We teach children not to fear monsters. ”Look,” we say, “I’ll show you there’s no one hiding in your closet or under your bed.” But as adults, after collectively witnessing something like the Sandy Hook tragedy, we might find that we believe in monsters, too.
Here’s the problem with that: Some people do commit monstrous acts. But if we simply dismiss people as monsters, we might miss the opportunity to give them treatment. We might miss a chance at prevention.
On my ride to work today, I had the misfortune to hear the executive director of the NRA speaking out in response to the tragedy. He led with talk about the monsters that walk among us, and how nothing can stop them. Nothing, that is, except for more violence. ”The only thing that stops a bad man with a gun,” he said, “is a good man with a gun.”
The source of the trouble, in his view, is the glamorization of violence through video games and movies, and the media that makes celebrities out of killers, and most importantly, fails to look deeply at an issue and instead vilifies the gun. ”When,” he asked, “did the word ‘gun’ automatically become a bad word?”
Now, the speech has been widely criticized by folks on the left and the right. Even some NRA members are outraged. The leadership of the NRA has an agenda: They want us to put more armed guards in the schools and who, by coincidence, happens to have the best training programs for armed guards? Why, that’s the NRA!
But while the speech seemed extreme, a recent poll found that a majority of Americans said they’re in favor of armed guards in schools. And I wonder if that’s in part because of all the talk about monsters. The director of the NRA is deflecting because he doesn’t want us to look at the number of rounds a monster is able to fire every second without having to reload. But there are a lot of people who think of Adam Lanza and those like him as monsters, and in …