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El Pais, Spain

Lies and Bullets

By Elvira Lindo

Translated By Adam Zimmerman

19 December 2012

Edited by Lau­ren Gerken

Spain - El Pais - Original Article (Spanish)

That there are countries more divided than ours should not be any consolation, but it lets us avoid for a time the hackneyed discourse of doom. It shows that we are definitely not the only ones using the hot coals of a violent event to launch ourselves into arguments that will never lead to a real debate. It seems that there are only two ways to confront the massacre in Connecticut, except, of course, that for any empathetic person the eruption of such a crime in somewhere as sacred as a school shakes one to the core. There are those who fix the cause of the crime to the young man’s mental illness, which would seem sufficient cause to exempt gun owners from guilt. On the other side are those who prefer to ignore the mental illness of the killer. According to the latter, analyzing the mental illness that afflicts someone who kills 27 people only serves to stigmatize the mentally ill and to ignore the growing percentage of people who die each year from gunshot wounds in the United States.

The point is that in this eagerness to sidestep aspects of the crime, one never addresses the circumstances of an event in all its complexity. It all ends in tears. Obama was said to have mourned as a father, until he was reminded that he was, first and foremost, president. But there is no sign that he is finally taking on arms control, nor that the average citizen is any closer to understanding how a weak or sick mind can deteriorate in the highly asocial life that many lead in the rural United States. Speaking lightly of mental illness could further isolate those who are ill, but failing to examine the reason why a human being can turn into a monster is to wrap mental illness in a fog of mystery that is even more dangerous.



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