This is as much as I can say about Newtown: there are so many children killed in gun violence in this country, many more as innocent bystanders than as actual targets. Turning schools into contested territory with gun toting teachers and security guards won't stop a determined man with semi-automatic. That's been proven over and over. We have to ask ourselves whether we want to be in a civil war, with an ever escalating arms race between ourselves and the people we fear. We've had arms races before, all we end up doing is arming more people who want to kill us in new ways. The alternative is to rethink the way we treat people, from Adam Lanza and Cho Seung-Hui to William Spengler. They all have different ranges of behavior, symptoms, problems. And none of them were born intent on killing. Somewhere between then, and when they pulled the trigger, was an opportunity--maybe many--and we still don't know what that was, or what to do with it.
Someday, the parents of those children may be able to celebrate the holidays again, but it will always hurt. They'll dread the turn of the seasons that their children miss. The stages of life that other children experience will always come with a silent reminder that their lost children will never know any of it. All the beautiful plans in mother and daddy's heads when those kids were born are torments now. As much as we want to support the families of Newtown, in the long run, nothing helps. Nothing will bring those children back. If anything worked, I'd have found it by now. The only thing, the right thing to do is work together, as a civilization, to solve the riddle of the killer instinct. We are only human, but we are human. We have come to terms again and again with the problems of our kind as we've evolved. Every choice we make as a culture brings us closer or further from answers that will give meaning to the tragedy of Newtown, and Detroit, and Newark, and South Central, and everywhere that children are dying for no reason whatsoever except that we haven't earned the right to do better. We're all complicit in this. And we're all paying in our hearts for this. And we'll keep paying and paying until we figure it out.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Jesse and I had back pain in common. The book he was given by his chiropractor (Treat Your Own Back) is the same one I'm using now. He got his from a badly performed bone marrow biopsy, we think. Mine is from a group of herniated disks pressing on various nerves. I know it was frustrating for him to be in pain so often at such a young age, he'd always been athletic and it took a toll on him. It doesn't make me feel any better to remind myself, of course. It makes me miss him even more, on top of this. I don't know what his life would be like now, for good or bad. He was very much the pilot of his own ship. It's just easier to imagine him somehow still going forward, somewhere, than to think otherwise. I don't care for any religion, because none of them would have granted his atheist ass an afterlife (he didn't believe in one himself). But whatever the reality is, I need to think it's not the end of my time with him. Maybe the only time is in my heart and head, but that's not enough.