The Christmas holidays are a time to wish for a peaceful world. However, for many Americans, because of firearms, they became a time to lose the spirit of celebration or even their lives.
This Christmas, seen through the eyes of the memory of the school massacre in Newtown, offers a different sensibility to gun incidents that happen daily. And boy did they happen in these days!
In New York state, two firefighters were murdered when responding to a fire by an ex-con armed with the same rifle as the one used in Newtown. On Monday, two police officers were killed in Wisconsin and Texas. In Chicago, four people died in two incidents that left more than 17 wounded. In other parts of the country, from Oakland, California to Tabor City, North Carolina, numerous discussions between acquaintances, friends, relatives and spouses were resolved with shots, leaving behind people dead, wounded, arrested and fugitive.
The authors of these incidents could not be more different. The only thing they have in common is the possession–legal or illegal–of a weapon used against the other person. There were criminals, who possibly got hold of weapons owned lawfully by someone else. In other cases, “good guys” as defined by the National Rifle Association, turned “bad” when they became emotionally unbalanced.
Without a doubt, the culture of our society has much to do with the level of violence. We can talk about videos and movies that praise shootings, but that same culture also maintains an accessible worship of firearms. This is an almost irrational feeling, like the one that multiplied sales of the AR-15 rifle used in Newtown, for fear of it being banned.
It can be said that Christmas, with all its human warmth, was one more day in the U.S. in which families mourned the tragic death of a loved one.
We hope the Newtown tragedy does not disappear from the public consciousness like the 11 previous massacres that happened in 2012, in which one person killed several others in a public place. Let it remind us that, despite constitutional limits, much can be done to introduce rationality into today’s politically irrational views on firearms.