It happens that the massacre of 20 children and 6 adults took place at a school not far from where I live. Take it from me – the closer such a calamity the more intense the shock and subsequent grief.
My intention was to write about how gun violence, rather like, say, climate change, is one of those policy problems on which most Americans know full well change is required – but on which they have been unable so far to act. Gun control has been the obvious answer, at least some legislation that would bring the U. S. more closely in line with the most other countries in the so-called developed world. Moreover in his heartfelt statement of yesterday, President Barack Obama, who on this particular issue has been somewhere between sluggish and inert, seemed to imply he would now take the lead.
But a day later we’re a lot smarter – or, at least, we know more. What we know now is that the two semiautomatic pistols and the one semiautomatic rifle that were used in the Connecticut killings were all owned by the shooter’s mother.
Before the slaughter at the school there was matricide in the home. So it’s possible we’ll never know exactly why this particular woman kept these particular weapons in her handsome house, which was occupied also by her seriously sick son. But what we might be able to conclude even now is that notwithstanding the personal, psychological, and policy dissections that will in the coming days take place, sometimes what happens is beyond our comprehension. Sometimes it’s a matter rather of the human heart – which history tells us is sometimes black.