One of the reasons I have been so impassioned in fighting for the lives of Canada geese is because of the beauty, innocence and devotion to family that these birds represent and epitomize.
And yet, particularly over the past few years, the gentle, peaceful geese (and their babies) have been rounded up in New York City and unceremoniously gassed or slaughtered.
Thousands of geese and their goslings have been violently killed with little justification and barely a line acknowledging the slaughters in newspapers.
But, violence in our nation is no longer limited to Canada
geese and animals in general.
This past week, violence entered an elementary school and within minutes, snuffed out the lives of innocent children and faculty that tried in vain to protect them.
Supporters of the semi-automatic guns used to conduct this carnage now proclaim the "solution" to school shootings is to have armed guards positioned at every school in the country.
How would that stop mass shootings that could occur in any place of public or child gathering?
Should we have "armed guards" at playgrounds, parks, beaches, movie theatres, malls and churches?
Should our entire country be an armed fortress necessary to protect us, not from foreign invaders, but from our own people or disturbed teenagers?
The fact is that in a country of 330 million people, any individual can "go off" on a rampage anytime.
And with powerful weapons easily available (without background checks) through the Internet, guns shows and irresponsible friends or parents, who is to say that Sandy Hook cannot in fact, happen anywhere?
The undisputable fact is that no one selling, providing or giving guns away can predict exactly how that gun will ultimately be used.
The gun could be used for suicide. It could be used in the commission of a crime or murder. It might "accidentally" kill a child or loved one. Or, it might be used in highly publicized mass shootings such as Virginia Tech, Columbine or Sandy Hook.
One thing we do know: 32 people die every day in this country as result of gun shot.
Some may argue that guns are the result, not the cause of things gone wrong in society.
That is true to the extent that guns are the tool that purveyors of violence mostly choose to inflict mayhem and death.
But, guns are not direct cause of the violence itself.
The violence is in fact all around us.
Its in movies, video games, TV and the Internet disguised and regarded mostly as "entertainment." It in fact, saturates us in virtually every source of entertainment rendering a kind of acceptance and insensitivity to violence -- particularly among the young and impressionable.
And while the violence depicted in these sources is mostly created fantasy, there is also real violence -- particularly in our treatments towards other animals, of which Canada goose slaughters are just a small part.
Some have pointed to inadequacies in our mental health services as the main reason for the increase in mass shootings over the past decade.
True, such "services" leave much to be desired. Other than the "system" pumping up emotionally disturbed adults or children with questionable "medications," there are not many options for those dealing with troubled intimates or those suffering mental and emotional woes.
(But, certainly if dealing with those circumstances, one should not be filling the house with powerful weapons as Nancy Lanzo did. -- Weapons that her son later used to bring mass murder to classes of Kindergarten children and their teachers.)
So it is true that guns may not be the direct cause of violence.
But, they are the easy deliverers of it. -- The actual tool that takes violence out of the realms of fantasy and delivers it to the real world where people and their children actually live -- and die:
The murder of innocence.
I personally regard the roundups and slaughters of thousands of NYC park geese over the past few years as "the murder of innocence."
Our seeming paranoia of all things living (other than our own species) and our sense of power and entitlement to kill what we consider "inconvenient" has allowed us to invade places of otherwise peace, "safety" and tranquility to conduct insideous wildlife massacres.
But, some in our culture apparently draw no lines on what is acceptable to kill for sense of power and entitlement.
And powerful guns like the semi-automatic rifle used at Sandy Hook, provide the easy mechanism to do it.
There has been much discussion over the past few days of what parents should tell their children regarding school shootings.
One should first grieve (and feel some sense of alarm of) the necessity of having to discuss such unthinkable trauma and mayhem with small children in the first place.
But, then one should get rid of all the violent sources of "entertainment" in the home as well as and most importantly, the guns.
If parents and children need some "fun hobby" to do, then take the kids to the park to spend some time with the geese. (That is, while we still have some geese left.)
Though my words may be clumsy and inadequate, a very fine piece was published today expressing much more eloquently what is said here and truly getting to the heart of the matter. -- A must read below:
Better to nurture the developing and vulnerable brain with natural images of peace, devotion and cooperation than those of manufactured and real violence. -- PCA