I grew up in Connecticut. It was in a town just like Newtown. It was safe and it was quiet.
I am a father and a grandfather. My life is surrounded with children.
This weekend has been tough. You try to read or write something, but the mind wanders. Then you feel sadness. The more you think about the specifics, the sadder it gets. Your heart aches.
Our nation feels it. I recently read the words “collective grief.” That about sums it up. And this too: we are collectively sorry for those poor souls.
Now I might make you mad. But it needs to be said, now more than ever.
My mom had only two unbreakable rules for us four kids. No guns and no motorcycles.
Guns scare me. I don’t like seeing them or being near them.
I only shot a gun once. It was during my short stint in the Boy Scouts. (I didn’t make it long in the Scouts.) I also learned to shoot a bow, but after killing a squirrel once, I felt awful, and stopped that too. Though I personally don’t like hunting, I understand its draw. Many use guns to hunt.
But handguns and assault rifles? It seems senseless, farcical even, that weapons of human destruction can be acquired so easily. What are we thinking? I’m all for freedom, and understand well the Bill of Rights, but come on? Surely we can be true to our founding fathers and still maintain common sense. This must change.
On mental health
It’s not fair, or right, that those with disorders of the brain are shunned. We should fund and study mental health disorders with the same vigor that we do breast cancer and heart disease. Surely we can all agree on this. How well we care for the poor — who so often are afflicted with mental illness — says a lot about our nation’s soul.
The word that comes to mind is “amplified.” Everything is so amplified. At work, the rules and regulations are amplified. Always more rules—more signs, more emails, more meetings, more lights and more alarms. More.
Then there is our constant connectedness. This too amplifies. Social media amplifies. So does cable news around the clock. Living so close together in urban centers amplifies. The noise is deafening — in the car, on the roads, in the train or airplane, in the grocery and even at home. No peace. Everywhere there is distraction and noise. These are the facts. Though the young would have trouble imagining life without smartphones and Apple products, us olders can vouch that it was equally happy. Life is just so dang amplified. Always full gas. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
No, I don’t think society is more violent now. In fact, it’s probably less so. And I don’t blame technology for this spate of madness.
As a contributing factor though, how we humans have come to live is hard to ignore.
I wonder about the mental effects of all this amplified noise.
John Mandrola is a cardiologist who blogs at Dr John M.