Newtown Tragedy: Broken Hearts & Guilt of Survival

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Philadelphia – One crisp morning in December gave a big jolt of terror in Newtown, Connecticut that brought America down to her knees and tremors were felt around the world like a Tsunami.

A young man, Adam Lanza in his early twenties, carried out the carnage in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. In matter of minutes, he gunned down 26 people including 20 children barely under age of seven years. He had his first victim at his home when he killed his own mother, Nancy Lanza before arriving at school and he killed himself at the school after committing this horrific act of mass murders. 

Newtown joined the ranks of many deadliest shootings in past half century from University of Texas in Austin, Texas to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Newtown is the latest addition and it would not be the last in the line, unfortunately.

America is completely numbed with the horrific nature of this event because it involved the killing of 20 kids who didn’t begin their schooling life yet. They were all under seven years of age. The dreams of their parents to see them growing into adulthood with success, happiness & living life at the fullest died on that tragic day when Adam Lanza snuffed those tender lives instantaneously.  

It was an all American nightmare as it has taken the shield of security away from their family. We mourn as a whole nation & entire world collectively for the innocence robbed in the loss of most innocent faces by senseless criminal act in Newtown. There is total darkness in the field of dreams today.  

Our nation had gone through so many convulsions in series of such events that it had affected our sensors on safety, security & family values, which are directly linked to true freedom of life. It is time to turn all pending debates into meaningful resolutions. It will be the real homage to the lost lives in Newtown today.

Debates in legislative bodies will echo the simmering demands of public voice for a while and will die down in a slow death later. They will be politicized with slogans around guns, NRA, victims of mass murders, school safety protocols etc. without expanding the scope on dynamics of entire event. Ignoring all issues of the day that crops up such horrific events & keeping malaise chronically alive, are less than honest for any debate. Yes, we need to move beyond the Gun debate now.

Our past is a history now, but actions in present would determine how we would march with the world as an integral part in its future. Let us examine our attitude towards guns and society-at-large briefly.

In past half century, there are about a score of worst mass shootings happened around the globe & half of the events were credited to US, out of which five events took place in past five years.

There are about sixty mass killings happened in US in past thirty years in almost 30 states around the nation. In most cases, young male was involved in crimes with firearms obtained legally. As the trend suggests, our schools and colleges have become vulnerable targets for such random shootings and it is a rare phenomenon for a nation around the globe.

Look at the other side of the issue where stricter gun control yields more positive results to the public safety issues. Japan offers almost “No firearms” in public domain. They have envious record of statistical data on homicide with firearms. When US had over 12 thousands deaths in this category in 2008, Japan recorded only eleven deaths in the same year. In the year 2006, they had astonishing number of only two deaths to report in the whole nation. The fact remains that Japan does not allow her citizens to own guns in normal circumstances.

If citizens of Japan can sleep peacefully without having guns under the pillow, what stops America to end the gun battles played every day in urban jungles from Camden and Detroit to Houston and Miami?

When we waste our energy in this “Gun debate,” we forget that we scratch the issue on surface only like blind mice touching the tail of an elephant. In all these mass killings, most killers have some sketchy background of broken homes, mental health issues or rejection from society as much as we see with clarity on complete innocence of all the victims in all tragedies. We would certainly yield more on constructive solutions on violence, mental health, education, uplifting the under privileged class to productive citizens and even frustrating drug wars in inner cities, if this gun debate is expanded and probed in its entirety. 

On one side we like to protect our family, community & friends by demanding rights to possess firearms and it is fine. On the other hand, we are unable to keep the promise on safety of citizens. Guns are becoming a confused target in debate. We may lose our will to break the cycle of violence in one of the longest wars, which we have fought on domestic soil for so long.

Remembering a quote from Mahatma Gandhi would not hurt our spirit to comprehend our task on well-being of our society.

“Ill-digested principles are, if anything, worse than ill-digested food, for the latter harms the body and there is a cure for it, whereas the former ruins the soul and there is no cure for it.”

There is always a hope in every tragedy to find the way out of darkness. We will find our way rightly so on time before guns flood our neighborhood streets. 

Kirit Desai
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Kirit Desai  had post graduate degrees from India & USA both - in multiple disciplines. After spending almost 30 years in R & D (as Research Scientist) and research management at a prestigeous Ivy League University, moved into Financial field for past decade & enjoys reading/writing in international business, politics, sports and science/technology. He lives in Delaware valley near Philadelphia.

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