January 2013 Issue #49, A Letter from the Editor – Let’s Not Forget the VictimsBy Kaylene Peoples | January 18th, 2013 | Category: Articles, Letter from the Editor | 1 Comment »
Some say the world is getting better; others say it’s the worst it has ever been in the history of civilization. Hard to believe it’s the worst. The Black Death killed two thirds of the world’s population. Because there was no way to spread news like today, people got away with murder, rape, you name it. Before fingerprinting was invented, convictions were based on hearsay and circumstantial evidence. There were high mortality rates in childbearing, and disease spread like wildfire. Living to be a ripe old age was rare. Yes, we still have wars, and with those wars come countless casualties as a result. There is still racism, sexism, and narrow-mindedness. And there are more complicated issues we face because of technology.
The safest assessment would be that things happen in cycles—from fashion, to crime, to politics, to inflation, to what’s popular and what’s no longer acceptable. We can all agree that pedophilia or anything harming a child falls in the category of unforgivable—especially murder. The destruction of innocence is the harshest tragedy yet. That is why the recent killing spree at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was so difficult to understand. Taking the lives of innocent babies, yes, I said babies—anyone younger than seven years old in my opinion is still considered a baby—is cruel and deserves the utmost judgment.
I mentioned weeks before this issue, that I would be dedicating the January 2013 Issue #49 to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. After watching the endless news broadcasts and hearing the eyewitness testimonies of children and teachers, I couldn’t help but feel pain for the families and friends who lost their loved ones so senselessly. I felt for the brave teachers who saved lives and the children who couldn’t possibly have understood what was happening to them. It was too overwhelming, and I really needed to understand. Initially, I was outraged by the casual acceptance of guns in this country. I blamed the NRA at first for allowing such easy access. But once I learned how Adam Lanza, the shooter, acquired his weapons, I couldn’t blame the NRA. After I learned his mother did everything she could to help her son through his mental illness, I couldn’t blame bad parenting either. So whom could I blame?
Many accusations have been thrown around about how those in the middle class who suffer from some form of mental illness do not receive the proper attention because they fall through the cracks. There is no government funding to pay for their expenses, or no place to house them if they appear as though they are fitting into society. We can thank the Reagan administration for freeing all the “crazies” and letting them run wild on the streets. Yes, many of our homeless are mentally ill. But with popular mental conditions such as Bipolar Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome, many who suffer from these conditions are not receiving enough care. Adam Lanza suffered from a mental illness where he could not feel. And it has been purported that his condition is what helped to fuel his crime. That explanation, as controversial as it is, still does not soothe the pain our society feels over the recent killings.
Shouldn’t we take a long, hard look at the Colombine shooting, Virginia Tech shooting, Aurora theater shooting, Tuscon shooting, Hartford Beer Distributor shooting, Binghampton shooting, Fort Hood massacre, just to name a few. Really, there are so many more mass killings that have happened in our country—the most in the world—and by middle class perpetrators with a bone to pick, and a bit of mental instability. Mass shootings are becoming an epidemic in this country, and the shooters rise to celebrity status posthumously. Are we as a society falling victim to our own trappings of convenience, instant gratification, unlimited knowledge, and celebrity? Aside from creating stricter gun laws, what else can be done to prevent further senseless killings? I don’t know what the answer is, but I hope in light of the recent tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, we will try to figure it out. My prayers go to those lost in the recent massacre.
Maybe the world hasn’t gotten worse, we’re just hearing about things more. Let’s celebrate the good and heroic. Let’s focus on fairness and kindness. Let’s help those heal who have been harmed. Let’s not sensationalize murderers and lift them to celebrity status. And let’s never forget about the victims.