Monday, December 17, 2012

Tragedy at Sandy Hook

I’m sad.
I had some other ideas I wanted to write about today, but they no longer seem relevant to anything.  As a father and grandfather, I cannot imagine what those families are going through.

It is incomprehensible.
My Twitter feed is replete with comments on gun control.  While I’m a gun owner, I would support a ban on automatics.  But I think there is something deeper and more difficult going on.  Guns have always been plentiful in the U.S.  In the neighborhood I grew up in, every family I knew well owned guns.  Most of the fathers were WWII vets.  They would go small game hunting, duck hunting, and occasionally deer hunting. 

There were no incidents of mass slaughter.  No one took one of their father’s guns and murdered fellow students.
What’s changed?  Why does this happen now, but didn’t happen in the fifties and sixties?  One answer would be everything.  Single parents were rare in my working-class neighborhood, but common now.  Class started with The Lord’s Prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, and a Bible reading.  Corporal punishment was administered.  We learned not to tell our parents we had been spanked at school, because we would get a worse spanking at home for embarrassing the family.

Would going back to any of that matter?  I don’t know.
I have my personal pet hypothesis.  But I have no data.  I think the incredibly violent video games have made a difference.

I would like to know if the two boys in Columbine, the Virginia Tech Student, the White Supremacist in Wisconsin, the kid in Montgomery County PA who, thankfully, was turned in before he could attack, the guy at the mall in Portland, the man in Lancaster PA, played violent video games a lot.
Now I understand that millions play these games and don’t go berserk.  Just like hundreds of millions drink, but only a percentage become alcoholics.  But we restrict access to alcohol for that, and some other reasons.

I’d just like to know.

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