NewtownIt’s not been so different from other parts of the country these past few days in Connecticut. We’ve followed the story on screens, talked about it among ourselves, said the things that everybody’s saying. But geography alters the point of view.

There’s your next-door neighbor who grew up in Newtown; your friend who works at Mass Mutual with a colleague who lives there now; your friend who teaches at the University of St. Joseph, which lost one of their own, a stellar student who had just started an internship at Sandy Hook Elementary. This time it was our state, a town like ours, people we know or who know people we know.

We think of ourselves as common-sense folks, not very demonstrative but with plenty of civic pride. We are not easily thrown, and continue to call ourselves the land of steady habits. When evil occurs–and we’ve had our share of it–we do not let it deter us from doing the right thing. This year, in the wake of one of the most terrible home invasion crimes in American history, we went ahead and abolished the state’s death penalty.

We’re attached to our public schools. We fund them well, and they repay us by doing a fine job of educating our children. The claim, made on Friday by Mike Huckabee, that what happened in Newtown was somehow the result of the Supreme Court’s ending school prayer a half century ago, makes no sense to us. We will have no interest in arming school principals, as suggested by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Adam Lanza’s mother was, it seems, a survivalist who stockpiled weapons against what she believed was the coming collapse of society. Lanza himself–afflicted with some kind of personality disorder–went with her to practice at shooting ranges.

The survivalist point of view is encouraged by the likes of Huckabee and Gohmert. As we go about strengthening our gun laws here, we will be trying to hold it at bay.

Categories: Culture

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

1 Comment

  1. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Since the only way to eliminate guns from private possession is to have the police invade each home, in total violation of our rights under the 4th Amendment, the lawful alternative is to give our schoolchildren the same physical protection that we give our courthouses and our government offices, all the way up to Congress and the White House. Pay the capital cost of security equipment at the entrance to each school, and pay the cost of a trained, armed security guard. That system works. There were armed attacks on Congress in the past, but that is much more unlikely now with the beefed up security systems and staff. It can be supplemented by common sense measures like lockable, bulletproof doors on classrooms and a two way intercom system connected to the internet that will let other people in the building, and the police, know where attackers are.

    These are simple things we know how to do, and that do not violate the right of citizens to defend themselves and their families against attack.

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