In response to the massacre of 20 innocent children and 7 adults in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, the state’s Governor, Dannel Malloy, said “Evil has visited this community today.”
Most people will interpret his remark in reference to the shooter – Adam Lanza. But using the word “evil” to describe Lanza is an over-simplification. “Evil” is a medieval kind of word. It is a word that belongs in a time when people ascribed things they didn’t understand to sorcery and witchcraft and treated mental illness with exorcism.
Using the word “evil” to describe this horrific crime assumes that Adam Lanza’s actions were inexplicable. But they weren’t. Although mental illness is still not fully understood, we fully understand that guns in the hands of some mentally ill people will end in tragedy. Yet we do next to nothing to prevent it from happening. Treatment is inadequate and gun control is an oxymoron.
Adam Lanza appears to have been a disturbed individual who, through his mother’s and society’s negligence, had access to enormous firepower. The evil that visited Newtown, CT on Friday was the National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturers, and the gutless politicians who refuse to regulate access to deadly firearms and ammunition. If you want to know where the real evil resides, check out the NRA leadership. Welcome to the Middle Ages.