Sunday, December 16, 2012


I put only one word into my browser this morning: Newtown. 

The,_Connecticut link has already been updated.

I see articles linked to mental illness, gun control, bullying, and a growing number of topics related to this tragedy.

Politicians are already putting their spin on this situation. The media is all over this, with news anchors deviating from professional norms. People are breaking down on air, struggling to cope with this horrific event. This is all so hard to process.  Newtown has been changed forever.

The Columbine High School massacre (often known simply as Columbine) was a school shooting which occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. In the school shooting, two senior students named Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They also injured 21 students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.

Columbine is the fifth-deadliest mass murder committed upon a school campus in United States history; after the 1927 Bath School disaster, the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and remains the deadliest for an American high school.

Columbine sparked debate over gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society. The Columbine shooting resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants by teenagers, teenage Internet use and violent video games.

Columbine in 1999. Newtown in 2012.

This morning, I listened to the Governors of Colorado and Connecticut give their opinions on Sunday morning television on what was done, what was not done, and what could have been done.

When I learned of the Newtown tragedy, it felt like all of the blood was drained from my body. I will not be able to make any conclusions on this, now or probably for many days.  I don’t know how much to blame technology - or on the lack of technology. Was it a lack of security? Schools are not vaults; we cannot protect our schools like a bank.

Is it the ease of access to violent video games?  Have you seen the quality of graphics in today’s violent online games? Anyone with mild to severe mental illness might have a problem telling reality from fantasy. Do these incredibly realistic online video games not reward players for achieving horrific results? Do these violent video games not keep score based on body count?

We have seen people use guns, homemade bombs and even airplanes to do horrific, evil things. We have seen people convert anger, possibly fueled by mental illness into events such as Newtown or Columbine.

I don’t know if technology could have helped, but it seems that between 1999 and 2012, we have not made much progress. I don’t know the numbers. I do not have access to the statistics. I can only say what I feel. People will argue and say it is not about the gun control, it is not about the violent movies or video games, it is not about bullying. Then what is it?

What if it is not any one thing - but all of the above?

I am 52 years old. When I was a kid in school, getting sent to the principal’s office for chewing gum in class was a big deal. I did not grow up in a bubble, but we never had such horrific events. What happened in our world in the past 40 years? I do not think I am being naive, but something changed in the world in my lifetime. We cannot remove evil from the world, but we can love each other. We can treat each other better. Much better.

I feel that we let the people of Newtown Connecticut down. I feel like we let our entire nation down. I feel that we did not learn from Columbine, nor did we learn from any of the horrific events of the past. If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.  

Columbine was a murder - suicide.  Newtown was a murder - suicide. Why?  

What did we learn about murder - suicide since 1999? When a plane crash occurs, the make and model of plane does not fly again, until they find the cause of the accident. Why does the USA have such a problem with violent crime, compared to the rest of the world?

I do not know what was learned since Columbine, but I know how I feel. I feel like we took no positive steps - we did not learn from the past. That is my personal opinion. If the events of Friday are not enough to change our behavior, what will it take? I pray for everyone who is suffering. I pray that the leadership of this country wakes up. Enough is enough. I don't care who is offended, I don't care who is "for or against" guns, or privacy rights, or any other debatable topic. Doing nothing (again) is not acceptable. 

This country was founded by people taking a stand. This country became a world power, because its citizens, its people have a long history of stepping up and finally saying "ENOUGH! We are not going to take it any longer! We have had enough, and we demand change. Enough."

We can do better,and we must do better.

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