Donít let Lanza have last laugh

By Observer editorial February 11, 2013 11:19 am

From hell somewhere, Adam Lanza is having the last grotesque laugh.

Lanza, as everybody knows, was the craven individual who used an assault rifle in December to kill 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., all after he shot and killed his own mother. 

Going in, he had his mind made up to take as many lives as he could, then die by his own hand. Though sane people may never completely understand why a person like him thinks an act like that is worth it, he thought it was. He set a goal, no matter how evil, and achieved it. For him, it was mission accomplished.

But Lanza’s victory, if victory it can be called, is larger than that. It extends far beyond the city limits of Newtown, or the borders of Connecticut. It’s doubtful he thought much about it when he was planning his deed, but in addition to the carnage he caused he has managed to polarize the nation. It’s easy to imagine him laughing out loud in the afterlife.

Fanning flames of gun control debate

We’ve seen debate and controversy over gun control before, but never quite like this. In Washington, D.C., there is talk about a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Some people, most especially those affected by gun violence, agree. In many other places, including Union County, hot-blooded patriots are crying out that a ban is a trampling of our right to keep and bear arms. 

Lanza has inspired fear and distrust and anger among us. He has turned us against each other and made a bad situation infinitely worse. The moment the gun control debate ignited, there was a general stampede to gun stores by people convinced that sometime soon they will not be permitted to buy weapons, magazines or ammunition. 

We’re that much more armed than before, and at the same time, many of us are viewing our government — and our neighbors who think differently from us — with hostility.

As the debate continues, we need to remember that Sandy Hook is no one’s fault but Adam Lanza’s. We need to adhere to our own beliefs whatever they are, and speak out accordingly so democracy can take its course. But we also need to remember that law-abiding people, in government and out, gun control advocates and gun control opponents, involved in the debate care deeply about the future of the country and are indeed our fellow Americans.

Unlike Adam Lanza and his kind, they’re not out to get us. Each in their own way is searching for something that will make our country a better, safer place to live.

The less angry our talk and the more carefully we listen to one another, the better chance we have to come to solutions that work. And if someday we solve the problem of blind hatred and evil in our society, we and not Adam Lanza have the last laugh.