Think About It……. March 12, 2014
Every week there’s a sound bite that I just can’t do justice to. Someone says something from their guts that makes you stop and listen.
Here’s this week…
UAA Student: “If SB 176 gets passed, if I do happen to see someone with a weapon on campus, I will not be able to do anything, nor will our police department, until they actually commit the crime.”
Can you hear this young woman’s pain? Soon, she might not be able to stop people from acting illegally before they commit crimes.
Forgive me if I tend towards the sarcastic on this one, I’m trying really hard here. You see, I thought one of our fundamental beliefs in the United States was that you’re innocent until proven guilty… or at the very least you’re innocent until you commit a crime. But this young student – and she was certainly not alone – is terrified that we’re actually going to let people do bad things before we start punishing them.
The reason this gets to me is that I know where she’s coming from. Why would we let someone commit a crime? Especially one we can prevent with a simple rule. The world is such a dangerous place, and you can’t trust people – or even yourself – to always be able to do the right thing.
I listened to testimony on SB 176 and heard these ideas over and over. Remember, I grew up in a country where guns were banned in the late 90’s. It was taken for granted that the government, and the powers that be, should protect us from one another (and from ourselves).
This is shocking, because it takes away the core principle of what it means to be human: you are responsible for what you do and who you are.
We’re replacing trust with laws designed to insulate every person from hurting someone else.
You know the number one cause of death and disease? Hurt. Think about it… why do people commit suicide? Why do they flip out and go shoot other people? Why do we cause ourselves health issues by bingeing on food or alcohol that’s not good for us, or waste thousands of dollars on things we don’t really need? We’re trying desperately not to feel hurt. We’ll do anything to escape it.
How’s that working out?
For the first time, the father of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, spoke at length to a journalist this week. The eight-page article ended with a nightmare Peter Lanza just had. A dark figure stood in a doorway and shook the door violently, hands upraised. It was Adam. Peter was bewildered. He was terrified, and couldn’t understand it. He said later that he must have been experiencing what Adam’s victim’s felt. But I have a different take on it. He felt what his son felt, all day every day, from the time he woke up, all the way through his midnight dreams. Until he just couldn’t take it anymore.
We pass laws to stop the Adam Lanza’s of the world doing what Adam Lanza did. We diagnose them and insulate them and hope to God they never do the very thing we basically expect them to do. And then this attitude spreads. We take away fireworks because a child once died in a freak accident. We take away guns. We put speed limiters on sports cars and we toughen the penalties for drunk drivers. We ban smoking because Grandma died of lung cancer, and then we ban e-cigs because they might encourage someone to smoke. This whole time, we’re all participating in this same fear, that one day somebody might hurt us in the most vulnerable way.
But then it all falls apart. The point of what Adam Lanza did was that it had to be illegal. It had to be a monstrosity. It had to be on a scale and depth that rippled around the world. He had to get it out. You can’t pass enough laws to stop someone hell-bent on breaking them.
You can’t stop the chance that you’ll be hurt by telling other people what to do. You can make a stand for what is pure and true and refuse to let your life be dictated by fear. Otherwise, the fear has already won.
Think About It! Catie Quinn 03-12-14