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La Nación, Argentina

Newtown: Violence Without an End

By Mario Goldenberg

The Newtown event confronts us with an absurdity that is reminiscent of the protagonist’s crime in Camus’ “The Stranger,” and that is the most horrifying thing.

Translated By Natalie Legros

27 December 2012

Edited by Lydia Dallett


Argentina - La Nación - Original Article (Spanish)

Ultimately, the world did not end, despite the Mayan prophecy and whoever was expecting it to be fulfilled. Nancy Lanza was one of them, but she never learned the outcome. She was a “prepper,” one of those people who is prepared to survive and defend themselves in the event of a major catastrophe or global economic meltdown, storing food and weapons.

Despite her efforts, the “prepper” encountered the unexpected: Her youngest son, Adam Lanza, 20, killed her with the same weapons she had bought as defense against a catastrophic event. Adam continued his inexplicable act at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown where he had been a student, firing at 20 children and six adults, and finishing by ending his own life before the police arrived.

This year about to end has been the year with the most mass killings in the United States in the last three decades.

This topic has become a serious political problem for President Obama's administration. For the first time, the regulation of weapons has become a matter of serious discussion while other organizations, such as the National Rifle Association (which consists of four million members and is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, founded in 1871), propose to increase weapon possession and put armed security guards inside schools.

The Connecticut incident has created various myths: that the assassin was the father of one of the students; that his mother was a teacher at the school; that Nancy was going to send him to a psychiatrist; that he had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a variant on the autistic spectrum; that the young man did not have Facebook; that he was a victim of bullying. We will probably never know the truth behind this act. What we do know is that, despite the arguments, it was a meaningless act with no purpose, and that is what surprises us more. The emergence of a right without law, but within a discourse that not only perceives weapon possession to be a civil right of defense as stated in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, but also perceives weapons as part of a show, as entertainment as in video games, where there is even pleasure to be found in taking part in the murder. Surely in video games and in film it is part of the fiction, but we already know that the line between fiction and reality can sometimes be unstable, as was seen in the theater in Aurora, Colorado at the Batman premiere earlier this year.

It is promising to see this fact, as a politician does, as a part of an endless series, a cycle with no end. The debate over weapon control is necessary but it is not enough. What's most striking is that no one read the signs. The current discourse in science is concerned with classifying, measuring, quantifying, looking for the biological base that separates the subject from responsibility for their actions. In turn, the weapons market, as well as the entertainment market, does not want to know anything about the effects that it provokes. The Newtown event confronts us with an absurdity that is reminiscent of the protagonist’s crime in Camus’ “The Stranger,” and that is the most horrifying thing.

This never-ending series of massacres without respite, which started in 1999 in Columbine and which targets schools, creates a challenge for how we treat violence and social ties, and how we understand and approach finding a solution.



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