Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happiness is a Warm Gun?

I woke up this morning to the news about Connecticut.

My God, 20 children. 20 children, some of them around Makoto's age. 20. Children. And 6 adults who, as teachers, would be colleagues of mine. When is enough, enough?

Already spinning around the Internet is the usual "It wasn't the guns! Guns don't kill people, people kill people! If only everyone had a gun, this wouldn't have happened (Ignoring that there's a gun for just about every man, woman, and child in the US not to mention guns at school is a terrifying idea from a teacher's standpoint)!"

I don't think it was the guns, it's the culture. There are societies that are armed and do not have this problem. We are an armed society, but no, we are not particularly polite (Something that was brought home to me when I went back home). Societies with strict gun control also don't have this problem. The US however...

We have a culture that loves the gun. It's a nation that has somehow gotten to the point where we can not longer do without, we bind ourselves to it, to having them, judge our worth, build our heroes, and elect our leaders based on their views of firearms. It's... the wild west taken to extreme. We have become addicted to the gun, and like all addicts, we cannot and will not admit that we have a problem, instead we lash out at any attempt to remove that to which we are addicted. We're the drunk who after beating his wife cries that it wasn't the booze's fault, that he'll change, just don't take it away from him!

We're the one who swears that we are fully in control and who gets belligerent when any attempt to limit is spoken of.

And more children die. When will it be enough? When will we say that this isn't working, that more guns won't be the answer, that taking them away wouldn't stop it either? We need to change ourselves.

I know on my blog I rag a bit on Japan, I love it here, but from a humor standpoint, it's something to hold up, see what's odd? What's different?

In Japan, it is almost impossible to own a gun. Japan as a nation has less gun deaths a year than my hometown. There are those who would claim that it was the lack of mental health care that brought today's tragedy  but Japan is far worse than the US when it comes to mental health, and yet there are no school shootings. There are those who would state that a nation where you don't have the right to bear arms is close to tyranny, what is to protect you from the government after all? Perhaps. I don't have the right to own a gun over here, but then again I don't worry when I leave for the day that my sons might be shot. At the end of the day, I might not be able to march on Tokyo with a gun in my hand to force the government to back down, but I can hug my sons close to me tonight, something that 20 families in Connecticut will not be able to do again.

There's that pithy quote from Franklin about security and liberty, which might also be true, but I think we as a nation need to decide just what kind of price we're willing to pay, and pay, and pay for our 'liberty'.

I don't know the answers, except that the first thing to say is enough, this must change!

One of the hardest things I have done as a father was to have to explain to Makoto, who was watching the news tonight that a bad man went into a school and killed 20 children like him and 6 teachers. It was hard to look him in the eyes and tell him that Daddy just doesn't know why it happened, but that people are sad because it has happened. Makoto started to cry because of the kids and the teachers who were killed, and because he was scared.

At least then I had an answer for him, that Mommy and Daddy wouldn't let this happen to him, we have chosen to stay in Japan.

When is enough, enough? How many more times must we see this? How many more times will I have to comfort my sons and assure them that they won't be shot? We need help, not more guns.

Happiness is holding your family tight, not a warm gun.

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