I originally wrote this missive on December 15th and posted it to Facebook. It got a handful of shares, which was surprising for a long chunk of text. Later, as Tripp continued to noodle on the subject, I forwarded the missive to him where it continued to spread.

-- Jordan Krumbine

It's interesting that one of the most meaningful things said about the Sandy Hook shootings came from a tech blog editor. After sharing someone's Facebook comment about "don't just say you sympathize, here's the school address, SHOW THEM you sympathize" the tech writer closed his very brief post with this:

"Hug your kids, remember the victims. And don't ever stop trying to make this world a little better."

I wonder if we're looking manifest destiny in the face. While the fiscal cliff won't have an immediate or particularly terrible impact on normal people in January, the economic panic could still be devastating. Whether taken seriously or not, we're living in a period of time that has long predicted to be the "end of time". With the opening act of Superstorm Sandy fresh in our memories, who's to say that mentally unstable people like the Sandy Hook shooter (or any of the other shooters this past year) aren't unwittingly acting as agents of our twisted, societal manifest destiny?

We've encouraged this climate of doom. It fuels our entertainment -- both fictional and non-fictional, with news broadcasts pouncing on even the most of mundane of events, twisting it into an apocalyptic nightmare because it's good for ratings. Even in our personal lives, there are many who are in lock-step with doom: suffering the daily indignity of pointless drudgery to further someone else's bottom line, so that we can wrap our fingers around a meager paycheck that will finance our ability to continue engaging in our doom-filled weekly drudgery.

Maybe it's not obvious to everyone, but it's there. Even for people who are blindly optimistic -- doom lies wait in the shadows, lurking beyond the narrow focus of the present day.

Is this really the social climate we've invented for ourselves? Like the tech writer said, are we not even TRYING to make this world better? A LITTLE better?

I apologize if this is an indictment of friends, but I am amazed at the outcry against gun control I've seen on Facebook. Flabbergasted at the people who use the excuse that "criminals don't obey laws, so what's the point of legally restricting their access to guns?" Indignantly refuting the possibility of change -- change that could hold the promise of a better world -- while simultaneously offering empty words of sympathy to the victims of Sandy Hook.

Again, apologies for the indictment, but this is what the culture of the religiously-motivated, right-wing Republican agenda has delivered us: staunch, unmovable opinions that often carry little to no regard for the common good. Blind opposition to the simple and genuine attempt to make things better.

Gun control is not the answer. The Sandy Hook shooter needed mental and emotional help that perhaps was not acknowledged, offered, or maybe even available to him. As a society, we failed him and the ready availability of firearms gave us opportunity to fail his victims as well.

It really is simple. Put aside the politics, the religion, and the media. If you say events like Sandy Hook should never happen, but you are unable to support even the hypothetical idea of making things better for our society, you are a hypocrite. 

Our society has been broken by these divisive things. Politics, religion, media. They inspire conflict and hate and while these things don't always lead to horrific events, certainly one event like Sandy Hook is one too many.

Let's put them aside. Even if it's only temporarily. And let's be open to trying to make the world a better place.

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