The arms-industry backers of the National Rifle Association and their bought proxies in Congress can drink a silent toast to Mr Lanza.
Where can anyone stand, ethically, in the face of a ghastly tragedy like the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut?
Predictably, against backdrop footage of an eye-dabbing President Obama, column-miles and whole air-days have been filled globally with pundits speculating that now would (or would not) be a good time to tighten-up the infamously lax gun control laws in America. And all the reader, the viewer, can think is, here we go again. Is there not a God? (Actually, there is, but He’s not real… sorry.)
With 300 MILLION licensed guns in the USA, what conceivable “tightening-up” of the gun laws is going to prevent some deranged, whingeing teenager from getting hold of his mom’s arsenal of lethal assault weapons, that she presumably bought so she could protect her precious child from imaginary enemies, and using it to cut out the beating heart of his community in revenge for some imagined slight?
Obama could dramatically increase the chances of his being assassinated before leaving office by decreeing a total ban on the sale and possession of guns of every kind, with a six-weeks’ amnesty giving people time to hand-in their Saturday-night specials and their must-have Glocks, their H-K 416 carbines and their rocket grenade launchers before a mandatory minimum two-year gaol sentence becomes Federal law.
It won’t make the slightest difference. The Good Ol’ Boys won’t pass it. No-one would do it, anyway. The US Constitution is as fundamental as the Q’uran, when it suits America’s paranoid rednecks (who need no encouragement from arms-industry lobbyists) to cherrypick its more anachronistic prescriptions. And it is sadly true that “responsible gun owners” are, by and large, not the Ritalin-damaged smalltown college kids and brooding scout-hut caretakers who end up committing these self-centred suicidal atrocities.
So, fundamentally, where can we stand, when the Weeping President next gives the order to a computer-game wonk in a bunker under Virginia to blow up more live children with a Hellfire missile from an unmanned drone cruising high over Waziristan?
What will he say to the grieving mothers then? Happy Christmas? We’re doing it for you?
We need something far larger to stop this happening in future, but I fear we never shall. The Massacre of the Innocents is a cultural meme with complex ramifications. Child sacrifice is an ancient rite going back to the Carthaginian holocaust and beyond, into mythology. We first have to accept that what Adam Lanza did is inherently a part of us all, not just an inexplicable anomaly, a random act of unparallelled “evil” that is “out there” somewhere in the dark, that we need to arm ourselves against.
Because all that the Sandy Hooks and the Columbines, the Dunblanes and the Utoya Island massacre by Anders Breivik ever manage to achieve, all the gun killings and the wasted potential of young lives, is, far from disarming communities, to heighten the state of fear and paranoia and to surely bring about the more widespread acquisition and potential misuse of ever-more lethal weapons of “deterrence”.
The arms-industry backers of the National Rifle Association and their bought proxies in Congress can drink a silent toast to Mr Lanza for what he will have achieved this Christmas in Connecticut. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.
* I don’t claim to be any kind of seer, but a week after this Post we read that gun sales are soaring and the President of the NRA has made a speech predictably calling for the arming of primary school teachers, on the grounds that gun ownership is a deterrent to gun crime.