This is so complicated

December 15, 2012

I woke up this morning to the news about the shooting in Connecticut. 27 dead, 20 of them children.

Like everyone else, my heart went out to their community. I send my kids off to school everyday, assuming that they’ll be safe and that they’ll come home at the end of the day. I can’t imagine the horror and devastation the families and community are going through at the moment. Every time I imagine being one of those parents running to find my kid, my breath catches and I blink back tears.


I realise that there has been a gun control discussion going on. I heard some debates on the radio the day before. By now I have seen a bunch of people jumping on both the pro gun-control and the ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ bandwagon and sharing infographics on facebook*.

While I personally agree with strict gun control laws, I feel kinda yuck that the bodies of the dead aren’t even buried yet and we are already making points about policy during a time of heightened emotions and using pretty strong words and images.

By all means, let’s have an intelligent conversation about gun control, but can we first allow some space for grief, support and ritual for the community involved? It just feels like we are capitalising on the deaths and taking advantage of a tragic situation to score political and policy points**


*Am I being too sensitive here? I just found it yuck to scroll through all these pictures of guns on the same day, when parts of the world are still reeling. To me this is armchair activism at it’s worst. Disturbingly, perhaps this blog is another example of it. You’ll let me know I’m sure.


** I learned this lesson the very hard way by doing exactly that many moons ago. I made a policy point after someone’s death. I even used their image to do so. I was confronted by a brave and angry person who was close to the deceased. I’m still grateful that she did. We both cried, I almost lost my job. I was deeply ashamed and I still find it hard to talk and even think about. But I gained a whole lot more insight and understanding in to the consequences my actions and words had on others. I might post about that another day though. Maybe. If I’m brave enough. Although, I think I just did.


One Response to “This is so complicated”

  1. Wendy J said

    I see what you are saying, and it does in one way seem insensitive. However, I believe people were not immediately raising the issue of gun control policy because they do not have respect for the grieving process of the community, but because they are angry and fed up and need to channel some of this energy into something productive: a call for profoundly necessary change. To me, this is not taking advantage to score points, this is rightly pointing out that *THIS HORRIBLE, UNNECESSARY THING* is what happens when individual rights (e.g. to bear arms) override community rights.

    It has just occurred to me that in effect, the gun lobby is waging a war on society through its power and influence over national policy. Sadly, the victims of this war are not soldiers or armies, but civilians. In a way, those calling for gun control are like anti-war protestors, and to me it is good that they are being vocal and pointing out the perversity of the current system.

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