Friday, July 20, 2012


My heart aches for you this summer, for your fires and your bullets, the first disaster natural, the second manmade, but still a disaster. I puzzle over the right response, and admit that I don't know how to respond. Earlier today I saw someone post on facebook about how she feels convinced that the right course of action for her personally is to get a license, so she may carry her own weapon, concealed. Others on her thread seconded her, thirded her. I couldn't shake the feeling that more weapons is not the right response. At the least, it is not the right response for me.

I suppose that it is possible that in a number of cases having someone present with a concealed weapon may in fact have the power to change what would otherwise be a catastrophe, but that assumes that a lot of specific things happen, and that the one carrying the concealed weapon is a moral and responsible citizen, who is also proficient in shooting firearms accurately. It assumes that the right to carry weapons not only applies to militia,* but to ordinary citizens, and that citizens who will take advantage of that "right" will only be the good ones, rather than the ones who first pull them out, in sometimes very public settings--in such settings that should be safe settings, but that are made to feel unsafe.

The clearest example of this is in our schools, both high school and university. So what do we do when children have to go to school? What do we do when that place that should be a beacon of learning and light can contain so much darkness? And now a place that was built for pleasure and pretend has become a place of a very violent reality.** I understand that schools and movie theaters are not the same thing, that people don't have to go to the cinema. I also understand that they will likely be as safe tomorrow as they were yesterday, before the murders, but I understand something further, that they won't feel as safe. It is partially that feeling that I am also grappling with.

Why? Because we have to live our lives. We still have to do the things we would do, and it is best to do them without fear. Does that mean then, that we should strive to overcome our fear of death or pain or rape, or live in a way that even if the worst things happened we would be okay within ourselves, or be okay in our eternity?

*At lunchtime I sat with friends from my Danish course and listened to one woman from South Africa explain how America, in general, feels about this to a woman from Russia. It made me sad listening to them, because they, as individuals removed, can see clearer what some of our problematic assumptions are. I think that they are right, and I think we need to do something right, so that this type of senseless, random violence may not continue. This article gets at the heart of my feelings better than anything else I have read on the matter today.

**This also leads me to wonder the correlation between the particular movie being screened and the horrific actions. Did it make any difference what the film was? Could the same thing have happened at a different kind of movie? I know that people on one certain side argue passionately about the number of people who play violent video games and watch violent films or shows that do not go out and make violent, real life choices. But I still wonder. I still may not be entirely convinced.


Veronica said...

Thanks for the article. I agree with everything you said. It's all so troubling.

Rachel Hunt said...

You are welcome: I thought it was really perfect. Very troubling indeed.