By Mohamed Brahimi
By Mohamed Brahimi
Morocco World News
Boston, December 16, 2012
One of the things that I found to be equally as disturbing as the heinous Newtown, CT crime itself was the pronouncement by some that no one could have forecasted such crime to happen in Newtown, CT. Really? Why? Is it because it’s a white affluent suburban town, and white people who live in nicely landscaped homes are not likely to carry guns and go on shooting rampages. Or it is because people with healthy bank accounts lack a convincing reason to become roving killers.
Subliminal in that statement is that if you happen not to fit the profile of a white, well to do, non immigrant, then you committing that crime would make perfect sense. The reality is no causal relationship was ever scientifically established between crime on one hand and race or status on the other hand. Horrific incidents in high price real estate are often underreported just like the incidents where poor innocent kids are taken out by drones and checked off as collateral damage.
Sadly, macro economic considerations often dictate what gets reported and what does not.
And just to avoid mass confusion in the mind of many, no one even dared to bestow on this killer and his despicable actions the much too politically charged term of terrorist. We have been indoctrinated for many years to believe that in order to qualify as terrorist, a criminal has got to meet other rigorous conditions. Chief amongst them are: a brown person with a name that is hard to pronounce who speak with a conspicuous accent and who is likely to be at least bilingual and has a propensity to believe in some foreign God who may or may not have accent.
Although history provides us with countless examples that debunk this odious logic, even the most enlightened amongst us still have a hard time shedding that stereotypical imagery.
In my book, this killer had earned all the ribbons and plaques to be deemed a terrorist. He did not only terrorize the kids and their families, but managed to terrorize someone like myself who has no direct skin in this tragedy. He terrorized our collective sense of safety. He also terrorized the innocence in our kids and terrorized this feeling of certainty that we all feel as we hug and kiss our kids before they make their way to school.
President Obama is being hailed as remarkable for being all choked up as he spoke about the shooting. He later insisted that significant action ought to be taken to make sure that similar tragedies don’t happen again. While Obama failed to elaborate on what this action entails, I will be willing to go out on a limb here and guess that he was alluding to the pervasiveness of guns in our society and the maniacal manner in which the gun culture has permeated mainstream culture.
As a supporter of tougher gun control legislations, as well as an ardent supporter of easy access to mental health care, I think a policy that ONLY addresses gun control, or wider access to mental health is a non holistic and wrong headed policy that may yield very minimal results. It is not just easy access to guns or hard access to mental health that is taking this society to the abyss; it is rather lax parenting and the all too familiar societal ethos that tend to guilt those parents for being very much hands on. Oddly enough, it is the tiger moms in our society who are being judged and berated
If you are truly an involved parent, I fully get how your kids must resent you (mothers in particular bore the brunt here) for screening what they read, for denying them any unsupervised internet access, for not allowing them to play violent video games, for only being permitted to watch recorded and pre screened programs as opposed to any regular TV programming, for censoring content with profanity or sexual innuendo.
They must hate you for not allowing them to watch any cartoons that you deem to be inappropriate as in those laced with messages that undermine respect for authority, teachers, parents, and the elderly. You can deal with your kids feeling deprived from what “other kids are allowed to do” (Possibly a direct quote from your kids’ mouths). I am positive that they will get over it once they are old enough to realize that not parenting would have actually been easier but detrimental.
See, what is ironic here is that the people who would fault you for being obsessively on top of things in rearing your kids are the same ones likely to chide you for being a laid back or absentee parent. This is a fickle society we live in and trying to defend a point is pretty much an exercise in futility.
While this should not be squarely a debate about gun control, it is not meant to be an exoneration of guns as a major problem either. Guns and lax gun laws are very much at the root of this matter. I am very much amused by second amendment supporters who preface their talk about guns with something as silly as: “who Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. ” to which comedian Greg Geraldo quipped: “That’s why I don’t purchase any people and bring them home, and if I did, I would certainly keep them locked in a safe place”.
I think the smartest thing I read in the aftermath of this terrorist act in Newtown was the commentary on Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Beast: “Guns don’t kill people – people do. By the same token, planes don’t kill people – people flying them into buildings do. And yet, I recall that we immediately and decisively worked to keep deranged people from gaining possession of planes when a handful of those people used them as tools of mass murder; indeed, we made it much more difficult for the overwhelming majority of peaceful, law-abiding citizens to board a plane.”
I think that our society as a whole has become too desensitized to violence whether perpetrated by the use of guns or other means. The solution is not just control. Parent need to realize that the fight is much bigger that they have thought they signed up for when they decided to become parent. Parents can no longer afford to delegate their role to electronics. If you do, your kid has all the qualifications to be the next Adam Lanza.