Even a world numbed by the daily news of violence cannot escape the shock generated by the shooting in a school in Newtown, Connecticut. The killer was in his twenties, and the majority of his victims far younger, aged between 5 and 10. There is something so dastardly about the killing of defenceless children that the sin turns a shade darker than the more routine murders, making killers such as Adam Lanza, the latest assassin, the target of insurmountable hatred. Yet, the vulnerability of both America’s children and teenagers — and Lanza was barely out of his teens — is also a peculiar facet of its modernity. The regularity with which young adults such as Lanza are turning their anger on their classmates or bystanders raises questions the society cannot run away from. How is it that despite personalized care, individuals such as Lanza end up being such attention-seekers who need to kill to be heard? Why does bottled-up anger or frustration find its easiest outlet in cold-blooded massacres? And what is America doing about it?
Unfortunately, the country simply refuses to look the problem in the face. Anger and frustration are not emotions unique to America. But their invariable link to blood-letting, and that too of the innocent, could perhaps have been avoided had the United States of America enforced stringent gun control laws. Yet, in the name of individual liberty, the Second Amendment of the US constitution, which allows American citizens to bear arms, has been made into an inalienable right. The gun-manufacturing lobby and conservatives put such emphasis on it that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats dare to question it. But as Newtown has shown, the failure to do so is proving to be dangerous for America.