Madness and other constitutional amendments

Today, across this world of ours, there were two horrific attacks on schools and school children. A mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut and a knife attack in Henan Province, China. Both saw 20+ children as casualties. Each the act of someone with apparent mental illness.

The difference?

The 22 children in China were wounded, not killed. Their physical scars will heal. And their mental scars hopefully will too with time. But at least they have their lives.

In Connecticut there are parents who will, as someone said on Twitter, have to return to homes filled with Christmas presents hidden away, presents that will now never be opened.

If your national constitution penned in the 18th century prevents you from adopting common-sense laws to deal with 21st century conditions perhaps your national constitution is broken.  I have never understood the religious reverence accorded to the U.S. Constitution. Denizens of almost all other nations view their constitutions as living documents, constantly evolving. But the U.S. Constitution is viewed by Americans liberal and conservative along the same lines as biblical scripture.

But even the Roman Catholic Church evolved to allow new interpretations of Biblical passages. The Earth does orbit the Sun and not vice versa, they conceded eventually.

In terms of violence and violent deaths, the U.S. is an outlier nation. I hope one day there will be some true soul-searching as to why that is. But I won’t hold my breath.


UPDATE: The great Andy Borowitz:

UPDATE 2: David Frum, the only rational Republican left:

A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer, as are half a dozen other factors arising from some of the deepest wellsprings of American culture.

Nor can anybody promise that more rational gun laws would prevent each and every mass murder in this country. Gun killings do occur even in countries that restrict guns with maximum severity.

But we can say that if the United States worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be many, many fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut.

UPDATE 3: Eyewitness accounts of the attack, which should be required reading for every member of the National Rifle Association. May you rot in hell, gentlemen.

UPDATE 4: Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.