When I heard about the shooting in Connecticut, and about the shooter, I thought, “That young man is a genius, and he learned well.”
For the past year, we have screamed, “Birth control! Birth control!” as though preventing the existence of children is the single most important concern of our lives. Oh, the assertion that contraceptives must be had or else women will be completely and utterly useless has been around for quite some time—about eighty years now. However, people have been particularly vocal about it recently. It does not matter why the discussion began anew or who began it. The assertion is clearly there, and it always has been: that preventing the existence of children is a wonderful thing and we are proud to be able to do it.
For the past fifty years, we have been saying that if we fail to prevent the existence of new human life, we should kill it; with certain restrictions, of course—the main one being that we can only do it if we have no sense of emotional attachment to aforementioned human life. We go so far as to call an unborn child a child when we want it and a “blob of tissue” when we don’t.
And if these new human individuals, these blobs of cells, happen to defy this attempt to make certain they are never born, we give them comfort rooms. We are proud of the fact that we helped them die among blankets and flowers, and conveniently ignore the fact that we did nothing to help them live. Some say that this doesn’t happen and no one wants that. Yet I have had long discussions with more than one individual who said that we should not put forth any effort to save infants who have survived abortions, even if they are viable. “Imagine the emotional trauma that would put a woman through, knowing that she wanted an abortion and it failed and the child is out there living in the world!” one woman said. Another man stated that it would be “too expensive” to try to save the infants “no one wants anyway”.
We told this mother that she should have killed her son before he was born, simply because he was born blind. We tell something similar to mothers whose children have Down Syndrome, and boast of the fact that about 80-95% of human individuals with Down Syndrome never see the light of day. I guess caring for them would be “too expensive”.
When we saw that two disabled adults had been in homes since they were ten, when we heard their mother say that they had no joy, we did not have the bright idea of trying to bring them some joy. Instead, 90% of us cried, “Yes! Kill them!” Many of us are advocating that we make it happen, legally and frequently. Why keep a human individual alive through “extraordinary measures” when it is cheaper to let them starve? Why put forth effort to bring them joy when we can prevent their suffering by killing them?
We are good at finding reasons not to want human individuals. We are equally good at doing mental gymnastics to prove that these reasons justify getting rid of these human individuals, or that they make it impossible for such human individuals to, in fact, be human individuals.
For a good half-century and longer, we have done just about everything in our power to prove—in word and deed—that we do not value the lives of human individuals…unless we happen to want them. And then we have the audacity to act surprised and horrified when one of our children comes along and actually puts that philosophy into practice.
That young man was a genius, and he learned well. He learned the lesson that we as a society have been preaching for so very long, and we are hypocrites if we condemn him for it. We are hypocrites and idiots if we tell a young man with a disorder that inhibits him from connecting to other human beings that it is wrong to kill them, and then turn around and argue we can kill other human beings because it is impossible to establish a connection with them*.
People are looking at the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook, and asking, “How could this happen? Why did this happen?” Some assert that it is the fault of guns. Others postulate that it happened because of violent video games. Still others accuse mental illness. I say that it is our fault. Your fault. My fault.
We did it.
It happened because we teach our children that the lives of human individuals do not matter and have no value, and we have proven via our actions that we stand by this belief.
It happened because we made it happen. Because we taught that it should.
And the only way to prevent it from happening again, is to change. Change the way we think about our fellow human beings. Begin valuing lives; not just the ones we naturally are inclined to want, but every human life. Every single one. Everywhere.
That young man was a genius, and he learned well. We have a great power to teach. Now, let’s change the lesson.
*I am NOT saying that those with Asberger's are naturally violent, or that it was autism that caused the shooter to do what he did. I am merely pointing out that he validly had the same excuse we use to defend ourselves: lack of empathy with those human individuals we want to kill.