Whenever I look at my watch these days it keeps reminding me that I've entered old fart territory. A few things have happened during my 66 years that have been truly horrific. So it's a bit confusing to me why the recent school shooting in Connecticut is having such a profound effect on me. I try to avoid marinating my brain in negative images so I tend to change the channel when the subject is shown. Yet even now, each time I see a glimpse I begin to cry. Why this time and why this one? I don't really know.
What I do know is that our society is in very deep trouble. We own more guns than everyone else on the planet. We have more people in jail than any other country. We make movies that glorify violence. Our children play video games that are astoundingly perverse and violent. We have politicians that talk about "legitimate rape."
The NRA will defend to the death our right to bear assault weapons with unlimited supplies of ammunition. Yet they would never dream about being equally as passionate about participating in a societal change that would make it inconceivable for any of us to want to use one.
The polarization in our society is not just about Democrats and Republicans. There are numerous forces that actively work to ingrain a deeply felt sense of us and them. Carl Rove got an incompetent elected president two times with this tactic.
I worked as a Psychologist in a jail in the 70's. The inmates were all class A adolescent male felons. To qualify they had to have committed rape or murder. They had little or no difficulty in doing things to people that you don't want to know about. All one had to do to precipitate a fight with any of them is just utter the words, "Your mother." Isn't it fascinating that they could kill or rape your mother but you better not even mention theirs! Imagine a world in which all of them thought of all women as their sisters or mothers. That alone would probably eliminate more killing than any watered down gun control legislation we will see passed in a few months.
Our society has not yet figured out how to cultivate the best that we have as humans. I'd bet any of you in America a lot of money that you will not hear the word wisdom today. What school do you know of that teaches compassion. What powerful forces actively seek to allow our children to feel for themselves the warmth and joy that comes from being of service to another? I don't believe that the existence of a gun is the real problem.