Aside from the horror of the evil in the act, what is most disturbing about the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting is the immediate reaction to want to understand “why?”, followed by the inevitable call for a political response centered on more gun control. As to the “why?”, we’ve been attempting to answer that question about these kinds of events for centuries, and while religious faith can provide some comfort and even a kind of sanctuary, many of life’s troubling aspects will forever remain inscrutable to mortals. As for a political solution, Charles Krauthammer is correct: everything should be on the table–guns, more assertive involuntary commitment of those needing mental treatment, and the entertainment culture.
Of these, more gun control is the least likely to have significant impact. We’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked. The only instances in which gun control has been significantly effective involved confiscation of all guns, which would spark an immediate revolution in this country.
Without treading on the first amendment, we need to seriously examine what passes for innocent entertainment in the movies, on the internet, and with video games, much of the violent content of which is deadening and hollowing out the souls of our kids.
Steve Forbes has said that “the shutting down of most of our institutions that treat people with severe mental problems beginning in the 1960s was one of the most deplorable, if not barbaric, moves the U. S. has made in the last half-century”. It is the reversal of this misguided de-institutionalization policy at the state level that seems to have the most promise.
So while we’re having yet again another “conversation” about this issue and calling out the NRA, let’s also call out the ACLU and our friends in Hollywood to get serious about something we can do about it that might work.