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Compass: Given our toxic divisions, it's going to get worse

Senseless massacres, such as the recent horrific murders at a quiet Connecticut elementary school, are going to continue. You don't like the sound of that? I don't either. But, nonetheless, in my opinion, these psychopaths will strike again and again. Things are not going to get any better. They're going to get worse and they're probably going to get worse in a hurry. Such are the consequences of our inability to take action on this growing menace because of political game playing, our political hate, greed and selfishness.

I hope I'm wrong, but in the deep marrow of my bones and somewhere in the abyss of my mind, this idea, swirling around like a bad dream in a dark wind, sends a shudder through me that I may be correct on these terrifying assumptions.

We refuse to deal with the reality, cowering in the corner, waiting, hoping, pleading for some kind of miracle. There is no miracle. There will be no miracle. No diatribes from gun control activists will bring one. No diatribes from the opposing side will bring one. Action is what is needed and there is a desert of difference between action and miracles. Meaningful action comes from meaningful debate. We do not have that. We have tantrums, like a bunch of spoiled brats when they cannot have their way.

There is no coming together of the minds. One group's screaming and ranting is compelled by political hate and paranoia, the other by politics and fantasy. We have an impasse, like a boulder in the turn. Statesmanship and negotiation skills have become anachronisms. Take a long look at what's happening in our Capitol today -- on both sides of the aisle. It's delusional to think a solution to this kind of tragedy lies in Washington.

The solution to this problem should lie within us, and only us, in our sense of conscience, our sense of decency. Unfortunately, that doesn't offer us any hope, due to the dismal fact that our society today, as a whole, is coming up short on decency -- at least on this issue. I bet you don't like the sound of that, either. Well, neither do I. But whether we want to admit it or not, it's true.

So, what is the solution? I would be proud if I could answer that. But, frankly, I'm not sure there is one. We may have passed the point of no return, unless everyone agrees to hand over their guns and have a gun-controlled society such as Japan and a few other countries have, and I'm not suggesting we do that. I can guarantee you, with the mind-set of this country today, that's not happening.

I would like to say we are a nation and society of responsible-minded people. I would like to say we can rise to the occasion as we have done so many times during previous troubles in our history. I would like to say we can overcome the problem of these slaughters, that we can put aside our differences, our special interests, our personal needs, and that all of us are willing to sacrifice something for the good of the whole, to eliminate these atrocities. I would like to say that in a situation as dire and threatening as children dying violently in our schools that we can defeat evil and restore goodness. But I cannot.

So, alas, to torture a cliché, we have made our beds and now we may have to sleep in them. Meanwhile, children and other innocents will continue to die. And as we stand by impotent and helpless in a stormy sea of inaction, political hate and selfishness, a faint voice riding on just a gasp of air comes to me, worming its way into my ear like a thin curl of smoke, and whispering an old quote from long ago by author and poet E.E. Cummings: "how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death?"

John Connor is a freelance writer. He lives in Anchorage.



By JOHN CONNOR