What is the nature of evil, and how do we stand resolute against it?
These are questions that plague humankind daily, yet we tend to not lend focus to the issue until something profound and tragic strikes at the heart of our collective psyche. In Newtown, Connecticut such a blow has been struck, and we have all found ourselves bewildered, without the ability to understand.
I have often spoken of the dynamic shift in our collective social paradigm thanks to the power of our innovation and the ways in which we use the tools we’ve created. WEB 2.0 has shifted the axis of our world, and we are very much still learning how to effectively cope. We are flooded with information on a daily basis, and in many respects we’ve become complacent, inured to the daily tragedy that surrounds us. We take it for granted and move on. Yet, some tragedies, those we consider our own, hurt us in ways we can scarcely imagine, and as expected we must react.
However, in a world filled with evil where human life in truth holds little value to far too many, how do we react, and more importantly how do we act to begin with? How do we face the power and mystery of evil? What actions must we take to guard against those who would take the lives of the people we hold most precious, and how do we elevate such actions so that in the final summation the defense we create for our own is shared by those around the world who face such intractable evil on a daily basis, no matter its source?
I won’t be arrogant and dare to think I have all the answers. I won’t be arrogant and state I know the root of the problem. What I will say is much the same as what I’ve said before. Our social structures have evolved. Our entertainment has evolved. Our power to communicate has evolved. Even our tolerance for and propensity to commit violence has evolved. However, in the midst of all this evolution is the recidivism of our origins. We have yet to evolve beyond violence, and evil still lives in our hearts and minds. Hence, we will act. We will do evil to one another. We will come up with new ways to do evil. We will question ourselves without end.
With a critical thinking mind we can recognize these truths, and seek to aspire to the best of the human condition, to truly embody a full human being, and be a better human kind. This is the lesson of Newtown, and when considered critically we know all the base and petty arguments revolving around what to do and what not do is a waste. Yes, some of us are truly stupid … but that too is human.
Yet, there are answers. We must not arm every teacher. This is stupid. Yes, it is truly stupid, and any man or woman above the age of thirty that thinks this is a serious answer must consider personally their spoonish nature and mental ineptitude. The same goes for those that turn away from the power of proper education and messaging and simply seek to place blame on a song, a movie, a television program, or a video game. Yes, the game may teach, the game may titillate, but it lacks the power to dictate action against a proper understanding of right and wrong. Knowledge from the parent, and the community immunes the majority of us against making our world mirror television. In this, we find the failing of our culture not because someone created the game, but because we don’t focus enough energy on the education and mental uplift of those that play those games. Instead, we pursue profit, just as those who make the guns are seeking to profit. Still, there are not all wrong for doing their business.
The answer is not all out gun control, because those who seek to gain weapons to do evil will with ease find their needed gun. However, in truth the lesson of Newtown shows us that responsible gun control may very well have prevented this tragedy. You see, the evil nestled in Adam Lanza was not one of criminal intent, as far as we know. Rather, it was the seed of madness, making use of weapons purchased legitimately. However, if there had been a ban on military assault weapon’s availability to the public, the outcome of this tragedy may very well have been quite different. Some may dispute this, others may agree. The critical question is what use do we have for the weapon beyond military purpose? In truth, we must really start to ask ourselves these questions.
The preservation of the right to shoot high-powered rounds at targets whenever we like pales in comparison to the sanctity of one, just one life. Is your right to own your AR-15 really that important? Is it? And if you are one to think the removal of this right is the slippery slope to fascism and the removal of your liberties then you are nothing more than one of the many mental myrmidons steeped in utter stupidity and extremist ideology. This is unfortunate, but true … and also very human.
Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, and Josephine Gay’s lives are not comparable to your personal need to own an assault weapon to shoot at targets because you just need to be able to do that to prove your manhood, or protect yourself from some pulp fiction fantasy of the government coming to take you over. It hasn’t happened, and it’s not going to happen. And their lives, their right to happiness remains beyond comparison. They were not material or commodities. They were human beings, little children, a billion-billion possibilities snuffed out in an instance.
The evil of mental madness claimed these lives in Newtown and our desire to spend money on other things instead of human prosperity and stability rests at the core of this tragedy. An answer does indeed lie in improving our mental health system. There are others out there waiting to commit murder borne of madness. There are those out there who care for these individuals and ask for help everyday, yet we don’t give it. Our society has locked them out, and tells them we will lock up their loved ones, after they’ve committed a criminal act. Of course, by then it’s too late. The lesson of Newtown rests in critically understanding this situation, and effectively resolving it.
The answer to action is better management of our weapons as a nation, as a people that aspire to be better, and do better. The answer may very well lie in additional security measures in public places, but they must be measures that don’t erode the environment in which we learn, grow, and love. The answer is better management of our mentally ill, for the potential for evil thrives in the mouth of mental madness, and it is a risk we can no longer afford to accept. These are the lessons of Newtown. Now, we must decide whether or not to heed them, to learn from them, and grow from them. Consider it critically.