There are some events that should never have happened, even in a world that is cruel, loud, vicious and violent. On Dec. 14, 2012, a deeply disturbed man ruined the lives of countless individuals after opening fire on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Twenty children and six members of the faculty were killed.
I am not sharing this because it is the trending topic, but because we must realize that Geneva is not immune to the world’s suffering. We live in a city with a low crime rate and decent people, but we are still all a part of a cruel place where people destroy each other for the sake of destruction.
However, in wake of this horrifying tragedy, it must be kept in mind that the world is not only a place of darkness and tragedy, but a place filled with hope and human decency. It's important not to obsess over the horrific details of the massacre, but to remember the lives lost. These children should not be used as symbols for government propaganda or props for the arguments that guns should be banned in the U.S.
A news flash to the general populace: It is both offensive and inappropriate to use 5- and 6-year-olds as martyrs against government policies you don't agree with. Now, yes, in some circumstances, gun laws are keeping many insane people armed and dangerous. However, how dare we as a society focus, not on the poor souls destroyed in this massacre, but on the weapons that killed them. We should be mourning the loss of 26 human beings, not using their slayings to stir up national turmoil over gun laws.
It's a horrible problem I have been seeing more frequently since the Aurora theater shootings five months ago: People are immortalizing the wrong parts of these news stories. Everywhere I turned in July, I saw the name of James Holmes, the man who committed the Aurora massacre. Some people were following his trial, calling him innocent by reason of insanity, even trying to justify his actions. These kinds of claims are horrifying and show us just how desensitized we have become. Everyone obsesses over who did it, why he did it, and what he did it with.
These aren't the details we should be focusing on. I don't want to see the murderer of innocent people, whether it is James Holmes or Adam Lanza, become a household name in America. We should be mourning the loss of the dozens of people killed by these kinds of vicious animals, not questioning how or why for months after their death.
In the end, does it really matter why? Does it really matter how? What will these questions accomplish other than keeping these horrific stories and their perpetrators in the headlines for weeks on end? I'm sick of these murderers becoming celebrities overnight, because at the heart of it, attention is exactly what they wanted. We cannot give these people what they wanted, but eradicate them from history—a fate worse than death for sociopaths like Holmes or Lanza.
The United States needs to learn how to treat tragedies for exactly what they are: tragedies. These horrific events aren't political topics, a reason to obsess over social issues, or the juicy gossip surrounding the court cases of the century. They are the saddening loss of dozens of men, women and children. Do not forget that these weren't just news stories or acts of violence—these were human beings, like you and me. The Sandy Hook Elementary School victims were simply going to school or work when this happened. We must remember these brave, beautiful people and commemorate their lives.
Do not immortalize their killer, and do not immortalize his weapon. In the end, the only thing we should be immortalizing about these deaths is what each of these victims represented: innocence, youth, and most importantly, the hope for a better and brighter world.