Tuesday, October 03, 2006

School Shootings

Impossible to comprehend the enormity of acts like the one yesterday in that little schoolroom in the peaceful Amish countryside of Pennsylvania, Bush. Five little girls killed! The human mind reaches for explanations and solutions where there are none. Some will want to explain it as an act of pure evil. I don't see it that way. I see it as the unpredictable--and therefore unavoidable--result of some awful kink in a human mind, a piece of wiring gone horribly wrong. Even the search for psychological or emotional explanations will prove eventually futile. A twenty-year old grudge? A childhood wound? We all have them, don't we? But not all of us wake up one day with the notion to go out and kill children. We may not want to think so, but acts such as these, I believe, are essentially inexplicable--at least given our present state of understanding of our complex, unpredictable selves.

There will be no shortage of solutions proffered by those who think they can protect us. We will agonize over whether our children are safe in their schools. Some will blame the availablity of guns and urge stricter laws. As you'll probably guess, Bush, I myself favor a more rational approach to gun laws than those which permit the wide availability of lethal weapons to those who use them for criminal or hate-filled purposes. I believe we have far too many of them in the hands of those who lack the responsibility to use them wisely. But I suspect that stricter gun laws would not have prevented this tragedy from happening.

Some will blame the lack of protection for our children and call for metal detectors at every door to every school, for the ubiquitous presence of armed guards and security personnel... Their goal is total immunity from risk and danger, the cocooning of our children--indeed, of our society--until we are all so protected from others and ourselves that we will have sacrificed every freedom that we have. They, too, are wrong. Obsessed as we are by the dangers that threaten us at every turn, we will never achieve the guaranteed safety that we seem, as a society, to demand. Something, inevitably, will go wrong. A fuse will blow, either on the circuit that controls the electrical security fence or in some fragile human mind, and tragedy will ensue.

We are right to be astounded and appalled by such incomprehensible events, whether man-made or natural. Where we err, I think, is in the arrogant belief that we have the power to completely control them or prevent them. In the memorable words of one who should have done much more, and was empowered to do much more to prevent tragedy, "Stuff happens." He was right in his assertion. He was wrong to use it as an excuse for a lack of foresight and an abdication of responsibility. Somewhere there is a middle path between irresponsibility and acceptance.

In cirumstances of this kind, however, we can do little other than mourn the cruel and senseless loss of life. It is, in a word, a tragedy. And tragedy, by definition, transcends the comfortable world of rational explanations.

9 comments:

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Yes, sad. Poor kids. To me the Amish represent the true peaceful teachings of Christianity. What we do know of the Amish is that they would not want revenge or any such concept. They have no ridiculous "eye for an eye" belief system, only peace at any expense.

However, how can we as a society condemn this act, when our leaders unleash the most powerful killing force ever devised by humans on millions of people who have never done a thing to us (Iraqis) and some blood thirsty Americans even cheer and root our soldiers on. Amazing to me.

Is it no wonder that America is the most violent "industrialized" country on Earth, since our leaders are among the worst of the worst.

PK said...

I've seen a couple of specials on the Amish. One not so good. They are a closed society, a lot happens behind the facade of peace and Christianity. And yes Gringo, it is peace, at any expense... even at the point of the husband taking his daughter to bed, or brother bedding down his sister. Every time they do it, they confess, they are forgiven... just to go do it again. It is sad what happened, but it will happen again.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK: You could find examples of those crimes you listed in any religion or social setting whether they are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or Atheist. May I just mention Catholic preachers. Touche? Only Christians think they can do anything and be forgiven, not Muslims or Jews. Sounds more like Satan then God to me and I'm sure Satan is all for Christianity.

Another very good thing about the Amish, besides forgiveness and non-violence, is that they refuse to force a child to be baptized. Only adults of age can make the decision to be baptized. They will not do such an arrogant action to a helpless child.

These people just do not want to be part of the sexual, materialistic, revenge oriented and greedy aspects of the rest of society. So yes, they close their society to these sins. Nothing wrong with that. Any Amish person at age 18 decides whether they wish to stay or enter the outside world.

PK said...

I don't argue your point Gringo:), I'm not christian, although was one in very young years, and catholic at that:). That was not because Mother wanted it that way. When you are spit upon and called names, etc., well, she did it to keep the peace. We lived in a tiny town in Venezuela on the Orinoco. Only one of my children is baptized, she went and had it done herself, I don't believe in it either:). And yes, they alow the 18 year old out to find out about life, such as it is. I'm not disputing that. The one thing I find reprehensible in that closed community is the men taking advantage of the women, at thier leisure, especially the little ones. And, they know no different because it is a closed community. If my Father, God forbid, raped me at 9-twelve, I would guarantee his incarceration for as long as the law would allow! Not go to the elders once caught, confess, be pious for the day, and go back the next night and do it again. Not to mention for years. You honestly, in your heart, feel there is nothing wrong with that, that it's alright Gringo? Just asking...

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK: Not sure if I understand your question. I think diddling little boys or girls is illegal and should be punished by the law. The Amish do have laws.

I just dont like a whole community being condemned because a few criminals in any given community behave that way or because a movie made by, sounds like, some hateful people who dislike those who are different says something is true.

In every neighborhood on Earth there are criminals who sleep with their children. It is not an Amish behavior anymore then it is an American or Christian or Mexican behavior. In fact, I could easily argue that the Amish have a much lower crime rate then the rest of USA and diddle their children less then most Americans. Heck, look at who murdered who.

All societies are closed, hence the definition of any society. They all have boundaries or they would not be a unique society.

Ohhh I see, when I said the Amish want "peace at any expense" is what you did not like. I think if an Amish person commits a crime like murder or rape, they are banished from the community.

To think that the Amish humans do not love their children any less then you do is stretching it pretty far, dont you think?

PK said...

Hi Gringo:), no this wasn't a 'movie', this was a documentary I saw. And no, they aren't expelled from the community. I agree with you on the points you bring up. But I'm not discussing all other people, or communities. Only the Amish. Yes, there are many Amish communities that are commendable, I'm not saying there aren't, some are exemplary. Yes, it would be wrong to axe all for a couple of bad communities. What I'm saying is, unless you get a runaway girl child, even male child, because of the closed community, these atrocities continue. No one is punished unless someone from the community exits and goes to the police, and no one will do it, they don't know any different. The only way they know is if they talk to someone outside the community and find out it's not normal for this to happen. But they are not allowed to talk to outsiders. One of the girls who told her story had been bedded not only by her Father, but all three of her brothers. She wasn't supposed to talk to outsiders but she was in such emotional pain she asked another girl what she should do, well needless to say all 4 got prison, and she wasn't welcome back into the community, ever. She got a job, got her sister out of there, went to a shrink, etc., long docu. Please try to understand what I'm saying:).

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK: I understand what you are saying, I just do not believe it is any more widespread there, then in "the outside" world. In fact, I would say in a close knit community things like this are NOT permitted, when compared to a community where no one knows each other, people never help each other or visit their neighbors or care about their neighbors.

Any child who is being abused is scared to tell anyone, does not know if it is wrong and does not have the power to stop it, which is why it continues and is kept a secret in most families, no matter what family/society they live in. That is why most abusers are never jailed and the child grows up and that is that.

Again, the Catholic church has diddled more boys then the Amish I would wager. Who was punished then in your open society and how could it continue? Heck, look at the "outsider" who killed and wanted to diddle the school girls beforehand. Was he Amish? No.

I'm sure I could find a member of many peoples families who have diddled a child at some time but I would not say that the entire extended family permits and approves of this.

Just curious, did the documentary have anything positive to say about the Amish or was it simply hateful of anyone who is different then the typical greedy, sex obsessed, materialistic, war mongering "normal" population, who say they believe in peace but bomb others and hate anyone who does not wish to live like them in a capitalistic money oriented society?

Lets see a documentary that shows how the Amish are more peaceful, commit less murder, rape, theft, drug use ect.. then the rest of USA not to mention less polluting, kinder to the environment, kinder to animals and kinder to those who are different then them. That would be a more realistic documentary.

By the way, sounds like the little girl you mentioned got help and people were jailed. I cannot say that people in the outside world are caught anymore then people in the Amish community. Most crimes like this are never reported in either society or stopped until the child grows up and that is that.

PK said...

Yes Gringo:), I have seen good documentaries. On all communities.. Have a peace filled day Gringo...

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK, I'm sorry if I ranted, I just have a hard time when other societies are put down, especially if the other human/society does not have a voice to be heard.

Throughout history, the minority humans/minority cultures have been condemned with hateful words and the normal crimes of humanity are used to demean them all; whether it is Indians, Mexicans, Mormons, Muslims, Baptists, Blacks, Jews ect...

For me to say this is crazy, as I am usually negative, but maybe we should look at the positive instead of the negative in people:)

PS. Did you hear that money was raised for the Amish families? Welllllll, the Amish families decided to share the money with the perpetrator's family? Pretty nice:)