What will come of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen. But in the wake of this and other tragedies, young people have proven that strength, resilience and compassion can prevail. We can bring meaning to these atrocities that seem to negate all that is right in the world.
Pete Souza/The White House
Despite the inescapable emotion involved in such a tragedy involving the loss of innocent lives, both pro and anti-gun lobbyists need to approach the argument in an unbiased and dispassionate manner. The debate needs to be depoliticized and examined at a strictly human level, where gun-related crimes have caused unspeakable horror and heartache.
AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry
At the interfaith vigil in Connecticut, U.S. President Obama, fighting back tears, expressed overwhelming grief, as a parent, on the killing of 20 innocent little children. In contrast, columnist George Monbiot noted that President Obama has remained silent over the 168 children killed by American drone attacks along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
President Obama has stated that, even if there were one step to be taken, there is an obligation to try to save another child from harm. When will Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders go beyond themselves and truly express concern not just for their own children but also those of "others"?
The tragic shooting in Connecticut, like the tragic one before it in Colorado, once again has the public seeking answers and pundits seeking the easiest answers to give. Guns and mental illness -- these are the issues on the tip of the average tongue. Like a number notions entrenched in the public consciousness, they are somewhat untrue.
TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty announced Thursday there would be a "locked door" policy at all 4,000 elementary schools in Ontario by next September in reaction to last week's shooting rampage that...
For all the talk of the effects of guns and the nature of gun crime, very little is said about the role that guns play as social symbols. The gun debate is still articulated by simplistic slogans such as: "guns don't kill people, people do." But in addition to their functional value -- as instruments of security and insecurity -- guns are also infused with a powerful symbolic value.
A gun is more than an object. A gun is a means towards, and a symbol of, an ideal society. It serves as a functional and figurative instrument of who does, and who does not, have power and citizenship.
Monday morning marked the long-awaited release of Wally T. Oppal's Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report. To say commissioning this report was a bit controversial is like saying Pickton himself was a bit murdery.
Oppal's investigation basically entailed a jaunty stroll across a packed minefield of modern Canada's touchiest subjects including racism, sexism, classism, aboriginal politics, the sex trade, mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse, bureaucratic cruelty and police incompetence, all headed by a party hack from an embattled provincial government that might very well poll worse than all the others put together.
The term "mental illness" has been thrown around as a quick and easy solution for gun enthusiasts and media alike. Mental illness, in turn, is conflated with violence through a process of loaded renaming. Mentally ill people are "disturbed," "threatening," "bad people," and ultimately counter-cultural figments of fear induced imaginations.
Essentially what this means is that there are those who need psychiatric treatment and then there is the rest of the world that needs to protect themselves from those people. The truth of mental illness is it is not a static concept, an ailment reducible to genetic rhetoric, there is no "murderer gene." Tragedies are not questions, hence there are never any answers.
Being a US citizen, I can't help feeling smug about choosing to live in Canada where the gun culture is not so alive and well, along with a sense of despair about how deeply entrenched it is in the US. But then, being an observer of brands and myths and icons, I wonder why this event had such a powerful impact on me, and on the rest of the world.
Of course, it's a lot of people, and mainly children. But why is the killing of "innocent" children so much worse than the killing of thousands of people caught in the violence in Syria? Or young urban males shooting each other every day all over the US? It can only be that we feel those other victims are somehow partly to blame for getting killed.
We live in a world much like the world that Christopher Nolan built. Only without Batman. There are Bruce Waynes all around us. And anyone can be that symbol. While we don't have a silent guardian watching over us, we do have heroes like Victoria Soto. While nothing can right this horrible wrong that has been done to our collective humanity, we should be comforted by the fact that a 27-year-old teacher was willing to lay down her life to save the lives of her students.
We cannot anticipate such senseless slaughter. But we can make the next one more difficult. America does not have any more mentally handicapped, disturbed, or mad people than any other country. What it does have is more guns. We cannot make sense of what happened in Newtown. We can only try to give this senseless massacre some purpose other than a cathartic outpouring of grief.
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he couldn't bear to keep watching the news coverage over the weekend of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut.In an interview with French broadcaster TV...
I think anyone who's so much attempted to compose a empathetic tweet about the Newtown bloodbath without spitting up a mountain of maudlin cliches can sympathize with the media's impossibly grim task of offering unique and eloquent reactions to an event that doesn't exactly excite the intellectual juices.
Just now we are getting to know the people behind the numbers. Twenty-six dead, but who are they? The stories of immense courage are coming out, teachers running toward the sound of gunshots, some shielding children with their bodies. I don't know if anything can make this worse, but that this happened at a time of year that fills that age of innocence with such excitement and wonder just adds another level of heartbreak.
Events like this would never happen if accessing mental health services was as easy as getting guns. Canadians should not feel sanctimonious about this tragedy. The problem is not only guns. What we do share with our grieving cousins south of the border is a lack of access to appropriate mental health services.
No one goes to teacher's college because he or she wants to hide with children in a dark closet, or step into the path of an armed madman. But we don't choose the society we live in, and sadly, this comes with the job. So teachers do so rightly (I feel obliged to say) armed not with guns, but with the kindness, compassion, and sense of duty that can only be found in one's heart.
We've seen the same debates take place after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, and every time, pundits miss the point. Simply put, there is no antidote for evil. The notion that simply changing the laws will take away the pain and suffering of this tragedy or even prevent future ones from occurring is simply not true.
Words cannot describe the agony and pain felt by the families who have lost loved once in the mass shooting that had taken place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut on Friday....
The shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. may have sparked talks about gun control in the U.S., but the discussion has crossed over the border to Canada as well. Quebec Premi...
TORONTO - Grief over a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut that left 20 young children dead is felt miles away in Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Friday."When our friends and ne...