I find myself this weekend falling into a trap that I counsel my students not to, and that is to characterize the perpetrators of violence as monsters because we cannot face the fact that it is humans that do these things. I almost have to believe only a monster could so methodically kill children, however. And maybe, that's OK to believe.
General Romeo Dallaire called his story about the Rwandan genocide "Shake Hands With the Devil" because when he met the perpetrators, he characterized them as having no humanity left in their eyes. In the case of Rwanda, international law deemed accomplices of the genocide such as two radio hosts, a print journalist, and a priest guilty of the crime of inciting genocide. The United States rarely takes political or legal cues from international law, but this would be a good opportunity to begin charging enablers and inciters of gun violence.
A good candidate, along with Wayne LaPierre of the NRA, can be found in an excellent essay by Jim Shea at The Hartford Courant.
"On Saturday, my in-box already included an email from a group called Gun Owners of America and a statement from its president, a man named Larry Pratt, which read:
"Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun."
The insanity, the stupidity of this makes me want to scream. Teachers walking around in elementary schools with sidearms? What have we become?"
In Star Wars there is a thoughtful line spoken by Obi Wan Kenobi, "Who's the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?" In this case, who's the greater monster, the monster itself, or the monster's apologist?