I graduated from Bemidji High School and Bemidji State University in 1963 and 1967, respectively, and have been a Connecticut Yankee for 45 years. Sandy Hook is almost half of the state away from us, but the tragedy that took place at the elementary school has traumatized the entire state to a degree not imagined.
These were children under the age of 10 shot by a stranger to them with no apparent motive known thus far except what the psychological experts have theorized. Within the state the issues of school safety and gun control will undoubtedly spin up to high levels as we try to explain why and prevent this from happening again.
Connecticut is a small state, and though Sandy Hook is in what we refer to a the more affluent southwest “gold coast,” the majority of the state has a lot in common with northern Minnesota. We ourselves live in the eastern section where hunting and fishing are as common as around Bemidji and the gun ownership is more of the norm, myself included. Yet, the massacre at Sandy Hook, no matter how repulsive, is also becoming a norm of the worst kind and while most people would profess ignorance of the why, when it is just under our noses.
We as a culture are raising a generation of young people who have been schooled on violence, from television and motion picture media to video games of the most murderous sort. The majority of young people may easily separate the notion of games vs. reality, but those already prone to this make-believe violence are the ones who will yearn for the chance to try it for real. The score they run up will not just be on the game but out there in prime time.
I have lived long enough to have seen the changes in our society from bloodless westerns to mayhem of the worst kind, all for the sake of “entertainment” and corporate profits. Blaming the NRA is not an answer, nor is gun control or increased school security. The cause is much more insidious and begins with what many parents would view as acceptable diversion to keep their children occupied. To change that we must all produce some backbone and demand an end to the training in violence that passes for entertainment. If not, we will slowly become immune to events like Sandy Hook and that is a greater tragedy.