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A time to cry for the Innocents, then act

December 15, 2012
by Ron Manderscheid
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We must grieve for the Innocents in Newtown, and we must now take action

The chasm is unbridgeable between our preparations for the current Holiday Season and the killing of the Innocents today in Newtown, Connecticut. I am certain that, tonight, most of us in America are confronted with and deeply concerned about this rip in the fabric of a typical American community. It could be your; it could be mine. Without a doubt, there is no greater tragedy in a society than losing its young, its own future, so needlessly and so senselessly. Such actions strike at the very heart of who we are and who we hope to become.

So we must grieve—for the families who lost the Innocents, for the families of their teachers who were lost, for the Newtown community, and for America itself. Today was a very, very difficult day for all of us. When threatened this way, we turn to our families, our communities, and our faith. Each provides us needed support at such times of great difficulty.

But we owe the Innocents much, much more than just our crying.  They also deserve our action to find and implement solutions to these social dilemmas of our time.

We must come to terms with the fact that 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have changed us and our society in ways that we do not yet fully understand. One only needs to turn on a television to view multiple murders each night. Or, just play a video game, and one can participate in several thousand “kills” over the course of an hour. Each day, there are 32 murders in America. Our social integration is ebbing away, and we are rapidly becoming inured to violence and death. In an era of global, instant communication, we are more distant than ever from each other. We must recognize these glaring symptoms and act.

What can we do? We can begin our own road to recovery by taking several major steps that have been very obvious for quite some time:

Immediately ban assault weapons and pistols, such as the Glock. Our Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment never envisioned that we would be using this right to kill each other. Assault weapons were designed for the battlefield, not our closets. We must not be distracted from this objective by the National Rifle Association and the ideology it promotes.

Immediately set about developing new standards for our entertainment industry. Violence and death are projected through every venue. Our movies, television, video games, and music all exude violence and death If possible, computer animations have made this violence ever more horrific. We absolutely must change this deplorable situation.

Immediately set about rebuilding our local communities.One’s community should be a place of support and refuge, rather than of fear. One should not have to fear going to school and being killed. Sociologists have known for centuries that social integration and support do reduce conflict and violence. Good social integration also reduces trauma and its negative effects, including mental illness. The UK has already incorporated this thinking into its approach to health; we must do the same.



Ron Manderscheid

Exec. Dir., NACBHDD and NARMH

Ron Manderscheid


Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D., serves as the Executive Director of the National Association of County...

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