Alan's Blog...It's all Gesamtkunstwerk to me!

Thoughts from nearly 40 years on the professional stage


It's the day after and the heartbreak of what occurred yesterday at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT hurts even more.  20 kindergarten students were murdered and 6 adult staff members as well.  We have had multiple shootings in the past 15 years in the United States--at schools, malls, movie theaters, and other locations.  We are a country that has become far too used to these things, but, thankfully, never accepting of them.  It is just before Christmas and I'm sure the youngsters were very much looking forward to the holiday. Presents were purchased and perhaps even wrapped by their parents.  Now, they are preparing to have funerals for their babies.

For about 9 years, our family lived in Danbury, Connecticut which is the first town over the state line between New York and Connecticut on Interstate 84. Newtown is the next town east. I know the area well and we still have friends in Northern Fairfield County. One of our sons was born in the same hospital where the wounded were taken yesterday. Unfortunately, only one of those wounded survived. Perhaps, because of a very loose personal relationship with the area, this shooting hits home a bit more.

I am all for the national discussion of gun control.  I am not for continued discussion with no action.  I am not for a total ban on all firearms but I see little reason why access to military style automatic weapons and ammunition need to be had in the general populace.  

I came from a rural farming area in Central Illinois.  Hunting is a huge part of many people's lives.  My family has had hunters amongst its ranks for generations.  I have no problem with the sport of hunting and providing food for your family.  I do have a problem with anyone who would ever want to hunt with an automatic rifle or handgun.  And I don't know of any hunters who would want to hunt with these firearms either.  

However, if we are going to have the discussion of gun control, as I said, let's have action as well.  AND, if we are going to discuss The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, let's also talk about the issues that have brought so many of these horrible incidents to the fore.  Let's talk about mental health and the access to care.  Let's talk about a culture that has become increasingly violent just as Hollywood has become more violent as well.  Let's talk about violence laced music blaring from our speakers.  Let's talk about a nation that does not respect life, in all its form from conception to natural death.  Let's talk about pure trash television and reality shows that are way out of control. Let's talk about an image setting industry that causes many people to feel as if "they just don't stack up".   Let's talk about a society that has thrown away so many of its youth and wizened elderly as well.  Let's talk about a country with so little respect for anyone in need.  Let's talk about a lack of love, about a callousness, about rudeness, about selfish attitudes, and about hate.  Our country abounds with all of this as well.  The use of guns are the end product of an individual so loaded with either mental derangement or the epitome of having lost all respect for anyone other than himself.  When we are willing to talk about ALL these things and are willing to act, then perhaps we will see a reduction of this kind of terrorism.  Until then, it's just talk and not very enlightened chat at that. We say we want to ban weaponry but we don’t seem interested in taking care of the things that bring about the actions in the first place. Let’s do both.
The shootings are only the end result of a society that has gone so far astray.  Yesterday we saw the actions of a young man who was described as having mental and/or social issues.  But yet, there were massively destructive weapons within his grasp.  How could the two issues, lack of clarity and destruction, become so intertwined?  In order to figure out the answer, we have to look into all the issues--not just half of the argument.