crazyjane: (eclipse)
I just do not understand human beings.

In Newtown, Connecticut, a young man who may have been mentally ill took his mother's guns and murdered her. He went to Sandy Hook Elementary School, shot his way in, and when the principal and school psychologist tried to stop him, killed them.

In two small rooms, twenty cowering children were slaughtered, shot multiple times. Countless others were terrorised, and the teachers who tried to protect them were gunned down.

We don't know why he did it. We may never know. And even if we did, it wouldn't really help. For some things, there is no explanation. As hard as that is to accept.

Beyond the killer's motives, though, is so much more that defies understanding - almost defies belief.

Even before the children's bodies had been removed from the school, the gun debate surged into prominence. It was inevitable, of course - it happens every time there's a mass shooting in the USA. After the Aurora Cinema ... Virginia Tech ... Columbine ... and yet somehow that debate always ends the same way. Nothing changes.

This time, perhaps, there's a little more fervour. Because these were kids. And that's understandable.

What's not understandable - at least to me - is the speech from Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert lamenting the fact that schools in that state are 'gun-free zones'. If only the principal had an M4 in her office, he opined - that guy wouldn't have gotten past the front doors. She could have 'taken his head off before he got near those precious kids'.

(For the record, an M4 carbine is functionally identical to the assault rifle used by the killer - a weapon capable of firing 700-950 rounds per minute. Ideal for school protection, apparently. And legal in Connecticut. No licence required.)

Guess Congressman Gohmert believes in Mutually Assured Destruction. If the Bad Guy has a big gun, then if you get a big gun, he won't try to kill you. 'More guns, less violence' is the popular slogan.

Except it doesn't work that way, as this study graphically illustrates. At best, it's ineffective. At worst, it causes more casualties.

But don't try to tell the National Rifle Association that, or the pro-gun politicians who seem to have all inexplicably become impossible to contact. Because they've got a right to own guns. All hail the Second Amendment.

Then there is the conspiracy theory. I won't dignify it with too much elaboration, but the short version goes something like this: this was all set up by the government so that they could take away 'our' guns. Just like all the other mass shootings. This first popped up the day after the shootings, and there were even suggestions that members of the school community were complicit.

I can understand people wanting to make sense of a tragedy. After all, there's got to be a reason, right? But to insinuate that other parents and teachers helped set up the cold-blooded massacre of their friends and colleagues? Uh, no. Who even thinks that?

Maybe it was those pesky chemtrails. The government experiments on us, dontcha know.

And finally - most horrifically - the hoaxes.

While grieving members of the community gathered in a local church, someone thought it might be a fun idea to phone in a bomb threat. Police armed with semi-automatic rifles charged in to evacuate the congregation.

Wow. Inspired.

Other jokers took to the internet to exercise their questionable senses of humour. One attributed some pithy comments to actor Morgan Freeman. That was pretty mild, actually. According to Newtown's police chief, however, others were far worse. Some decided to impersonate the gunman and post taunts and manifestoes.

And some - who deserve to be named, shamed, and forced to apologise face to face to every bereaved person in Newtown - thought it would be chucklesome to post messages purporting to be from the murdered children.

Yes, you read that right.

Just imagine being one of those parents. Your child, who could be a brat sometimes, but who you loved. Your child, who painted pictures that are still stuck to your fridge with a magnet. Your child, who you saw off to school that day like every other day.

Your child, whose bullet-riddled body lies in the morgue.

What kind of person thinks it's funny to traumatise these people, who have already endured so much, who will have to bury their children and try, somehow, to keep living?

The standard question, when something horrific like a mass shooting happens, is, 'Who wakes up in the morning and decides to shoot people?'

But what I wonder, today, is, 'Who wakes up in the morning and decides to capitalise on that tragedy by pushing the very instruments used to cause it? Who thinks, over their morning cup of coffee, that this is a good opportunity to publicise their own private version of The Turner Diaries? And who - who, for gods' sake - goes to the trouble of creating fake accounts and posting messages to torture complete strangers, just for their own sick amusement?'

The short answer is: human beings.

Why?

For some things, there is no explanation.

I can't accept that.

August 2017

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