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Reaction to Tragedy


Names of the Newtown, CT elementary school shooting victims

Names of the Newtown, CT elementary school shooting victims by Glenn Reed

Originally posted to my personal website on Dec 17, 2012

The Newtown Elementary school shooting was impossible to predict. It was a horrifying thing just to hear about. I wanted to go get my kid from school the moment I heard about it. The three hours I had to wait was painful. I cannot imagine the anguish the affected families are dealing with now.

The response of folks playing the troll on facebook, reddit, and all the other social networks was depressingly easy to predict. It’s the same basic set of crazy, selfish, uninformed, uncritical, hateful rhetoric thing comes up every time bad things make national headlines.

Gun control is always a subject that comes up.

There’s the standard declaration that “now is not the time to discuss gun control!” Gun policy seems to be an interesting subject. Unique in the fact that, the moment it fails is NOT the time to talk about how and where it’s broken.

“They should have had guns” is something one hears a lot. In a lot of these cases, this sentiment almost feels like blaming the victims for being shot. It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect people to have guns in a theater. If we find ourselves needing some kind of paramilitary force to provide security for schools, then something is broken is a very big way.

On the other end, you get the “ban all guns” folks. There’s always issues with simply making things illegal. This is a lesson that no one seems to have remembered from the 1920’s.

A discussion about gun control with an eye to outcome is something that should be had before another such event occurs.

Some folks get religious.

There’s lots of pictures floating around with a message similar to “this is what happens when god isn’t allowed in schools.” I always get the feeling it’s intended as “god’s wrath” or some such nonsense. That’s certainly the way folks tend to mean it when discussing some natural phenomena, like hurricanes.

Other pictures come up imagining children meeting god. Folks rejoicing over the idea that 20 murdered children get to meet jesus or something. I get why it might make sense to some people, or even bring comfort. To me, it’s just horrifying.

Someone usually suggests praying as a form of practical assistance. As if something in the world physically changes because someone had a prayer. “Praying IS doing something!” Right.

I get why folks lean on religion for comfort, but it seems like many folks use it as an excuse not to feel or do anything. That, or use tragic events to further some religious agenda or another.

There’s more crazy crap that folks have posted, far more than I’ll talk about here.

I think it’s important to think about the victims. I think it’s important to shift the focus away from the killers. It’s important to shift the focus from opportunistic, politically driven people who use tragedies to suit their agendas. We certainly need to shift our focus away from folks who use this kind of thing simply to cause more pain.

I don’t know if it’ll help at all, but I made a memorial/tribute type picture. I haven’t seen but maybe one floating around.


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