LETTER: We Need to Empower Ourselves Against Becoming Victims


One crazed, evil individual caused irreparable damage to a school, a town, a nation, a world. We feel compelled to act, to do something, anything, in the face of this horrific act. But an emotional reaction only gives up our power into the hands of the sick perpetrator of this crime. Do we really want him to control our future actions, behaviors, and laws? Do we really want a psychotic to decide what we will allow ourselves as a nation to do?

An individual using a particular weapon caused this tragedy, not law-abiding citizens, not an industry, and not the weapon by itself. The individual had to load it, aim it, and pull its trigger twenty-something times. The weapon could not do that on its own. Yet, since the killer killed himself, we are deprived of a villain to take our anger out on. So some choose to blame the tool, rather than the demon who misused it so viciously. The gun is ugly and convenient, so why not blame it? If we ban that ugly gun, no further tragedies like this will happen. At least, that’s what we hope and pray.

But that does not stop the next deranged individual from selecting a different weapon and slaughtering school children, or moviegoers, or people in a fast food restaurant, or a subway, or two skyscrapers. No matter how much our hearts long to prevent the next tragedy, we cannot, unless we can read the mind of a sick individual.

Doing something, anything, feels better than doing nothing. But what does it accomplish to pass a law that addresses the actions of an already-dead murderer? We as a nation would do far better to empower ourselves against becoming victims.

Debbie Burke