Friday, 21 December 2012

Circling the Wagons

  Merry Christmas everybody.  And look at the great presents we got!  Political drama and finger pointing!  Yeah!

  Let’s start at the top of this dungheap and descend shall we?  A short while ago, there was a terrible shooting in Newtown Connecticut, that now everyone is talking about.  The perpetrator is Adam Lanza, and his victims are, for the most part, children.  Nobody knows why he did what he did.  I don’t support any of his actions and I imagine those I shall speak against today don’t either.  Are we all clear on these facts?  Great!  From here, we descend.

  The shooting has started tongues wagging about gun control, and this is now being discussed by Obama administration at the highest levels.  Politically, the first instinct is to address the ease of access to weapons.  There’s a bunch of studies about how America trails the world in gun control and leads in gun violence.  And this has provoke defensive, even shameful responses.

  Senator Jay Rockefeller has used this time to prepare a motion to study the effects of violence in media, with a particular emphasis on video games, specifically to “…examine whether violent video games/programming causing kids to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their wellbeing…”  The timing is tactless, if nothing else, and smacks of a connected Senator trying to change the dialog away from gun ownership and proliferation to the media’s often disproved ability to program children to violence.  I repeat that while Adam Lanza is known to have been active in a technology club, motive, especially motive rooted in media images, cannot be known at this time.  

  The NRA, equally tactless, has at least found something palpable, shall we say the elephant in the room, about video games to latch on to as their scapegoat – the fantasies of violence and modern weapons.  NRA executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has now made history in trying to pin the shooting on video games, choosing perennial whipping boys Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Splatterhouse and, remember these guys, Mortal Kombat, as the cause of all of this suffering.  He at least goes full tilt into this dillusion – the solution, according to the NRA, is not fewer, better regulated guns, but more guns and more people to shoot them.  Mr. LaPierre suggests round the clock armed guards at every school in America.  That will really help with the dozens of problems schools have with being seen as prisons by their students, being overbudget, and otherwise not being safe places to learn and grow.  I’m sorry Mrs. Smith, Timmy had to hospitalized; he went to the store and got one of those cheap pop cap explosive darts boys play with and the guard on duty had a new hair trigger.

  Every part of this discussion seems tactless and self serving here.  I actually feel dirty living only 500 miles away from this.  In this instance, considering what has happened and moral decency, here is the example that I wish we would all follow.
1)      All sympathies must be directed to the victims and to the other residents of Newtown.  This is not fair, but so few things in this life are.  No one may cheapen these lives or this tragedy.  This has happened, and we pray to God for deliverance or at least guidance.
2)      Allow Senator Rockefeller his inquiry.  The implications of his inquiry, the shame of being singled out for witchhunts and the like, is not fair, but few things in life are, and I really don’t think he can do much with this podium.  His actions are cheap and petty, but he lives in a free country and can take his office to be so cheap if he so chooses.  Voters can object, but they have to vote against him to do so. 
3)      To the NRA, you guys are terrible.  If the human mind can’t take responsibility for its exposure to gun violence in iconographic form, why is more real guns … how could that … what part of the human mind could … no forget it.  Don’t argue with fools.  I hope the NRA gets a good sized slice of humble pie, and I hope that it comes not from government, not even from the victims, but from what I would bet is the large segment of NRA members who are also gamers, and who like the Modern Warfare, gun fetishy types of games that Mr. LaPierre demonizes. 
4)      For America, and the world, I hope we can finally do something here.  Guns are not just tools for killing, they are tools for automated killing, they make these sorts of murder sprees more than the results of a deranged mind, they propel those deranged minds to great achievements.  Achievements that we do not support.  Maybe we will never ban the gun, maybe that is not what we ever needed, but I hope we can take gun use away from the province of fully automated, idiot proofed killing efficiency.  

  Peace on Earth and good will towards all, folks.  I swear that I shall not wish ill on anyone, regardless of how far into the sh*t they’ve tried to drag us.

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