A False Sense of Security

Posted: Dec 17, 2012 2:41 PM

This morning, when I took my children to school, there was a guard at the gate for the first time.  Obviously, the school intended it as a thoughtful gesture for anxious mothers.

But that's the point.  Most of the "solutions" being touted offer only a false sense of security.  To that point, Ron Fournier had a compelling piece in today's National Journal, titled "What If Nothing or Nobody is to Blame for Adam Lanza?"  Fournier writes:

What if there is nothing or nobody to blame? Would that make this inexplicable horror unbearable?

What if we didn't rush to judgement? What if we didn't waste our thoughts, prayers and actions on assigning blame for the sake of mere recrimination? What if we calmly and ruthlessly learned whatever lessons we can from the massacre -- and prevented the next one?

What if it wasn't one thing, but everything, that set off Lanza?

Indeed.  What if, like most things in life, Lanza was the product of genetics and environment? In his remarks last night, the President had this to say:

If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.

But what if there isn't "one step"?  What if it required banning guns, AND violent movies, AND violent video games -- and even then, you knew that killers would just turn instead to homemade bombs, and cars, and knives?  

It's easy to hold out the simplistic, false hope that there is "one step" that can stop heartrending tragedies like this.  But in the long run, is it really doing anyone a service to pretend that there is a "one step" answer that will work, when evidence indicates -- over and over -- that it isn't one factor but many that result in this kind of evil and the resulting suffering?