Our nation’s moral compass is askew
To the editor:
As I started to reflect upon the evil at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, my first response to the revulsion was: Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Next, I listened to the talking heads on television. They proffered a multitude of possible causes — the availability of assault rifles, violent video games, glamorizing death and destruction in film and on television, mental health issues, particularly an apparent absence of adequate care, etc. The one question that was never asked could be the most important: Why are these military-style weapons being purchased in such great quantities by American citizens?
I visited a number of gun shops subsequent to the Newtown massacre of innocents and their teachers. I asked the patrons about the impetus for their purchases. The response, to a man, was: “I don’t trust my government.” They were not referring to state and local government but to the federal government. This raised another question: Why don’t these people trust their government?
Was it something in the nation’s past: the Vietnam War, students killed by the National Guard at Kent State University or Jackson State University, giving syphilis to black men in the South, a virus planted in subways to test its spread, giving LSD to unwitting American soldiers, Watergate, the Chicago Police riot, propping up dictators for moneyed or political interests, overthrowing foreign governments, etc.? Perhaps it was recent events: invading a country pre-emptively for contrived reasons, protracted wars, a two-term president who some claim was never elected, the Supreme Court usurping the franchise of the American people and holding its own election by crowning Bush II in a 5-to-4 decision, Citizens United, torturing prisoners, renditions, creating “Homeland” Security since “Fatherland” and “Motherland” were already taken, cameras popping up everywhere, abrogation of constitutional rights to assembly and habeas corpus, special ops forces and tactical teams who look like the U.S. military in our streets, bailing out banks with the people’s money, literally holding hands with the Saudi king, corporate subsidies for the oil companies, sanctioning the outsourcing of American jobs, interminable gridlock in the best Congress money can buy, peaceful and unarmed protesters being pepper-sprayed and clubbed in the streets, the NSA intercepting phone calls, the FBI’s carnivore computer program intercepting emails, an economy teetering on the brink of collapse, on and on ad infinitum.