The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

September 23, 2013

Reader: To curb gun violence, we must work to effect change

When Adam Lanza took his mother’s arsenal to Sandy Hook Elementary and slaughtered 20 children and 6 teachers, he didn’t mean to change the country.

In fact, no one knows exactly what he did mean to do — other than kill and die, of course. His connection to Sandy Hook was tenuous at best; he may have gone there briefly as a child, but even if he had, that had been more than a decade earlier and we can safely assume he had never been bullied by the 7-year-olds that he shot, nor had he nursed a fatal grudge against some teacher who once confiscated his comic book before recess.

After Sandy Hook, he went to a Catholic primary school and a brief career as an honors student at Newtown High before his mother pulled him out in favor of home schooling. She herself was comfortably well off due to a large divorce settlement, able to devote herself to raising her son and pursuing her hobbies, one of which unfortunately was gun collecting. So when Adam Lanza smashed the hard drive on his computer, murdered his mother and loaded her beloved firearms and ammo into his car to drive the five miles to Sandy Hook Elementary, it wasn’t revenge, a love triangle or gang activity that motivated him.

No, he appears to have gotten it into his head that when you’re filled with rage and your life is essentially meaningless, this is what you do. He wiped out one entire classroom, worked his way through most of another and then prowled for more until the police showed up, all because he was an embittered loser with the free access to firearms so jealously guarded by the National Rifle Association.

Sandy Hook was different.

It showed all of us that our culture has reached an ominous tipping point. School shootings used to happen because of bullying, gangs or high school drama. Now school shootings happen because it has become embedded in our culture that murdering a few dozen innocent is what you do before you kill yourself. It doesn’t have to be a school that means anything particular to you. Any school will do. In America our schools are no longer educational institutions. They have turned into victim pools.

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