To say the least, it seems discordant, silly, and trivial, to blog about the fiscal cliff, job trends, monetary policy, and so on, when little children are killed in school. It’s fiddling while Rome burns. I’ll get back to it because for those of us lucky enough to have survived, life goes on, and that’s what we do: we get back to our work, to our family life, and so on.
But it feels to me like we are a nation at war against a secret, crazy, internal enemy who can and does strike with impunity whenever and wherever he wants—in schools, theaters, churches, mosques. These are his battlefields. Ironically, in his twisted mind, he knows and understands this war far better than we do. We deny its existence and far worse, we make it easy for him to be armed to the teeth with weapons of war.
We argue that we cannot recognize this war and fight this enemy because to do so would involve sacrificing our freedom. A ban on assault weapons or a digital warning to law officials when ordinance is stockpiled would violate fundamental American principles more treasured than personal safety.
But of course we are not free to pursue life and liberty in the midst of this war. There appears to be no way to stop the increasing cascade of enemy attacks. We are helplessly trapped by our alleged protection of our freedoms and the allegiance of policy makers on all sides of the aisle to those who arm the enemy.
I’ve written about this as a policy failure, pointing out that “you just have to believe that there is a role for public policy to insure the safety of its citizens from unreasonable threats as we go about our lives…that sounds like a very low bar that even the least courageous policy maker should be able to get over.”
But that language feels too mild today. We have implicitly accepted the fact that we are under attack, in this most horrible case “we” being our most vulnerable children—20 five-to-ten year olds—and we have agreed to do nothing about it.