Here’s what’s tripping me up about some of the scenes from in and around Newtown in the aftermath of the shooting massacre. With violence and guns top of mind, and officials hypervigilent about, what? terrorists? militias? (or, most likely, copycats), I can’t tell where mental illness and semi-automatic weapons leave off and so-named “homeland security” begins.
If you just saw what looked like an armed checkpoint in the center of Ridgefield 20 miles down the road today, or you only saw pictures of combat cops moving in on a Newtown church on Sunday, would you think a deranged kid had just committed a massacre? Or, would you think there was something more afoot? Maybe the questions we should be asking after Friday should be even broader. Perhaps the issue is not just how to curtail the availability of assault weapons but how do we as a culture, overall, start to demilitarize?
(photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters caption: A Newtown police officer stood behind a tree with his gun drawn as a Connecticut State Police SWAT team inspected St. Rose of Lima Church, which was evacuated when a death threat was reported. photo: AP. caption: A Connecticut State Police tactical team gathers while searching near an elementary school, which was in a lockdown, in Ridgefield, Conn., Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, after a suspicious person was seen near a nearby train station. On Friday, authorities say a gunman killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before taking his own life. photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images caption: Connecticut State Police investigate the area around Branchville Train Station after reports of a suspicious person sent schools in the area into lock down as a precaution on December 17, 2012 in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Ridgefield is located about 20 miles from Newtown, the town where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings occured. The lock down has now been lifted. .)