Posted by: Jack Hope | Friday December 14, 2012

It’s Time to Talk

So it’s happened again. Another mass shooting in the United States. Twenty seven people dead, 18 of them children. More injured. Families destroyed. Thousands in mourning. Pain and suffering on a scale that is hard to imagine.

Except for the fact that it seems to happen every other month these days.

This is a tragedy beyond imagining, or should be, except for the unimaginable fact that these events are becoming almost routine. Listening to and watching the media reports I can’t help but feel that sense of deja vu.

Horror deja vu.

It is time to start talking about these horrors and why they happen.

Right now. Victims of these tragedies are not respected by keeping silent about why these tragedies happen and what can be done to stop them in the future. Victims are not honoured by putting off these discussions for a “more appropriate time.”

Our silence has been politicized.

Because the people who have politicized the silence after these crimes will never allow a “more appropriate time” to come.

I’ve seen calls out in the media world for things ranging from the tagging and tracking of the mentally ill or the implementation of armed security and metal detectors at all schools. I’ve seen others suggest that teachers should be armed and be trained to respond to situations like this.

For people who claim to love freedom and to be defending the freedoms of people to own firearms they sure are ready to create a highly intrusive security state to defend said freedoms.

If the only way to sustain the ‘right to bear arms’ is to create TSA style checkpoints at the entrance to every neighbourhood, every school, every mall, then it’s not worth it.

It’s not worth it.

The solutions are obvious and readily available. Sensible gun control can be implemented that still respects the rights of legitimate hunters and recreational users. Offering mental health services widely and de-stigmatizing the mentally ill can help those who might otherwise be drawn down these horrible paths.

The costs in blood and money of not doing anything are readily apparent to all. And while it’s not possible to stop every single tragedy, much can be done to prevent many of them.

It may be that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people,’ but a society shouldn’t make it so easy for people to kill other people. Mental illness should not be a death sentence for the ill or those around them, nor an express ticket to a life time of imprisonment.

It is now well past time for this discussion to begin. Silence will just bring more death, more suffering, more loss.

The time to talk is now.



  1. Just heard about this as my daughter was.getting out of school. One of the other moms called me. The ironic thing is that Sandy Hook, the name of the school in CT where it happened is also the name of a local beach that was decimated by Sandy.

    I’m starting to think that we as a society are like animals in a zoo. Keep someone in a cage too long and they lose it. I’m thinkin society is more a culprit than mental illness. If life were simpler and more natural, we wouldn’t all be rattling the bars..just a thought..this whole thing makes me ill. 😦

    • I came across an interesting statistic in my reading following the Sandy Hook tragedy. During the 1800s the odds of the average North American dying by murder was approximately 1 in 60.

      Today the odds for the United States are about 1 in 18,000.

      Statistics are cold comfort after an event like this, but part of why this hurts so much is it feels like it happened down the street. With media we’re so interlinked to each other and that’s not a bad thing, although we often feel overwhelmed by it all.

      We’re wired to live in our villages but modern communication makes our village to be very big places.

      But as hard as it can be, especially at times like this, I think it is important to acknowledge that those of us fortunate enough to live in modern western civilization do have lives that are more free from violence than most of our ancestors could ever have hoped for.

      Still doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done and it’s still cold comfort at times like these.

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