Lloyd Waters: Something 'meaningful' needed, but what?

December 22, 2012|By LLOYD WATERS

“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics.”

That was one of many sentences offered by President Obama in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

What meaningful action might we consider?

Everyone wants to begin with a new and honest debate about guns. 

Will banning assault weapons remedy the problem? What do you think?

We’re getting pretty desperate, so we’ll have to do something.

I wonder if anyone wants to talk about “parenting?” Do we really need two loving parents in a household to provide nourishing supervision and direction to a child?

Is a child’s understanding of love diminished in some way by some psychological illness or genetic disorder that if left undetected or untreated simply waits for a day to explode and does so without emotional display or deliberation?

Does a parent have an obligation to assume some responsibility for at least seeking some help for an individual when signs are obviously present that something is just not right?

If there is a serious problem with a child’s mental health, addiction or other situation, what resources exist to provide some help?

These obviously are some difficult questions.

We can do all the background checks for gun ownership that we legislate, but nothing will prevent some troubled individual living in the same household from taking one or two of these weapons and going on a rampage.

Good logical laws. That’s what we need. Just a few more good logical laws and then all of these nasty deplorable incidents will be prevented. Right?

B.F. Skinner was a behaviorist who had a very interesting theory. In his book, “Beyond Freedom and Dignity,” Skinner suggested that we should stop directing so much energy at freedom and dignity, and begin looking instead at the physical and social environment in which we live.

A few glances at our current environment and some of the things that kids seem to be learning through our media sources might be a meaningful place to start.

Skinner suggests that an individual’s behavior is molded totally by his surroundings, habits and the environment in which he finds himself. Skinner believes this exposure is the most profound influence to one’s individual development.

Violence permeates our media. Maybe we should meaningfully look at the cartoons that we show to our kids. Maybe we should look at the violence that attracts our kids to movies, videos and games even before they become teenagers.

Maybe we should look at the reason kids want to become gang members instead of police officers.

There are a lot of “meaningful” places to begin our search for society’s failures.

I wonder, too, if kids had the opportunity to look at the Ten Commandments before leaving home, upon arrival at school or in shopping malls and grocery stores. Just maybe “Thou shalt not kill” might be some small reminder.

Oh, before I forget. In Mayor Bloomberg’s city, some aspiring citizen had a portrait painted on the city walls where he wanted to keep the “Merry” (Santa Claus) in Christmas and get rid of the myth (Christ with thorns on his head).

Yet when some horrific tragedy occurs throughout this nation, it seems that people are still searching for that myth and the comfort that only He seems to bring to suffering people when all those other reality folks head for the pond from whence they supposedly came.

Even our President uttered His name when he quoted this verse:

“‘Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

Myself, I tend to like folks who like little kids.

We have a lot of places to begin some “meaningful” conversation. Will it happen? You be the judge.

Prayers to our friends in Connecticut.

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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