Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Today is one of those dark Portland days that drones on with the threat of rain from morning till late afternoon. It's a keep your indoor lights on day. It's the kind of day that makes this city out of the question for anyone with Seasonal Affect Disorder. When the rain comes, the temperature will rise a bit and the aura of threat will end in the comforting sound of rain. It's important to find something illuminated early on when the day is dark. That's a difficult task more often than not. Coffee is warm, smiles light up faces here more than other places. The high pitched voices of children exploring everything at eye level all help. Like the weather all over the country on this day, the polarization in our political thought is profound. Our middle ground is disappearing faster than books in a library. Last night the PBS program Frontline featured a show about the recent Sandy Hook school shooting. Just writing those words is difficult. In a collaborative effort between two local journalists and the award winning investigative broadcast, we were given a bit more detail on the community and the cast of characters. Aside from realities that the Lanza family faced, the Asperger's diagnosis given shooter Adam Lanza, and the amount of guns and type of guns found in the home, something larger stands out. In the aftermath of community response, national response, and international interest, it is the individual response that leaves me wondering. While some are buying guns at record rate, others are ridding their households of all firearms. Completely opposite responses. Gun show attendance is way up as people stockpile armaments fearing that the opportunity to do so is quickly vanishing. Pundits spit out data at even faster rates and all the while we wait. We wait for the next one. The next well armed loner to express anger, confusion, hatred, mental illness, through the barrel of a gun. It really is in our blood, isn't it? We have become the gun culture. We've earned that label and are committed to defending the title, or so it seems. And while the finger continues to point from video games, to violent films, to the availability of assault weapons to mental illness, to the disintegrating family structure, to failing schools, to increasing alienation from a computer dominated society...the people with guns "in the blood" are finding more opportunities to spill the blood and steal the security of an elementary school.