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Newtown, Connecticut: let's stop the insanity

Photo: AFP

I am outraged.

We elect our political officials to work for us, don’t we?

And yet we basically let them do whatever they want, in so many ways.

Why does this madness continue?

I want to talk today about what most of us all over the world are thinking about: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and what happened there. Like everyone else in the world, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the children and teachers whose lives were lost there, as well as the rest of the residents of Newtown and everyone else who was personally affected. My heart is so heavy.

How could this happen? A different perspective

I know that there really isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t already been said, about what a horrific, unfathomable tragedy this is.  Instead, I want to ask the questions swirling around in my head – the biggest one being “What did our politicians expect?”

Those same ‘leaders,’ as I stated before, that we elect to work for us. How could they not see something like this coming? Why are they all so surprised?

First of all, there is no effective gun control, and none at all on the Internet. As we all know by now, anyone can get their hands on any weapons they choose, at any time, day or night.

What a sham it is for our leaders – and those of us who elected them – to wring our hands and ask how this could happen. No legitimate gun control is, without question, one of the two major reasons for why this happened.

And with our complicit silence we, the public, have allowed this to continue.

But the other reason, as I see it, has to do with all the funding that has been cut in recent years to social services, especially to those programs that assisted people with mental illness.

Here in Vancouver, Canada, the largest agency that helped and housed those struggling with symptoms of deep and disturbing mental illnesses – Riverview Hospital – was shut down due to ‘budget constraints.’

As a result, those of us who live here continuously see the people who clearly are no longer receiving help and often now have nowhere to live,  wandering our streets, sleeping in doorways, begging for food and money, shouting out loud to themselves, accosting, hurting, and sometimes even killing strangers on buses – the list of very scary, terribly dysfunctional behaviours goes on and on.

And the rest of us, with our silence, put up with it.

Who is to blame?

Are they the ones at fault? Are the people without proper assistance and medication, who are hearing auditory hallucinations telling them to hurt someone, or worse, really the ones at fault?

At the time of this writing, we don’t know yet what happened to Adam Lanza to make him ‘snap’ – which is what people like to believe is what happens in situations like these.

I think that now, as a society, we are learning something different about this. The shooter at the Aurora movie theatre didn’t suddenly ‘snap’ – rather, he took his time laying out his horrible plan, spent plenty of money ordering guns and ammunition from the Internet - and then proceeded to booby-trap his apartment so the police (and everyone else in his building and nearby radius) would be blown up. Is that called ‘snapping’?

But one thing can’t be denied – anyone who would commit such a grievous, hideous, and completely self-absorbed crime against humanity, especially against children, cannot be perceived as even close to being emotionally or mentally healthy.

And those who commit copy-cat crimes are not operating on all four cylinders either. There are, unfortunately, plenty of those people out there, and some will fly under the radar for a long time until they’re ready to fly above it.

But without the proper medical and therapeutic attention they need, and  without the mental health services that are so badly needed and too often neglected as a matter of course these days, there is really very little hope of us reaching and helping the ones who are capable of this unspeakable onslaught of violence.

And, of course, when we add the stodgers – the ridiculous hold-outs who continue to insist that we don’t need gun control into that mix, there is only one thing that can happen. There will be more detestable violence and increased repetition of what we’ve already experienced.

Should we just sit around wondering who will be the next targets, and where that next strike will occur?

Tell me, how safe do you feel at the mall these days? What about at the movies? How will you feel the next time you send your kids off to school?

Isn’t it finally time for us to do something about all of this madness and compel our elected officials to take action?

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