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.
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.
The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting. "Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?
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.
Just shortly after the news that 20 small children were killed in Connecticut, the White House Press Secretary said "today is not the day" to engage in a policy debate over gun control. But it hardly matters if we all agree that shooting schoolchildren is terrible if we don't do anything to prevent it in the future -- and that is difficult to do in a society that promotes gun culture to even its youngest members.
In the wake of the tragedy in the Newtown, CT elementary school, we are all left speechless. In the midst of the chaos that ensues, we rely on news media to guide us. But in order to get as close as possible to the story, sometimes news media pass the line of what is acceptable. Today, there were many instances of reporters talking to little children. Eight- and nine-year-olds. A little child who has just experienced a tragedy like this doesn't need a microphone in his or her face. What we don't want is the use of little children as a means of getting viewers. Those children need love and care first. The story should always come after.