Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 15, 2012

School Shootings – The More Things Change…

Federally-supported gun violence intervention ...

Federally-supported gun violence intervention program (Photo credit: Wikipedia) . Such programs help… which is not the same as sweeping, much-needed, deeper changes.

Like many people, recent events at the elementary school in Connecticut got me thinking about prior school gun violence incidents, and about a blog post I wrote about them a few years back ( click here, or see the link below). I looked back at it again today, and I’m glad to say that even in a now divorced and more jaded state than I was in 2008, I still stand behind what I said at that point. I still doubt America’s will to change — either it’s general attitudes or it’s  specific state/local policies — about guns and/or about mental illness.  Nothing much will be done, because in the U.S., the golden rule is still “them who have the gold, make the rules”. But the golden ones are not usually the ones under fire… neither figuratively NOR literally.I now work in an elementary school fulltime. It was a strange experience to be there when the CT news was breaking. I’m thankful for it having happened on a Friday… allows time to process, and for emotions to settle down some. But I’m no more fearful now to send my own fifth grader to school than I was on Thursday (his is a different school than mine, and closer to “the city”, though it matters little) . I can’t let fear rule my life, or my kid’s sense of security. I trust but verify whenever possible, and I stand on my religious faith and my somewhat self-constructed little community to keep the demons –both inner and “out there” — at bay.

Meanwhile I’ve lost a bit more faith in my fellow U.S. citizens with every passing year, unfortunately. Maturity or cynicism? I don’t know which it is. Nevertheless, I predict that after the present round of hand-wringing for a few months, and some loud politicking, and some new stars or villains to discuss publicly or privately… we will still be left with the same aggravating, winner-less debate. And sometime after that, this will happen again. Because good intentions don’t count for much in the face of a challenge like this. And to make the needed changes, to take REAL action, would be to try reversing 300+ years of American ideas about independence and exceptionalism, and rights and responsibilities. Or even reversing thousands of years of wrongheaded human ideas about the “necessity” of violence.

Change that? Not likely, methinks…

Please, God, let me be wrong.

For those wanting the extended and historically-minded previous post, it’s here:


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