It’s late where I am, and I’m full of emotion as I write, so it’s perhaps not the best time to blog. But I’m going to, because it feels right. It’s the only thing I can do, so I feel I should do it.
It would be inappropriate to comment on anything today that doesn’t involve the atrocity in Newtown, Connecticut; nothing else matters. What could be more important? I could sit here and waffle on about books, and editing, and characterisation, and the little daily nuggets I like to give about my life and my work. I could try to distract myself by focusing, as I so often do, on the minutiae of my own small life. But when twenty-eight people (as the total currently stands) lie dead tonight, the majority of those victims children, there’s just nothing else worth talking about.
Why do we, as humans, continue to repeat our mistakes? Why do we keep doing the same stupid things, over and over and over again? How often does something horrific have to happen before we realise – ‘Hang on. Maybe there’s a better way to accomplish my goals, here.’ Why does there have to be shooting after shooting, massacre after massacre, before people wake up and realise that guns should only be allowed in the hands of those who are trained, and who are trusted to use them responsibly? I just can’t understand why there are people in the world to whom this doesn’t seem logical. That’s the beauty of the world, though, isn’t it – we’re all different, and we all see things our own way. I champion people’s right to see things whatever way they want, and I’m fully aware that we can’t all agree, all of the time. But surely – surely – we can all agree that a massacre of children is a horrendous thing, and whatever steps need to be taken in order to minimise the risk of it ever happening again should be taken, no matter what those steps are? Even a person who has a rock-solid conviction that guns should be available to all should be mature enough to look at this situation and realise that perhaps, in some cases, their opinion is wrong. Are people really so closed to any other point of view that they could say ‘despite this, and in the face of this horrendous loss, I still think gun laws should be left untouched’? I guess so. And I guess that’s the reason we’re condemned to repeat our mistakes – because we’re not brave enough to change.
I’m not naive enough to believe that changing gun laws in America will stop all crime, everywhere, and rainbows will suddenly appear over the land, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. But I do believe, if I were American and had any say in the matter, that I’d do my best to make it as hard as possible for a person who is deemed unsuitable to own a high-powered rifle to get their hands on one. But I’m not American, and it’s not up to me.
There are no winners in a situation like this. I’m sure the family of the perpetrator is suffering, too – something which shouldn’t be forgotten – and the events of this day will continue to cause pain for years to come, both among the families of those who were lost, and those who lived through it. My thoughts are with all of those people affected by this, in any way. I wish the world was a place where nobody wound up in a mental state where they felt compelled to carry out an act like this (not that I wish to imply anything about mental health here); I wish we lived in a world where children didn’t need to do drills on how to survive during an emergency, or need to pass through a metal detector on their way to class. I wish we lived in a world where everyone knew what it felt like to be loved and cherished, and I wish we lived in a world where we could put aside our own petty, selfish interests for the sake of other people. But we don’t live in a world like that.
All anyone can do is love those whom you love with all your heart, and hope that it’s enough. Maybe – hopefully – one day, it will be.