Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Connecticut Shootings

(NOTE: this is not a post debating guns, religion, or any of the other subjects that have exploded over the internet in the wake of the shootings - feel free to share your feelings on the tragedy, but comments debating these subjects will be deleted - that is not the purpose of this post)

I cannot describe the feelings I felt when I heard about this last night. From across the pond, I find myself horrified at this incident. I have not heard much - I find it hard to read about such a henious crime even so far away in the USA - but the headlines I have heard are horrific.
Yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year old man shot and killed 26 people, 20 of which were elementary school children. The shooter was the son of one of the teachers at the school, and had no previous criminal record. He was found dead in a classroom with two firearms, and a third was found in his car.
Newton was not the only place to face the horror that day however. Yesterday morning, a 36-year old  man walked into an elementary school in china, a country with strict laws in gun control, and attacked 22 children with a knife. Though none of the children have died, many are currently in critical condition.
Many people I know here are reminded of the Dunblane primary school shooting in 1996 in Scotland. Many of my current friends were in primary school at the time, my sister had just gone into high school. Dumblane was a little town close to Stirling in Scotland. People throughout the country grieved as people in America and across the world grieved today.
The Dumblane shooting sparked the Snowdrop campain, banning the ownership of handguns by the public across the UK. But though gun ownership is now banned in Scotland, there was still at least 5 people in Scotland killed this year by them, which is still horrific. Any shooting is horrific, regardless of the number.

My facebook feed is full of debate about the removal of guns, and it annoys me to no end. It is time to let people grieve, not stir the shit-pot by sparking debates about guns, medications, religion (all of which I have so far seen in relation to the shootings in connecticut). People are so enraged about the mere fact a gun was involved that they have forgotten that people are grieving, and also seemingly ignored the horror that occurred in China that same day. Getting rid of guns/changing medications/believing or not believing in a certain spiritual aspect is not going to solve the problem, and you're kidding yourself if you think it will, because there are still nutters in this world who will go into a school and let loose on a bunch of kids for little to no reason. That is not to say that guns shouldn't be banned - I firmly believe they should - but it is to say that killing will not stop entirely by the removal of guns. It will likely reduce massively, as statistics show it should, but if someone is that insane to go into a school and kill a bunch of people, not to mention children, then they would likely just find another way to do so, just as that man did in China. Changes in law have to be made by the American people, for the American people. We just have to support the people who have lost so much.
It's time to let the world grieve. Many families have lost everything they hold dear to them - sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends. Flags fly at half-mast both in the town and at the White house. And for those children who have not been lost, like the others in the school, or all those children in the China incident, their childhood innocence has been stolen from them. Perhaps it's time to show a little sensitivity, for the media to give the town space to breathe, give a little support for the parents and children of America, and leave the debate to those of the state and country involved.

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