It’s been several weeks since I contributed anything here, for a variety of reasons. Since I last wrote, I’ve made it through yet another finals week at school, which came out better than I had hoped. I told myself that I would compose something as soon as I was done with my exams, but then Sandy Hook happened. As if that weren’t enough, the new NDAA for 2013 was draftd in congress, which has ended up featuring a continuation of authorization for US military troups to indefinitely detain anyone they so choose to define as a terrorist or who knows what else. All in all, it’s been a devastating few weeks for peace and freedom.
I’ve felt overwhelmed by all the the hyperbole, misinformation, screaming, and general lack of focus on what I see as the all powerful violent State which has come to play such an invasive role in our lives. I’ve had a hard time finding my own voice in this discussion. There are so many opinions being batted about back and forth, some that I agree with, and many that I don’t. I’m just not sure that I have anything useful to add to that discussion. So much of what I’ve read can be distilled into two categories: Those who say “We must do this,” and those who say, “we shouldn’t do this.”
Today, I came across what I think is one of the best pieces written about the Sandy Hook massacre. Writing on Sandy Hook, Faith & God Dr. Bialik takes what I would call a refreshing approach. She talks about faith, spirituality, love, and peace. She talks about the nature of G-d and of human tragedy and how those two issues are linked, and how they are not.
What exactly does a reference to a Jewish parenting blog have to do with the anti-war movement, you might ask? Well, here’s what got me started. Dr. Bialik writes mostly here about issues of parenting. She’s often outspoken in her opinions and her reasons for being the kind of parent that she is. However, she is, in my opinion, equally outspoken in her desire to not force her ideas or methods on anyone else. One of the consistent themes throughout her work is that she is able to back up her position with science, and that she will refrain, or at least, make the best effort to refrain from criticizing those who do not agree with her. Her subject are is often Attachment Parenting, a subject I really don’t have an opinion on one way or the other. However, what I admire, is the way she approaches this often controversial subject.
Again, you’re probably asking, “what does this have to do with the anti-war movement?” The issue is choice, individual choice. The intense debate generated by Sandy Hook has focused intensely on what government policy should or should not be. My position is that this is completely the wrong question. Surely if given the freedom to make choices, people could come up with a host of creative solutions to things like violent crime and school safety. Some parents might choose to individually home school their children. Others might choose to form smaller schools, neighborhood home schools if you will. Some communities might choose to preserve their schools as is, while others might choose to allow their teachers to use the resources and tools they are comfortable with to protect their students from the threat of violent crime. Still others yet might hire the retired Sergeant Major who lives up the block as a private armed security guard. I don’t think anyone can say for sure which one of these solutions is the best, but I do feel strongly that parents of school age children must be given every possible freedom to decide what is in the best interests of their own children without suffering under the tyranny of any majority, regardless of its size.
This too is the issue of the warfare State. While political parties continue to argue back and forth over what must be done to protect the children, the drone strikes continue. Just yesterday, there was what I think of as a completely disingenuous national moment of silence to commemorate those murdered at Sandy Hook. I couldn’t help but wonder where the moment of silence was for all the children murdered by drone strikes, or criminally maladjusted US soldiers who have “gone off the reservation” and mowed down innocent civilians with the exact same types of weapons used at Sandy Hook, only this time improved with training.
I ask you to think about what is a greater threat to your personal safety and freedom? Is it the thought that a mentally ill criminal might violently attack you or your loved ones, or that a military, empowered with a written law to round up and indefinitely detain you, backed up with training that teaches marksmanship, while desensitizing the individual to fear and stress to allow for more efficient performance, might invade your property, threaten or destroy your life, or that of those you love?
This blog is supposed to be about finding common paths to peace and prosperity, across political lines. My point is that the State is the one institution that is responsible for destroying that spark of creativity, that ability to solve problems, that desire to form prosperous free communities that is present in us all. You might agree or disagree with me on this. But please ask yourself, what would motivate an institution to deploy anonymous killing machines around the world with one hand, while at the same time advocating that individuals choices in how to protect and educate their children be limited with the other? It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?