The news media has saturated us with coverage of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook, asking us to search for answers.
The hope is that our legislators can find that insight that has been overlooked for centuries and convert it into a law that will eliminate or greatly reduce the effects of evil on our society.
But I suggest that as we make another run at this problem, we spend some time on framing the question.
If one says the problem is gun violence, history shows us that legislatures focus on gun laws. If we were to say, instead, that the problem is violence, then the focus would need to be on the perpetrator.
But if we were to frame the question as violence in society, then perhaps we might address the forces in society that potentially contribute to violence. What might some of those be?
Does Hollywood contribute to the underpinnings of violence in our society? I've lived long enough to have witnessed the changes in movies. "Gone with the Wind" was almost censored because of the single use of the word "damn."
How far Hollywood has come. I avoid the really violent and gory stuff these days, but many don't. Are they being desensitized to violence? Should there be censorship, or are these movies protected by the First Amendment? Do you know what your kids/grandkids are watching?
Are video games worse than movies? Again showing my age, the most violent game I've played on the computer was Pac Man. But I've seen snippets of others playing and observed the virtual violence inflicted on virtual others.
Is computer interaction more desensitizing than watching a movie? First Amendment protected?
Is the news coverage an even bigger contributor to violence in society than video games?
In almost all the tragedies I've learned about, there seemed to be no serious consideration to getting away with it. The perpetrators seemed to be intent on claiming their place in history.
And who gives them the spotlight? If there were only minor coverage of these events, would there be as many future incidents?
The Bill of Rights gives the movies, the video games and the news media the right to carry on, but we the people give them the incentive. We watch, we play, we stay glued to the screen.
How many of us know more about the people in Sandy Hook than we know about our neighbors? When is the last time we did something good for those worse off than us?
If there is a meaningful answer that comes out of reflection on this latest tragedy, I believe that it will come from a change in our hearts, not a change in our laws.