We have all heard the instant analyses and the strident calls for action, including:
- Gun control
- Better school protection
- Reform of our mental-health system
- Prohibition of violent video games
- The media could deter copycats by downplaying these crimes
We note that gun control already exists. Are we to move toward prohibition? Has prohibition ever worked well? Thinking back to 9/11 we wonder why the pilots were not armed. The terrorists used box cutters. Box cutter control? The Sandy Hook school had securely locked doors. The murderer broke in through a window. Psychiatrists know that these crimes are committed by raging, disturbed, usually white young men. Will we be able to profile them so they cannot commit mass murder? What if the problem is a sick society, one producing too much sickness to be handled by the usual technical, legal, managerial, and therapeutic measures? Aren’t we just addressing symptoms? Is the alacrity with which we clutch at marginal, quick-fix responses a measure of our reluctance to confront everything but the evil within the human heart?
We are in Advent, a season summoning us to reflection and repentance. Why have so few of the instant analyses pointed out the parallel with the Massacre of the Innocents, King Herod’s slaughter of little boys in order to murder the Christ child? (Matthew 2:16) How unsurprising: Evil is not new. If we are quiet late at night, by the glints of light from the Christmas tree ornaments, we might hear a tiny voice tell us that in a sick culture, such as one supporting abortion on demand, we must expect death-worshipping evil. Did the murderer ever think that had his parents known how he would turn out, they would have aborted him? Was he ever told that “it” is not his fault: it is his parents’ fault, or society’s? Was every bullet intended to do to helpless children what he imagined had been done to him as a boy?
Evil will always find its way into schools, if not by doors, then by windows, or government regulations, legal rulings, even textbooks or the Obama administration’s Common Core curriculum. But our schools can and should be places where children learn right and wrong and are helped to grow up to become good wives, husbands, and parents. Our unisex, morally unmoored, and diversity drenched schools marginalize boys. Dodgeball, squirt guns, and who knows what else have been condemned. Boys’ role models have been trashed – George Washington is no longer the father of our country, but the very image of patriarchal repression. Boys need to express their boyishness freely, to channel not bottle up their natural aggressiveness constructively and without political correctness. They need ways to engage their fantasy and fuel their ambitions. They need to learn that true masculinity is not the coarse behavior, mayhem, and lawlessness of popular culture, but upright self-sacrifice, decency, compassionate strength, leadership, and courage.
Is the lesson of Sandy Hook that we should teach them these lessons?
Note: A brief article by D. J. Jaffe gives useful suggestions for reform of the mental health system, including treating true mental illness, not mental ‘health.’