Posted by Nicole Behnam
It’s refreshing to see people posting quotations from Edgar Allen Poe and Charles Bukowski on their Facebook statuses and Instagram feeds. But how many of us have actually read Bukowski’s books from beginning to end?
Growing up in the Cliffsnotes and Sparknotes generation, we are used to looking for answers the easy way. It almost seems ridiculous to read an entire book when we can simply find annotations, quotes, and analyses online. And even when we do read, we tend to skim.
Our bookstores have closed—alright, partly because of Amazon.com—and tablet screens have prevailed over paper. This is literary deprivation.
And although tablets may seem to inspire readers, they actually prevent readers from getting lost in a story. Instead of being able to escape for hours, we are compelled to open other apps intermittently.
Twitter has enabled us to read news headlines that are condensed to 140 characters, while Instagram allows us to share our stories with pictures. Even Buzzfeed has created lists upon lists for us to scroll through when we are bored. And why should we read when we can listen to webisodes online?
I remember the first time I connected with a character in a book. I was reading J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and realized I had shared so many of his thoughts and elaborations. Finishing the book was akin to losing a close friend with whom I had spent years of my life. And I was only able to make that comparison after the protagonist made the observation: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”
Many of us think the same thoughts and feel the same feelings every day. Too often we are so immersed in our own troubled realities, and in the world social media has created for us.
There are so many other realities we can be a part of, if we just opened up a book. We have to stop associating reading with homework. Nobody is telling us to read 7 chapters over the weekend. It is not a chore, but rather a privilege to be able to separate from our worlds and get lost in another one.
Why are we limiting ourselves when we can see through a different pair of eyes? When people are expressing so many feelings and thoughts and experiences, why are we shutting them out?
Let’s revive this endangered pastime. Whether we are reading to escape or to learn about a subject we have minimal knowledge of, or to enter a fantasy world that an author has so brilliantly created for us, we are temporarily enabled to flee from a world that is so often stale and repetitive, and retreat to a world that is written with intent and carries meaning.
Nicole Behnam is a writer, host, and a Generation-Y expert. For inquiries, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
10.30.13 at 6:36 pm | Twitter has enabled us to read news headlines. . .
9.3.13 at 5:35 pm | We are going to be spending a lot of time at. . .
6.25.13 at 1:54 pm | Unfortunately, our confidence issues do not end. . .
4.22.13 at 8:29 pm | As for the bouncers and promoters whose only form. . .
4.12.13 at 5:40 pm | We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll. . .
2.5.13 at 1:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . .
12.22.11 at 12:31 am | People often joke that a New Year's resolution is. . . (54)
8.8.12 at 4:04 pm | Rarely have I spent a day out of the house. . . (14)
2.5.13 at 1:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . . (11)
September 3, 2013 | 5:35 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” -Steve Maraboli
My greatest problem with the school system in America is that they teach so many different subjects, but fail to include classes about emotional development and resilience. We learn to read and write, subtract and multiply—we learn to memorize heaps of information that we will likely later forget. Along the way, we learn manners, how to be polite, and when to say sorry.
It seems so systematic, doesn’t it? Go to school, develop skills, make some friends, get into college, succeed at something, find a partner, get married, have children, and if you make mistakes along the way, just apologize, ask for forgiveness and move on.
If we didn’t learn how to deal with the world as children, what makes us so sure we are prepared to deal with it now?
With two Jewish holidays—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—coming up, this is a perfect time to reflect.
For the first time ever, I stayed in temple throughout the entire duration of both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services last year. This is what I remember:
The rabbi asked everyone to examine themselves and reflect on the range of emotions you feel throughout your typical week. Surely we all feel happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy, etc., but we haven’t learned to solidify and define our values, and act in accordance with them. Instead, we helplessly react to life’s circumstances, because nobody taught us better. For example, a feeling of anger may temporarily influence you to initiate a confrontation—but anger requires self-control, especially if a person values maintaining friendships and relationships. Jealousy could propel someone to gossip, but if you bite your tongue, you may save yourself from hurting somebody.
Like most people in the synagogue, I decided I wanted to implement this newfound way of thinking into my life. Fast forward to a year later… did I succeed at behaving perfectly until now? Of course not. Out of fear, I have failed to speak up. Out of carelessness, I have wasted some days. And out of complacency and not knowing better, I have probably offended people I love.
We are going to be spending a lot of time at temple in the next few weeks, and in a way, that requires some preparation. What do these two holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur really represent? And how do we properly observe them?
Rosh Hashanah, the head/start of the year, represents the day the world was created. It means we can start all over again. We can examine who we have been, and in doing so, decide on who we want to be. Not who we want to be in terms of work or status, but who we want to be as human beings—an introspection that empowers us to reassess our goals and personal struggles.
And in conjunction with this reflection, ten days later, we are asked to repent and ask for forgiveness for our sins on Yom Kippur. Many of us approach those we have offended or mistreated, in hopes that they will accept our apologies. Some of us, though I’m not quite sure why, send less personal mass texts to their peers, assuming this will suffice and rid them of their guilt. Why are we focusing so much on other people and not on ourselves?
This year I wonder: Is this really what Yom Kippur is about? Inducing guilt?
Already, we deal with daily pressures of belonging to a community, adhering to social norms, and dealing with different types of people.
Many of us who belong to the Iranian Jewish community are also feeling guilt for words that were spoken against the gay community—words that weren’t even our own.
I’m all for apologizing and reflecting, but in doing so, let’s eliminate the “guilt factor” this year. If you feel bad about something you did, acknowledge it, apologize for it, then let it go. Learning from your mistakes will help you. Guilt does nothing but propel sadness. We are entering a new year, and being given a clean slate, a new chance, and we will be granted with the same opportunity a year from now.
This year, let’s be more concerned about how we plan to improve, not focus on how terribly we acted or bask in our guilt—starving is punishment enough as it is.
June 25, 2013 | 1:54 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Will becoming skinny really make us happier? The amount of times my girlfriends and I have concluded that losing weight was the answer to our problems is truly outstanding.
Every time I hear someone say “I feel so guilty” after enjoying a meal, a combination of pity and disgust brew in my mind. Why are feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety arising after people eat? How did the excitement of our parents buying us an ice-cream cone transform into hesitation towards salad dressing?—“On the side, please.”
Girls, we’re getting too thin. The body relies on fat for energy. Your aim should be your health, not the approval of insecure women who view the game of getting thin as a competitive battlefield. You’ll never win. Let them deal with the insanity and pangs of jealousy that accompany a desire that eventually turns into a disease—anorexia.
The social media world has created a den of comparison through which girls spend hours scrolling through pictures of models with abs of steel and arms the size of toothpics, which, by the way, were “retouched.”
Ponder the root of your desire to be thin, and there you will discover the unnecessary underlying motivation for a goal that will hurt you more than help you in the end. Are your friends cleansing, dieting, and going to the gym at an unnatural, excessive rate? Are you comparing yourself to girls with abnormally thin, childlike bone-structures? And at what point did you somehow reach the conclusion that maintaining 97 lbs was the answer to what really is… a self esteem issue.
Unfortunately, our confidence issues do not end at weight. After you’ve lost enough weight, the constant urge to compare yourself will remain with you. Your face will lose its baby fat, and you’ll want your cheekbones back. Your hair won’t look as healthy due to a lack of nutrition, and you will eventually feel the pain of what it’s like to be borderline anorexic. It’s never over. There is always something else you’ll want to fix or improve.
How shallow our world is, that maintaining appearance has become almost everything to women. Being thin may impress other women, but polls and statistics show that most people, especially men, prefer curvy and voluptuous women to women who look like stick figures.
For anybody who has, until now, contended that girls who are thinner and prettier have more friends, get more attention, and are ultimately happier—consider this: How many times have you heard about women who may have looks and aesthetic appeal, but were dismissed for lacking personality and depth?
Looks may get you in the door faster, but personality will determine whether you stay. If you’re going to choose between working on confidence and personality or your weight and aesthetic appeal, choose the former first, because your esteem will shine through.
Take it from the girls who have suffered so much that they were admitted to hospitals for eating disorders. Virtually every story or documentary will highlight the same premise: that if self-esteem and confidence were present, the victim of anorexia would have thrived and achieved her personal goals instead of suffering and being tube-fed just to stay alive.
This example may sound extreme, but this is where we are headed if we don’t fix our body image issues.
Surely, the modeling industry hasn’t helped us much either, but even they are catching on. Israel has become the first country to legislate minimum weights for fashion models. And this is purely because of the proliferation of eating disorders causing mental health problems and even deaths all over the world.
In her article, “The Mind of an Eating Disorder,” Kelcey Zakarese writes:
Food is just something we have control over when life throws you things you can’t control like sick relatives, shitty friends, or a bad economy. When you know that you can at least have control over your weight, life seems a little more tolerable. Yet in the end, it only makes everything darker.
I hope that one day I can sit down to a meal and not worry about thinking what it will do to my body. I hope that one day I can wake up and not tempt myself to step on a scale and cringing at the number that appears before me. I hope that one day I can go out with friends and binge on pizza and enjoy it instead of throw it up hours later. I hope that one day I will overcome my eating disorder. I hope one day my mind becomes free.
I’m all for looking beautiful, reaching a goal weight through healthy means, and feeling good about yourself, but take it from someone like Kelcey, who knows what it’s like to reach the depths of this eating disorder. Let go of the obsession. Free your mind. This issue was not meant to stress us and drive us up a wall.
April 22, 2013 | 8:29 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Determined to make your way in through a sloppy crowd, you start talking to the bouncers and dropping promoter’s names with your ID in hand, hoping to reverse their permascowls. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend’s birthday, or that you’re Sam Nazarian’s “cousin.” It’s 12am on a Saturday night and you’re not an anorexic blonde.
And as for the bouncers and promoters whose only form of power lies in vetoing the unattractive or poorly-dressed who are merely trying to have a good time, they will likely categorize you abruptly and pay no further attention unless you’re willing to spend at least $600 on a table. Is this not a form of prejudice? Look around and you will occasionally see desperate hopefuls who have been ditched by their friends as well.
It’s sad, really. Welcome to Los Angeles.
How clubbing has somehow become an integral part of an Angeleno’s weekend is baffling. The club regulars seem to have no hobbies other than "popping bottles." And a majority of these people are uncomfortable dancing or letting loose without any alcohol. The club is the ultimate venue for the passionless—for people who are often so overly-eager to pick up a stranger because they feel there is no other outlet through which they can meet another person with a shared common interest.
Even the fancy white tufted couches don’t make the idea of dancing provocatively seem remotely classy or alluring. To tolerate the thumping bass—so loud that when you walk out, you experience a constant ringing in your ears—requires a certain level of alcohol buzz.
A group of friends who party at clubs to celebrate once in a while is understandable, but for the people who attend clubs regularly, they’re out to find happiness, companionship, and temporary escape where it doesn’t exist.
I’m no Saturday-night elitist, and I’ve definitely spent enough of my Saturday nights in Los Angeles nightclubs to know what they’re like. But a thoroughly enjoyable weekend for me involves conversations and laughing and good food with friends and family. I’m sure most of us would rather sit around with our friends and exchange funny stories than wear uncomfortable clothes and shoes hoping to catch someone’s eye in the unbearable darkness that is somehow essential to the club’s atmosphere.
A club is like Physical Education class, where one person’s worth depends on being “chosen” by another similarly-lonely stranger who finds you physically adequate. How flattering. Is this how you want to meet people? Even online dating provides more information than your 30-minute drunken encounter. Think about it before you decide to become a club regular.
April 12, 2013 | 5:40 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
"Successful people never worry about what others are doing." -Unknown
Log in to your Facebook account and you will seldom notice a self-deprecating post on your Newsfeed. Nobody wants to share with their friends the inevitable failures or pitfalls that occur routinely, and why should we?
The biggest mistake we make is unconsciously affirming the notion that our social media worlds (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al.) represent real life.
Graduations, job promotions, engagements, weddings, college acceptances, baby showers, bachelorette parties, and pictures of lavish vacations are daily reminders that we are not currently enjoying the same luxuries. As we scroll down, we feel compelled to “like” all of these posts, but secretly—very secretly—we are wondering when our time will come, and why our lives aren’t as exciting.
We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll through our phones, reading the overwhelming heaps of useless intel about other people—we were meant to LIVE.
But even as I write this, I sense a mild hypocrisy within myself. My cell phone is almost always within reach, and I cannot avoid my computer, because my job requires me to use it. So I am compelled to check my social media accounts, and I’m even guilty of posting at least once per week.
So what’s the solution? How can we separate ourselves from a generation that thrives on cell-phones, social media, and multiple apps?
The answer is Mindfulness—paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment, by channeling our bodies, feelings, and our minds. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, I read that a Professor at Claremont’s MBA program takes 15 minutes per day during his lecture to teach his students the art of mindfulness.
Google has offered mindfulness training to its employees for years as well; The reason being that mindfulness helps tune out distractions and enforces a healthier “work mode” as well.
If you’re dating your cell phone or your laptop, break up with it. But before you do, look up mindfulness and learn how to routinely exercise this lesser-known phenomenon.
Our generation deserves better—we deserve to be happier and undisturbed.
February 5, 2013 | 1:33 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
I prefer filmed interviews over print at times because people get so worked up when they’re being taped. Interviewing subjects for print can be bland. They stay composed. There’s more time to think up an articulate response. But on film, they only have a moment. They know people are watching—everyone is paying attention. And on Monday, such was the case for Robert De Niro.
The man is notorious for withholding information about his personal life, for raising his eyebrows then squinting while executing a cold response, and, at times, for getting up and walking away at a whim when he doesn’t like the question being asked.
On Katie Couric’s show Monday, Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell briefly discussed his experiences with his son’s mood disorder, which inspired the character played by Bradley Cooper in the film.
Katie Couric asked De Niro if he felt any responsibility doing a film that the director had personally invested in.
“Oh of course,” he replied as his emotions suddenly exposed themselves. He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even tried coughing and looking upwards. None of it worked. De Niro was crying for the first time ever in the history of television—on ‘Katie.’
"I don't like to get emotional," he managed to say. "But I know exactly what [David] goes through." De Niro didn't explain how, but Russell abruptly chimed in to continue the conversation.
"When I first was in his apartment and I was talking to him about the screenplay, this is what happened," Russell said as De Niro wiped his eyes. "I thought he was having hay fever and I realized he was having an emotional reaction. I sat there and I watched Robert De Niro cry for 10 minutes."
Hay fever? Nobody in Hollywood would expect tears from Robert De Niro. To everyone who admires De Niro for the brilliance of his acting, they were watching the young Don Corleone, the angry Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, the raging bull, Jake La Motta, the Russian roulette-playing soldier from The Deer Hunter, and the impatient Rupert Pupkin from King of Comedy. Every character he had ever embodied or resembled up until this point was now crying on set. Robert De Niro, finally humanized, and it is a beautiful thing.
But why does it matter? Pay more attention, and you will see that everybody you look up to and glamorize, like De Niro and like Russell, has endured something significant—and this is what makes them great, next to their talent. Not all were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.
Most people in Hollywood have struggled with their own issues. Maybe they lost a family member, suffered abuse, endured depression—who knows.
J.D. Salinger wrote it beautifully in his book The Catcher in the Rye:
Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them – if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.
Especially during award season, we tend to forget that beneath the golden trophies and red carpets are human beings with a message and a purpose.
In 2012, Russell told Charlie Rose in an interview:
“Because I have a son who’s had some of these emotional situations I immediately related to Silver Linings Playbook, otherwise I never would have. And I said, what a wonderful story, and a wonderful world that is tragic, heartbreaking, emotional, and ultimately funny and inspiring….While I was waiting the five years to make it, I probably rewrote the script over 20 times, and I was able to plumb new depths of it in terms of calibrating the nature of the challenges the main character faces.”
Too often we look to others’ accomplishments and achievements, and we somehow seek to emulate these feats in our own lives—to draw inspiration from them. While this is a noble endeavor, I urge you to also look for the crossroads, the vagaries, the turmoil, the strangeness, the human side of people’s lives.
To watch Robert De Niro battle against his emotions, and lose, was strangely uplifting. Sadness and even sorrow are common among those we know—but to watch these emotions materialize among those we honor and esteem goes to show that perhaps ambition can be bred from hardship, and ability may very well stem from a deep-rooted understanding of adversity. At the very least, an interest in these subjects will allow you to enjoy the freedom from self-absorption.
January 15, 2013 | 1:18 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Are antidepressants being prescribed too often and too much? Has the definition of clinical depression become too broad? And why are mass shootings now being linked to antidepressant use? The risk that antidepressants will ignite violent or self-destructive behavior has been the subject of renewed controversy.
After evidence that several gunmen involved in mass shootings were taking antidepressants during the time of their outburst, a number of threads have been appearing on the Web regarding this issue, but the media refuses to bring it up.
After all, companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline might stop advertising with news outlets if this notion is ever addressed, or even worse, researched in depth.
Under the influence of three powerful constituencies—the pharmaceutical industry, the social work industry, and the psychotherapy industry—along with their handmaidens—the government, the media, and advertising—it has become exceedingly difficult for people to believe that unhappiness might just be an ordinary reaction to unpleasant circumstances.
Because of false advertisements, millions of people per year are tricked into renaming their unhappiness “depression.” Even a television advertisement could lead you to believe that you are clinically depressed.
Leading questions like “feeling tired and hopeless?” are geared toward subconsciously convincing people that any given pill can cure all of their symptoms.
But try reading about the symptoms and reactions caused by these pills. Suicidal–and perhaps homicidal—thoughts are almost always prevalent in the long lists of side effects written in small print on a flimsy sheet of paper folded several times over.
Many psychiatrists have admitted that antidepressants may also cause manic or aggressive behavior, especially for those who are prone to bipolar disorder. So why are tens of millions Americans taking antidepressants?
Instead of solving their problems and building resilience, people are choosing to medicalize their situations in hopes of finding a simpler solution through a happy pill that will miraculously banish symptoms of what is probably just conditional unhappiness. While some people may need them, it shouldn’t be so easy for everyone to obtain these drugs.
Of course, depression is a serious illness, and those who are truly afflicted with the disorder should seek help. But it is important to consider that perhaps advertising has allowed the mental health and pharmaceutical industries to turn human unhappiness into a cash cow through these medications—and at a cost we cannot accurately measure.
December 15, 2012 | 12:45 pm
Posted by Josephine Eshagian, contributing writer
The morning of December 14, 2012, a senseless massacre took the lives of 26 innocent victims: 20 children, ages 5 to 10 years old, and 6 adults. Police rushed to the crime scene of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. There they discovered the nightmare. The shooter, 20-year old Adam Lanza, took his own life after the heartless killing spree. His mother's body was discovered later that day. She was suspected to have been killed before Lanza headed to the school.
According to officials, Lanza died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The car he drove and the guns he used were registered to his mother, who he murdered at point-blank range. Three guns were found at the scene – a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols – and a .223-caliber AR.
I could not help but tear listening to children's testimonies on the news; most could not even register what had happened. When describing the events he witnessed, a 7-year-old boy recalled, "it sounded like someone was kicking down a door, not like gunshots. I was in the hallway and bullets were going past me. A teacher pulled me and another kid into a class so we could get away".
To say the least, I am heartbroken Grieving the innocent lives that were taken is not enough. As a nation, we should take action towards some kind of preventative measure--but is gun control the answer?
Hundreds of Americans rallied outside of the White House for gun control action today. President Obama shed tears as he addressed the nation in solidarity of the victims. The federal government and the National Rifle Association (NRA) may be under pressure more than ever after the events at Newtown.
Unfortunately, the tragedy in Newtown is not totally unordinary. As much as registering a gun is a deterrence for those with a troublesome past, the perpetrators of the recent massacres that we have seen in the news, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Newtown, were all committed by men without a criminal history, who were introverts, yet seemingly functioning members of society. The profile for a killer, from these events, is somewhat similar: young males, in their 20s or early 30s, had a decent education, and unexpectedly snapped.
Many gun control policies already exist. Background checks, gun registration, limits on the number of guns, ban of high-capacity clips, ban of semi-automatic weapons, no guns for felons or mentally ill are some of the most favored policies—but are they really enforced? To some extent, yes.
Permits for concealed weapons are too easy to attain. It’s easy to buy a gun at a convention center or a local firearm shop. The firearm industry is a business that grosses over $2 billion annually. There are over 300 million guns in circulation, most registered, but many of them are not.
The idea of gun control sounds good - on paper. The NRA and the government should screen potential "responsible gun owners" via mental health screenings, but the logistics of enforcing that would be tedious, hard to regulate, and thus ineffective.
Fewer guns in circulation would reduce accidents but it would not eliminate the risks of massacres that continue to be a bane to society. Most people don't realize how absurdly easy it really is to obtain a firearm. Most vendors don’t even perform background checks. Even so, the unfortunate and painful truth is that illicit activity is all too common, especially in major urban cities. It isn't hard to buy a cheap unregistered handgun for $100 on the streets. A WASR-10 can run for $275. A higher-grade gun like an AK-47 is $300. At a gun show or store, these probably cost a lot more, but then again, the premium is the price to legally carry a concealed weapon.
The flaw of gun control proponents is their failure to understand that it is not a simple issue. Gun control is very intricate and there are many classifications (e.g. of guns, magazines, and other specifications, that deem its legality). Most people assume that the ban on assault weapons is a ban on automatic weapons such as machine guns, when it is actually a ban on weapons with military styling, not capability. For example, in California, a handgun is legal but one can buy a kit to convert it to a rifle, with a long barrel and stock, making it an assault weapon. High-powered guns such as MAC-90 and Ruger Mini-14 are legal but an AR-15 is not, yet they have the same capabilities. None is more dangerous than another.
Banning firearms will not stop killings. The irony of gun control is that although it aims for preventative measures, it does not significantly deter anyone from purchasing a gun. I support gun control, but with more than 49% of the popular vote going towards a Republican candidate, I can assure you that gun control would be hard to attain. Roughly half of the country, by association, opposes gun control as does the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment protects the right of people to bear arms. Protection is a viable reason to own a gun. Storeowners, security, and police own guns.
I asked my wise mother what she thought. I know how affected my mom was by the news because she seemed unusually upset during Shabbat. My mother is a compassionate woman: one that loves her children. In fact, she loves all children and she has the noblest heart. She told me how 20 years ago things like this didn't happen. 20 years ago people had guns. 20 years ago there were regulations on guns.
My mom told me a story detailing an event that occurred 14 years ago, when an Anti-Semitic armed man attempted to enter my elementary school, Stephen S. Wise, with intent to hurt children. The security turned him down, but the man went to another local Jewish school where he was able to hurt children. The guard at school that day may have saved my life.
Hate crimes, senseless killings, and other acts of mass violence do not occur merely because people are able to kill, but because they want to kill. Just as a man could use a gun to kill, a guard, could use one to protect, or deter a killer. In the right hands, guns have a legitimate value.
These views are not based on anecdotes or personal experiences. I support stricter gun control. It would prevent street crime, accidental deaths, and homicides. I think deadly weapons should not be easily accessible to the public, but I don't think that gun control alone can stop massacres.
Gun control is a start, but not the answer. The intrinsic nature of a killer, one that most of us cannot fathom to understand, is so potent, so evil, that even getting turned down by a store to buy a gun could not prevent him from his killing spree. If he has the capability to kill, he wouldn't hesitate to steal or harm to get his hands on a gun. The gunman, Lanza, took his mother’s guns and killed her with them. Lanza didn’t even own a gun, but he did possess the urge to murder.
There are many opinions, but let me issue mine: gun control is not the easy answer or fix to preventing tragedy. Guns account for 30,000 deaths annually, but if they are not legal, they will still be a recurring problem, just as alcohol was during the Prohibition. Before reforming gun control, perhaps we should pay more attention to our fellow human beings. There were warning signs in these young men turned killers. I would also purport for armed guards at school.
I strongly believe in heightened security at schools. Protecting children's safety is of the upmost concern.
In any event, what may seem to be unavoidable or unexpected should be put to an end as soon as possible—to prevent the amassing toll of innocent lives. Nothing can undo the tragedy that has struck, but we can aim for a brighter and safer future.
In the unfortunate case of Newton, Connecticut, 26 innocent lives were taken too soon and we mourn their loss. At this difficult time, let us keep their families in our prayers as we wish for refuah shlema.