Its a beautiful thing to be able to scroll down my facebook/twitter newsfeed and see a unified coalition of people speaking out against what happened in Newton. The internet has been utilized to its highest capacity these last few days. I only hope it doesn’t fade away. But before it does, I would like to contribute my thoughts and feelings to the cyber discourse.
What happened in Newtown was unfortunate for all the obvious reasons: innocent, individual lives were taken, primarily children. Most of us live in isolated bubbles, sheltered from such events, and when we are exposed to them it hits close to home, enabling us to empathize in ways we wouldn’t normally be able to. In those kids of Newtown, we see our lives, we see the ones we love, we see our little nieces and nephews, and we start to appreciate the blessings we ordinarily take for granted.
Counting our blessings is a good start, but problematic if thats where it ends because meaningful change will never happen. There is something really wrong when all we do is remember how well we have it in the wake of others suffering. Its an individualistic mindset we have too often been trained to think. It hinders us from making proper assessments that would create radical reforms and potentially prevent events like yesterday from happening again. Even though it comes from a pure place, that way of thinking LIMITS our potentiality.
When Obama said that “these [American] neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these [American] children are our children”, he was limiting our potentially through limiting the view of how we see the events of Newtown–domestically. Demanding a dialogue on gun laws is vital, but we limit ourselves when we see gun laws as the only issue behind the events. When 11 out of the 20 worst mass shootings have occurred in the US, we can’t have such a narrow understanding of such a complex problem.
We need to see this as an international problem. We have to acknowledge the international role of America (militarian), and how it is carried out (violently). We need to see the contradictions behind Obama’s sympathy towards the victims of Newtown right after he killed innocent lives overseas TESTING drones. We need to understand that if we want to be safe domestically, then our foreign policies need to change. When the president drops drones, when the US militarily occupies other countries, when we support war, we are fostering a violent environment, and we think that we will be unaffected by the violence we produced. But most importantly, we need to remember how we feel today EVERYDAY. The level of empathy we feel towards CT needs to be the same level of empathy towards the people around the world affected by war, natural disasters, exploitation, and other injustices.