Since the horrendous event in the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut happened, the news media is giving us more information than we need to know.
Across the country our hearts are broken and stupefied at how anyone under any circumstances can be reduced to such mindless, inhuman ferocity. One thing that seems to dominate media conversations is why this type of thing seems to be growing. We scarcely get through with one episode and we are catapulted into another. I do not wish to treat the Sandy Hook matter lightly, but I think the media and entertainment industry have a lot to do with the sensationalism that surrounds these affairs, and may even be an influence that encourages them. One thing that has grown by leaps and bounds is our ability of instantaneous, world-wide communication. If someone burps in Tasmania, and the media can make it sound exciting, they will be sure to do so.
The problem seems to be too many people with minds that do not respect reality are roaming publicly, and periodically devastate others whether singly or in groups. The Collins and Gowanda prisons were once hospitals that housed and looked after the mindless according to their needs. Then I suppose for economical reasons they closed these hospitals down, and favor less expensive remedies for the mentally incapable, which allows them more freedom. This is an element that is not mentioned at all in the many discussions of what is causing it all.
Maybe I'm stupid, which I'm sure many of you have already decided before reading this, but aren't the dominant elements in these affairs today always some person who should rightly be more closely supervised, and not necessarily left to his/her own devises or solutions to the rampaging that runs through their distorted minds?
Of course, guns in the hands of maniacs can be dangerous, but so can the jawbones of asses, as Cain so clearly demonstrated in the Garden of Eden in slaying his brother Abel. As they say, "Where there's a will there's a way." People have been butchering other people since the beginning of people. It is reckless, shallow thinking to treat all of society with the same rules needed to maintain civility among the simple minded. Perhaps we should revert back to the general supervised care of the mentally unstable.
It seems strange that when someone is accused of murder, if he can claim insanity, he will go for treatment rather than prison. I think that anyone who murders for his own personal benefit, other than self defense, is suffering from insanity. That's one reason why such prisons can be sometimes difficult to control. The fact that we call them correctional institutions is wishful thinking at best.
We misuse freedom. We are the pioneers of freedom in America. We teach our children that they can be whatever they want to be. We must become more diligent in pointing out to them that while they have freedom of choice, they inevitably will have to bear the effects of those choices just as we all must do. If we fail to teach self-discipline to our children, we will have to witness the results of their undisciplined choices.
People are always wondering why a loving God would allow some of the things that happen. We have been given the intelligence and ability to make our own decisions.
That's a requirement of freedom. We have not been given a net under our trapeze to forgive our mistakes. Without correction, or the need for caution, we would never learn. If we think it is only proper and passionate to allow mentally unstable people to roam freely, we must accept the results of that decision. When someone goes nuts and jumps out the window, if he lands on some innocent passersby, killing them, the solution is not to do away with sidewalks. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org