I know this particular subforum is generally for "lighter fare" but since this is not about guns or politics, but specifically about American culture it seemed pretty miscellaneous to me. One of my frustrations with American culture is our ongoing obsession with safety and our recurring illusion of security. The non-productive reaction of the Sandy Hook killings combined with the attempts to capitalize on it by pushing an agenda that would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy had the proposed legislation already been enacted all but guarantees we will see another spree killing sooner rather than later. When these killings occur people are stunned. They simply cannot imagine what would drive a person to commit such a heinous crime. I would think after 9/11 we would all be more aware of the extremes a person’s hatred will drive them. Yet we are still stunned when it happens and we want answers. The problem is the answers are not simple, the problem is complex. We propose reactionary simple solutions that does nothing to address the problem. For those that remember Columbine, the finger largely pointed to videogames and bullying. Many tried to blame the parents but I think anyone with a teenager can attest to how little control a parent often feels. I’m not saying Adam Lanza’s mother was perfect but she didn’t pull the trigger either and found herself on the wrong end of the barrel. The point is that in many cases the answers are complex and in some cases not politically correct or culturally comfortable. There are some murmurings about Adam Lanza’s father or the use of drugs to control behavior. Again, merely factors but not causes but it causes an uncomfortable stir in our collective consciousness as we try to pretend like the traditional family structures are no longer important or relevant. Easier to blame guns, or videogames, or mean people, or rock ‘n roll, or whatever. We as a country are obsessed with bad things and seem to think if we could just regulate away all these awful objects than we’d be safe. Of course that ignore the routine acts of terror committed with innocuous devices, the mass stabbings in China, or even the Oklahoma City bombings. There are simply too many ways for people to kill other people. Our ineffectual response in creating the TSA and ongoing security theater shines as an example of how to appear to be doing something while accomplishing almost nothing at great cost in both time and money. We want to believe we are safe. We move to “good” neighborhoods but are shocked when bad things happen. Last week a women was jogging in the park before 8pm less than 2 miles from where I live. Two men ambushed her, knocked her unconscious, and raped her. Although it was dark, it was not late. I have rode my bike and jogged through that very same park many times and was personally stunned that there were no other people around. I have tried to resist using this incident to push my wife into learning how to use a gun, but we don’t live in a bad neighborhood. What we need to teach is situational awareness and threat assessment. Situational awareness has been a good skill to have. Having a keen sense of my surroundings has saved me from many a car accident. It is not just about looking out for criminals looking to do me harm, it protects me from idiots who are a threat to themselves and others. In my mind, situational awareness also means you don’t cut through dark alleys late at night in unfamiliar parts of town. Having good threat assessment skills was crucial to an old line of work, but it’s something every father should teach their sons. In layman’s terms think of it as “sizing up” an opponent. In my case I had to do this routinely when someone was a potential threat. Instead what do we teach? How to download songs on iTunes. We’re raising a generation of Americans who rarely exit their own personal bubbles. Is it any wonder our reaction to tragedy is so emotional and reactionary? If we give up our guns what happens when the next tragedy strikes? Whether it is a terrorist act or another mass murder, something will happen because we’re not actually making ourselves safer. There will always be bad people and they will always do acts that normal citizens would consider atrocious and unthinkable. Yet somehow our society looks at the Adam Lanza’s and others like some freak anomaly. The next one is coming, it is a matter of time. No amount of gun control, school security, armed teachers, or TSA Agents will change that fact. At what point does our society adopt vigilance instead of sticking our heads in the sand?