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The who, the what, the when but not the why

By Kay S. Pedrotti Tears fell in many places, even the newspaper offices. Hearts everywhere began to hurt. Prayers were given for total strangers; all that happened when the news of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., emerged. None of us knows why such tragedies occur. There are many speculations, and the pundits and politicians are quick to jump on their favorite bandwagons ‘“ whether for super-security for schools, gun control or stringent legal redress for victims’ families. We need to remember, and grieve, that children have been killed for no apparent reason ‘“ not that there would be a good reason. Any person out there with mental problems may become a ‘domestic terrorist’ at any moment. Those people, as much as we may hate what they did and do, have never recognized their deficiencies because they are not capable of sane reasoning. When family members, school counselors or others see a ‘ticking time bomb,’ the processes by which to stop it seem to be incredibly complicated. The woeful ineffectiveness of our mental health systems in this country is routinely overlooked. Unless a ‘crazy’ is sane enough to check him or herself into a treatment facility, there is almost nothing family members, friends or employers can do. Law enforcement can enter only after a criminal offense ‘“ too late. Prevention of crime is not popular; it’s hard to document, hard to pay for and really difficult for many to accept as a legitimate use of tax dollars. Many studies have shown that prevention dollars accomplish more than punishment dollars. Japan has some of the world’s most restrictive gun control laws, but still has a high number of gang crimes committed against the public with knives and swords. Americans will always want the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ and to enjoy hunting sports and target expertise. To eliminate those rights is not the answer. It seems more true than ever that, ‘If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’ Many years ago one of my children told me he could buy a handgun any day of the week on the campus of his high school. You can bet I told the authorities but I never heard that anything was done. A recent anonymous health survey of revealed four area high school students took a firearm to school every day for 30 days. It’s everywhere and affects everybody. More than anything else, solutions may be found only one way ‘“ in the unity of people in every community. ‘The path of the arrow of blame is not a straight line but is scattered like raindrops.’ (Heinz Insu Fenkel in his novel about the death of his brother.) Stop blaming. Start talking to your neighbors. Take an interest in everything that goes on in your town, community or county. Don’t leave solutions to the politicians ‘“ we are a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ only if we care enough to be a part of it. God bless all the people in Newtown and let me remember that the incident did affect me; I am American too. Kay Pedrotti is a writer and reporter for the Herald Gazette and the Journal Reporter.

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