BY DON SORCHYCH | JANUARY 16, 2013
Logic escapes us
Wednesday morning, Dec. 19, 2012, the Vice President was put in charge of a commission to come up with answers, in a month, to the mass shooting in Newtown. The time frame is ludicrous for such a complex problem. I sincerely hope that experts, not politicians, are on this commission.
Why does it happen? What can we do? Won’t anything work? Human behavior, especially bad behavior, has vexed us for thousands of years. No matter how you view “The Ten Commandments” or their origins, they clearly show that over three thousand years ago humans were deeply concerned about bad behavior. The commandments were as valid then as they are now. So, when an incident such as Newtown occurs we still ask the same questions and seek answers. Modern humans, because they consider themselves sophisticated, expect quick and absolute solutions. Yet, we refuse to look at what has occurred over the expanse of the past 60 years that has brought us to this point.
The dissolution of the family can be viewed as one of the root causes for inexcusable actions by our citizens. Over the past 60 years in the U.S., single mother births have gone from less than 5 percent in the general population to over 40 percent. We hold neither the male nor the female accountable for their actions. We excuse the behavior and, in fact, reward the behavior with monetary recompense. The nuclear family has been fractured yet we are not alarmed.
There is good and evil in all human endeavors. There is no excuse for bad behavior yet we continue to attempt to find excuses for it. The difference between right and wrong has been diluted. The use of “expletive delete” language is a classic example. Bad public behavior is rewarded; look at “Hollywood”, “the sports world”, “the media”, “education leadership”, “political leadership”, “military leadership” and “wall street” where lying, cheating and stealing has become, if not acceptable, then common behavior. All individuals must be held accountable for their actions; the higher the level of the miscreant the more accountability the society should demand.
In the 1970’s we shuttered mental institutions which had despicable conditions and we main streamed the patients rather than cleaning up the mess; we abandoned the patients. We covered our eyes thinking the problem would go away. There are mentally impaired individuals now left to wander among us with few places to turn to for help. The problem has been dumped on the families to solve yet it is beyond the capabilities of most. The institutions must be rebuilt, better equipped, better managed, held accountable and made available to those in need. In some instances, society must insist on institutionalization of these individuals.
Our schools have a fortress mentality and rightfully so yet we provide no means for the adults in these schools to defend themselves or their students. After 9-11, a program was started to arm pilots in the cockpit; it was voluntary, with psychological profiling of applicants and appropriate training and arming. This program should be made available by the states to their school systems. Armed guards provided by local law enforcement should be funded and made available to all schools.
Violence has become entertainment. Due to modern technology and a relaxing of censorship standards, violence is portrayed graphically in the movies, on TV and in video games; what you see is clinically presented not as the horror that it is. We are doing great harm to those among us who cannot distinguish between the real and the non-real. As a society we must regain some control of these industries. It is obvious they are incapable of controlling themselves.
The media explodes on us 24/7 with a constant assault of bad behavior. The assumption by the viewer is that this in the norm. The news consists of horrific auto accidents, murders, robberies and other inane human acts with virtually little in the way of positive events. The view is of a disintegrating society. I venture to say that in reality good news is more prevalent than bad news. Just tell the real story.
The Internet allows the dregs of society to communicate amongst themselves and with innocents. They actually feel their aberrant behavior is normal as they communicate with other deviants. These individuals need to be exposed and punished. Accountability for actions should be the rule not the exception.
The knee jerk reaction to every mass shooting is gun control. The word “control” is a misnomer; the talk of assault weapons is vague but eye catching. Yet we do need to take some measures. Common sense should prevail. I am member of the NRA, I have owned and used firearms since I was 13 and am now 73. I served our country in the USMC for 20 years and I have been in combat. I have a conceal carry permit. I am an expert marksman. For magazines with greater capacity than 10 rounds, there should be special permits just as there are for automatic weapons. I see no reason why there should not be a background check on anyone purchasing a weapon in any environment. It is the digital age; this requirement should not present a major problem. The real problem will always be the human problem; this is the area where we are failing.
The truth is violent crime is down across the board in the U.S.; it has been declining for the past 20 plus years. Can we improve? Yes. Should we improve? Yes. Can we achieve perfection? No. There is no “silver bullet” answer. But we need to do this as adults. The institutions that have made our country great in the past need to rise up to help: Families, Religions, Communities, Schools and Government. Logic escapes us.