John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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The Enemy Within

Posted on December 15, 2012


I feel like America is collectively living in a very disturbing episode of the Twilight Zone.

The events from Friday morning in Connecticut have thrown me for a loop.

A kid from the suburbs killed a bunch of small kids from the suburbs and their teachers and their principal.   That these children are roughly the same age as my son fills me with a combination of rage, dread, sadness, empathy, and confusion.

How could anybody do that a bunch of defenseless little kids?  As if doing the same thing to high school kids is any way better, but this seems much, much worse.  Six and seven year olds are so, so sweet.  These are the best years for Christmas.  They are just getting to get the hang of the holiday, just getting to ask for the best presents, and they still believe in Santa.  They haven’t adopted any of the cynicism that comes from the season.  They are really fun little creatures, six and seven year olds.  Coming smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, this event is so, so cruel.

The shooter lived a familiar shooter’s life.  He was smart, but withdrawn.  He was into Goth and video games.  He was autistic, which seems to be such a common thing for boys these days.   His mother home-schooled him because he was so socially awkward.

How many times have we heard this story?  How many times do these suburban kids grow into suburban killers?  Well, there were 13 mass shooting incidents over the last year fitting this profile, so this happens more often than any of us would like to admit.

In this particular instance, the facts are even more tragically ironic.

The mother did well in a divorce settlement, and got the big house as a result.  She didn’t feel safe alone, so she got some guns to protect herself.  She even would go shooting with her son, the one that killed everybody.

In other words, she trained her murderer with her own weapons that were meant to protect her.  It turned out that the one she most should have worried about was not the enemy without, but the enemy within.

Over the same weekend that this little shit killed all these defenseless little kids, 10 other people were killed in the city of Chicago, through gun violence.  A Suburban white kid was killing suburban white kids while black kids from the city were killing other black kids.

Guns rights advocates claim that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but we all know the truth.  Guns make it easier for people to kill people.

The President cried on Friday and the Congress put its flags at half-staff.  But I would like a bit more than tears and ceremonial actions in response to this latest tragedy.

I am sick and tired of our politicians and our pundits shrugging their shoulders and saying “Que sera sera.”

I would like a national panel of theologians, psychologists, sociologists, criminal scientists, educators and cops to be convened to come up some recommendations about how we can take steps to heal this country and these kids.

And then I would like Congress to take up those recommendations and then enact them into law.

I don’t know what they are, and frankly I don’t care.  If they contain elements of gun control, I am fine with that.  If not, I am fine with that.  Whatever they come up with, just as long as they come up with something.

After 9/11, a commission was created to come up with a response to that terrorist attack.  Congress implemented many of the recommendations and we haven’t had a major terrorist attack on our soil since then.

We need to stop the enemy within from being the biggest threat to our personal security.  We need to stop this endless episode of the Twilight Zone.