I have been putting off writing this blog as the subject matter was pretty troubling for me, as it pertains to the shootings last month in Newtown. The tragedy itself is now a part of the national consciousness of the USA and doesn't need to be revisited in its disturbing details. I should say though (and this will become evident in this blog if it is not already) that I am in favour of gun control. I don't come to this viewpoint as someone not familiar with guns either (I have a lot of family in the military.) The strangest thing happened to me after I read about this tragedy, I actually found some solace in comics. Not in the usual way of looking away from the problems of the world with vicarious escapism, but instead I looked up an older comic and re-read it to give some perspective on this. The comic in question was Detective Comics #741, the final issue of the year long run on No Man's Land. In this story Gotham City is rescued from its year long embargo by the US government. The Joker who has been laying low throughout most of the year, gathers strength later on in the year as various other criminal gangs fall to the forces of good. Now even as the Joker is beaten back he devises a plan to once again cripple the city - he kidnaps every child born in the past year and threatens them with death at midnight on the 1st of January when Gotham is to become a city again. There is a bit of usual comic book action, but the climax of the issue comes with Sarah Essen-Gordon confronting the Joker in the basement of police HQ where the Joker has all the babies. As it is close to midnight she goes to confront him alone and with no backup, with her gun drawn. As she confronts him he threatens a baby's life, and she makes the non-action hero response which so many teachers did in Newtown. She didn't try to shoot him anyway, she puts her gun away and saves the baby from harm, sacrificing her life in the process.
In relation to Newtown this had a few points in common for me. While there are those that are now arguing for arming teachers, there are many more who think that the actions of the now deceased teachers was as good as possible, and that they are the heroes in this situation. It is not acceptable to think that the solution for one problem is to increase the problem to a greater degree. As Einstein said "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This is such a case, and so what I take from this is that maybe it is time for people, just like Sarah Essen-Gordon, to put down their guns, and to think of other solutions.