What can be said about what happened in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, that hasn't already been said?
It seems a uniquely American nightmare, and one that happens all too often. We find out that yet another individual has snapped, and, thanks to their having more guns than self control, other people have paid the price with their lives.
Tonight, there are broken families and a grieving community. There is a media in shock and a nation in mourning. The President has cried on television and said things need to change, and people generally agree - at least for now.
But we agree with a certain amount of sadness and cynicism, as this train of events has happened before, almost blow by blow. And it will most probably happen again.
You see, if the personal stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, then the national stages of grief are shock, anger, finger-pointing, half-measures, and forgetting all about it.
(Cue George Santayana, right about here.)
Right now, we're at the finger-pointing phase, so it's only to be expected that our media will be filled with talking heads who want to tell us who's to blame for this. As you might well expect from our so-called "liberal media," access to guns has wandered into their crosshairs, along with questions about how we deal with the mentally ill in America, school security, and other sensible queries.
However, on the snow-encrusted slopes of Bullsh!t Mountain -- AKA the FOX News media behemoth -- talk about limiting access to guns and increasing health care are strictly verboten. Maybe every once in a while they're relax the rule when they can get a smooth and avuncular nay-sayer up against a spastic radical who thinks Joe Stalin was way hip, effective communication is for suckers, and personal hygiene is a plot by the MAN, but the rest of the time it's relegated to the same pile as 9/11-conspiracy theories, UFO abductions, and saving the gay whales for Jesus.
So, instead, they'd rather talk about something else. And as of right now, that something else is MEDIA VIOLENCE.
Some of my younger readers may not remember media violence. But, in all fairness, it's been a while since that grand old dame was trotted out in front of the cameras for a good excoriation.
Luckily for us, she hasn't really been doing anything since 9/11 taught a nation no longer in a Cold War that there were more dangerous things out there than our own cultural excesses. Like, say, terrorists, WMDs, and countries who aid and abet the creation of said terrorists and WMDs.
(And our own, screwed-up foreign policy, which inadvertently aids and abets them all, in turn.)
So, now that the gun angle has been played enough times that it looks like someone might actually want to look at banning certain kinds of guns, again, or maybe take away all handguns, period, the great bait and switch has begun. And here comes old Miss Media Violence, out to remind us that video games are still bloody, Marilyn Manson is still disturbing, and movies still teach us that the best way to solve a problem is to point a gun at it.
Of course, that's entertainment; no one ever said you should take it seriously, and no one really should. Quite frankly, if parents can't teach their children the difference between fantasy and reality, then the question is not whether fantasy has gone too far, but why Child Protective Services has not yet been called.
However, over at FOX News, CPS is having a field day.