H: Thank goodness for the depth of news coverage of such events. It allows us to understand the implications of such a tragedy and how it brings out all of the best in human nature. It likewise allows us to more fully sympathize with the victims families, and begins the national healing process.
- C: The only thing that could be worse than experiencing a personal tragedy of this nature would be having the story drug out and paraded 24 hours a day. I can't imagine the horror of seeing what must be considered your worst nightmare, and knowing such horror would be recycled every sixty minutes (or less) for the edification of an audience who can't get enough of your personal pain as a vulture media who lives for such stories to occur in order to get better ratings and make more money.
- H: The fact that so many lives were once again ended through the use of a gun has to mean something. Isn't it time we took up the discussion of guns again in this country?
- C: Why is it that Guns seem to be the only object that engenders this feeling. No one calls for banning airplanes after a crash, trains after a derailment, gas lines after a house explosion and fire, or even cars after someone hits the gas pedal instead of the brake and runs through a parking lot, local market, or storefront; ending lives of innocents in the process. What responsibility does the media have for the huge spotlight put on perpetrators. Maybe it's as much the 15 minutes of fame provided them as it is the weapons being used that cause these 'off the rails' killers to commit their acts.
- H: One cannot help but be touched by the memorials and candle light vigils that spring up spontaneously across the nation in show of sympathy for grieving families. At a time when so many decry the uncaring nature and growing cynicism of society, these act as a shining light to say otherwise.
- C: Maybe some of the professional mourners in this country should step back from buying flowers, teddy bears, and candles for street corner monuments to people they never knew. How about taking the money you want to spend in such a way as to be seen (as you lovingly place your toy or candle), and instead donate it anonymously to a group that helps children without a homes or promotes help for those with mental illness. Maybe you need to decide whether your display of sympathy is about you or them.