Updated and republished
This Christmas day past we were all reminded by news reports of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. As such our minds and hearts this Christmas went out to the families and community of Newtown which has become America's town. This American tragedy has crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific and it crossed into every known language and touched the minds and hearts of people, parents, friends and neighbors everywhere. We are all citizens of Newtown today.
It has become clear to America and to the world that this tragedy has brought an atomized society together. In the wake of this tragedy which has changed us all, and changed the way America sees itself. As such despite the best efforts of NRA's President David Keene, Americans know that we have to be more afraid of him than we do of each other. This was the lesson that history taught us in the wake of what was then called the Great War, also known as the war to end all wars. I speak of World War I, which was entered into with much fanfare in a carnival like atmosphere, promising it would all be over and everyone would be back home by Christmas 1914.
Far well less known is the historical fact that at least during Christmas day peace broke out if only for a day or two, when people who by propaganda been taught to fear each other stopped shooting and killing each other. If sworn enemies and armies stopped shooting because they got to know each other, then it shows there is hope for the rest of humanity. The reason many people buy guns in America isn't to go out and hunt or target practice at gun clubs. The reason they buy guns is because they're afraid of armed, possibly deranged villains meaning to do them harm. So in the tragedy of the Newtown school shooting, gun sales spiked yet once again, as they so often do, because we are afraid, and in order to stop being afraid we need to arm ourselves, because this is what we've been conditioned to do since childhood, and the American arms' industry profits nicely from our fear.
But I am reminded for you see I am presently writing from Europe, not far from where the Christmas truce broke out in 1914. Here too were groups of armed people, who were afraid of each other, who through the spirit of Christmas managed to overcome their fear of each other, whereupon it was revealed they were now in far greater danger of their own officers than they were of the enemy soldiers along the lines. And they got to know each other. They got to know each other by name, as they showed each other photos of their families back home who they had taken up arms to protect. (In precisely the same way that Americans buy guns to protect themselves and their family).
In doing so, they drew closer as human beings, if only for a little while before they were forced to take up arms in fear of their lives and start killing each other again, but at least for a few days in 1914 the Christmas spirit conquered the real enemy on the frontlines, who were found not to be soldiers, but the fear mongers and war profiteers who drove them to take up arms to defend themselves and their families.
For anyone who thinks that this analogy in fact is an exaggeration I would like to if i may please point to a report by the German magazine Spiegel, that shows that were 30,000 Americans died last year from gun fire. this would mean that during the last 4 years of the Present administration, 120,000 Americans were killed by firearms, this is a statistic that is greater than the statistic of the fallen during all 12 years of the Vietnam War. Unlike the Vietnam War there are no memorials built in America to honor the memory of these Americans. But now in the wake of the Newtown school shooting tragedy, there stands a memorial from coast to coast, it is a memorial of the heart that has changed America. So it is I say this Holiday Season when we hold our dear ones closer than ever before, we know this time it was a different Christmas in America. So it was the word went out and condolences were expressed from world leaders for the Newtown tragedy from far and wide, from across Europe and Asia and parts far beyond. We are all united now and we know that we have far more to fear from a weapons' industry than we ever do from each other.
This holiday season wherever you are, whatever your religious persuasion, let there be goodwill and peace from all of us to all of you. Seasons greetings and a Happy New Year America as there is new hope of change for the future in the wake of the Newtown tragedy!