Our public is far too dependent on government. When something goes wrong, the automatic response is to look at Washington to solve our problems. The problem is that government doesn’t have all the answers to our problems. In fact, Washington has very few answers to our problems.
Sandy Hook shows the incompetence from our government officials. I’m talking about a different kind of incompetence; not a lack of action, but a lack of understanding.
Washington doesn’t get why Sandy Hook happened. It was a disastrous event that will not be forgotten, and it’s a shame that it takes the life of 20 small children to talk about violence in our society. But the recent developments on guns show how Washington is out of touch.
The mass tragedy didn’t happen because of the lack of laws, but a lack of morality in our culture. There is a pivotal crisis going on in our families and our media. There is a lot of violence in our culture and there is a lack of parenthood in our families that don’t prevent kids from watching movies that promote murders and play video games that encourage killings. American children watch an average of 200,000 violent acts as they celebrate their 18th birthday.
But it isn’t just Congress and President Obama that are not part of the solution. Washington has lobbyists that also don’t get it. One of them is the National Rifle Association.
The NRA came out with an ad that targets Obama’s daughters and calls Obama a “hypocrite.” The basic premise of the ad was to show that Obama’s kids have security guards in school. The problem with the ad is that the immediate First Family has had Secret Service since 1917. The biggest issue is that the NRA calls Washington to action which is something that won’t fix our deep rooted issue with violence.
Obama and the NRA are genuinely concerned about the safety of every day Americans. For instance, Obama cried as he was addressing the Sandy Hook event at a press conference. He wants to make this country safer but the Democrats are the skeptical ones when it comes to gun rights. They want to restrict the Second Amendment. The 2012 Democratic Platform is clear on gun control. Granted, I don’t believe that people should own weapons like an AK-47. What’s the use in that? There are weapons that should not be legal. Then again, banning weapons misses the sociocultural issues that need to be addressed. Nowhere in Obama’s 23 Executive Actions is violent entertainment mentioned (by the way, why sidestep Congress and not follow the legislative process?).
The NRA is no better than the White House. They’ve made several pushes for additional membership in the wake of the discussion on gun control. They are not proposing any substantial changes to public policy that would address the root of the problem. The NRA’s only proposal is to add security guards in schools. Give me a break. Armed security guards will not prevent mentally distressed individuals from going into a school and carry out mass shootings.
That’s why this cultural issue must include mental illnesses. There are very detailed studies that show serious links between individuals that have mental disorders and those who conduct mass murders like those in Sandy Hook.
This dialogue should start at home and not in Washington. Morality is not architected by government or the law. The violence that we have in our society comes from the mores and customs that we so practice (I include myself since I played violent video games as a kid). Then and only then will parents and relatives have an idea if someone needs psychiatric treatment.
Our polity is incompetent. Both the NRA and the White House are calling the government to action. They don’t get that our culture is in crisis. Our national dialogue on Sandy Hook is surrounding itself too much on guns from both the left and the right, but there is no impetus on the social aspect.
When is this country going to learn from Sandy Hook? When are people going to realize that our government is no Wizard of Oz? It’s simple. Let’s not talk about guns. Take a look at your own lives. Look around your neighborhood, look around your family. Crises like Sandy Hook should not change our government; crises like these should change us.
Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz