EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 31, 2013

Column: We cannot let time soften the impact of Newtown


They can’t spend money fast enough trying to suppress reasonable discussion on limitations. The NRA chorus is singing from their traditional hymnal — the golden oldies play list — including “They’re going to take our guns away” and “Guns don’t kill people…” They continue to be popular with the true believers who live for and not just in the gun culture. They have been singing along as the surge in gun sales and ammunition following Newtown will attest.

The NRA augment that gun laws will never stop mass killings is not a rationale for the status quo. Accepting this as a premise to the debate is a fallacy of false choice. As a society, we don’t have to choose between preventing all or preventing none.

In the wake of Newtown, there is the all consuming need to do something, to not feel powerless when either rational intent or the psychic chaos of an individual inflicts itself on our most vulnerable — the essence of innocence.

The NRA’s shallow response to gun violence — the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun — has a parallel in the nuclear arms race. Our inability to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons — now within the reach of terrorist and rogue nations — like the proliferation of guns has made us less safe. Just as having more nuclear bombs than the other nations has only complicated the problem, having more guns is not a solution.

The 30,000 gun deaths annually, like the gun fire incessantly echoing around Harold Parker, are the background noise that we habituate to and don’t notice unless it affects us personally. Virginia Tech, Aurora and Columbine get our attention but fade with time. Newtown needs to be the existential rupture that changes this too often repeated dynamic.

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