The horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT has shocked an American populace already accustomed to mass shootings, thus illustrating how violence has perforated American society and condemned the younger generations to a premature loss of innocence, marking the true tragedy of the Adam Lanza rampage.
On the 14th of December, Adam Lanza committed the third deadliest gun-related massacre in US history. At Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza used various semiautomatic handguns and rifles from his mother, another victim of his indiscriminate violence, and continued to kill an additional 20 children and 5 adults. The resulting 28 person massacre included the lives of 6- and 7-year-olds, demonstrating the sickening act that was perpetrated. The loss of youth, of pure innocence, marks the most horrendous factor of the shooting and yet the media has attempted to undercut the senseless violence by statistically analyzing the shooting in retrospect to others. This statistical analysis of ‘body count’ and casualties marks the transition of American society away from humanity and empathy, towards the fictional worlds being crafted in video games studios and Hollywood – fake realities devoid of human emotion. So saying, the American nation has become victim to its own proliferation of violence on multi-media outlets: video games, TV shows, movies, etc. With memories of Virginia Tech, Columbine, Batman Theater shooting and the Oregon mall shooting, the nation is being desensitized to violence. The sensationalist media has ranked American shootings, popularizing the mentalities and motives of the shooters to as to begin a cycle of notoriety for these deluded killers and allowing for their names to become remembered, while their victims lie forgotten in graves. It has taken the senseless slaughter of the purist form of innocence, children, to awaken the American people to the savage reality that they themselves have constructed. This momentary glimpse into concrete truth has emphasized that America’s grand empire of civility, laws and regulations are not the impeccable bastions of peace and progress that have been promoted by corporate-bought leaders. By this measure, the American people must realize that their obligation to protect and ensure a secure future for today’s young generations is not being met. The American nation is not doing enough to keep its youth protected; rather, it has allowed for the corruption and decay of innocence through the cyclical production of horrific games that desensitize kids to the sense of loss and the brevity of life. The American Dream has been torn asunder, as its promises will never become reality for the child victims of the Newtown Elementary School shooting.
“Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I’ve been reflecting on this in the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough.” – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
The American society has stood as a beacon of urbanization and advancement, marking a clear divide between modernized civilization and the barbarism of media-targeted cultures in the East; yet, this view of American exceptionalism falters at the repetitious scenes of indiscriminate violence enacted by America’s own lost and estranged citizens. The profit-oriented media has long manipulated societal thought, perpetuating fear so as to suggest that the masses must adhere to the messages of civic duty and consumer responsibility. As such, the tragedy in CT has rekindled the flames of political debate over the severity and rigidity of gun control but there exists a paralyzing inability of the political structure to properly address the concerns of a growing uncivil public. The political atmosphere is defined by a growing polarization of views, a rigidity of ideals financed by special interests groups invested in the continuing sale of guns indiscriminately. The senseless adherence to a malignant status quo is solidified by the indoctrination of American to the media, a medium controlled by conservative capitalists The American people, mimicking the propaganda, are not thinking pragmatically; rather, they are merely regurgitating the manipulation of ideas on television. With the reverberating shocks of this tragedy consuming society, proliferating fears that many seem logical and others not, the media has seized its target audience by reminiscing of years of past violence, political discourse over gun control, and the fear of mental instability. As the deliberation over fun control circulated in the media and political arena, gun control advocates have pleaded to the President to assert executive powers and reinstate an assault weapons ban as part of a comprehensive plan to address gun violence. Efforts to restrict the sale and distribution of guns is targeting the so-called ‘gun show loophole’ which has allowed people to buy weapons without background checks. There are also talks of restricting high-capacity ammunition clips, as Adam Lanza carried hundreds of rounds of ammunition in extra clips and shot his victims repeatedly, one of them 11 times. Nevertheless, fun control advocates need to realize that banning firearms is never going to happen. Representative Steve LaTourette, a Ohio Republican, has openly stated that many Republicans will never address gun control. Coupled together with formidable force of lobbying groups advocating the Second Amendment to its fullest extent, the political arena will not be able to institute a ban on firearms. America’s powerful gun industry lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, has 4 million members and spend $57 million in a given year in efforts to mobilize members for political purposes. The Sunlight Foundation reports that the NRA spends 66 times what leading pro-gun control advocacy organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Fun Violence, spend on lobbying, and 4,143 times what the Brady Campaign spends on elections.
“Alright! I’ve stood by and I’ve cried while friends have died. You ever have a friends kill themselves, shot down or knifed? Just when I think I’ve seen it, for the final time, it comes knocking back around to devastate my life.” – Anti-Flag, “20 Years of Hell”
The proliferation of gun ownership in society is leaving everyone vulnerable and American civilian gun ownership is the highest worldwide, with the Small Arms Survey 2007 estimating 88 weapons per 100 people. In Chicago alone, gun-related deaths exceed one a day. More Chicago dissidents are shot and killed than US forces in Afghanistan. The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was ‘ranked’ third deadliest in US history. The second worst occurred in Blacksburg, VA on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s campus. On April 16, 2007, 33 students and teachers were short and killed, many more were injured. In January 1923, shootings and other violence killed 150 African Americans in Rosewood, FL. Numerous other gun-related massacres pockmark US history. The right to own, conceal and use assault and other deadly weapons is an ugly American tradition. Nevertheless, the right to own guns it enshrined in the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment and inextricably linked in the national consciousness to the manner of the country’s founding. It is the fetishistic attachment to gun rights – cutting across party lines with polls showing that the majority of Americans favor private ownership – and the highly romanticized view on the individual against the world it engenders that are consolidating the pro-gun stance. As such, the reality of the mass murders has left a resonating echo – the assault on politicians Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head while 6 bystanders were killed, the Aurora shooting where a gunman killed 12 at a cinema, the Wisconsin gurdwara attack murdering six and now the Newtown Elementary school. In a CNN conducted survey Jackson Memorial Hospital was chosen for a study on treated gun-related injuries. In one year, the hospital treated over 600 patients for gun-related injuries, which is more than the entirety of Britain for 10 years. Additionally, children between the ages 5 to 14 are 13 times more likely to be murdered by guns in America than in any other industrialized country. As such, the necessity of gun regulations is evident and the American people need to adhere to their own moral code, rather than the proliferation of profit-oriented noise on multi-media assets. If people all over the world are better able to protect and ensure the safety of their children, than the land of freedom and democracy should also be able to do the same. The current inability to do so is evidence of the decay of moral fiber in the American nation, as well as the greed inherent to politics that has allowed special interest groups to pilfer the nation. American communities are unsafe and once again, the youth and innocence of the future generation is being jeopardized and dissolved by the perpetuation of desensitizing materials in society and the realistic threat of death that endangers the children.
“It’s not night, it’s not day. It’s no more, for an unfortunate soul who witnessed his life violently erased, from the horror of the human race.” – Anti-Flag, “Hymn for the Dead”
In retrospect, the American nation has placed profit over safety, facilitating endemic violence instead of acting responsibly to curb it, thus aiding in the self-destructing cycle of lost innocence. The government, through its inaction and invested lobbyists groups, essentially endorses easy access to dangerous assault and other deadly weapons, once again aiding in the murdering of America’s children. Against this backdrop, it is no wonder that massacres like Norwalk CT, Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Atlanta GA stock trader killings, 6 deaths at Ft Worth, 10 Washington DC sniper shootings, a Carnation WA Christmas eve massacre, Northern IL University killings, 13 deaths at Ft Hood, the Tuscon AR incident killing 6 and leaving Gabrielle Giffords seriously wounded, as well as dozens more incidents too many to mention. On average, 8 times more fatalities result from gun violence than in other developed countries. For children under 15, it’s 12 times higher. With the weight of society pulling against the youth, domestic violence is becoming evident in younger and younger citizens. In 2004, eigth-grader Jaime Rodrigo Gough was stabbed to death in a bathroom by his fellow student, Michael Hernandez. In Miami Lakes Educational Center on the 18th of December, a 16-year-old student was arrested after stating his intention to target his own school through gun violence and expressed an interest in usurping attention away from the Newtown shooting with his own horrific acts. Gun violence is resulting in the dissolution of the peace and civility that the American nation has so proudly propagated. The tragedy of recent events is not solely the events of one school, it’s an unceasing toll across the country that is resulting in a denigration of generations.