Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Fear Of Death Causes Death: A Self Fulfilling Prophecy In Newtown

By Matthew Cohen
SJS Staff Writer

Details have emerged from the unthinkable tragedy in Newtown. There have been reports that Adam Lanza’s guns were taken from his mother. It has also been reported that Ms. Lanza began to buy guns following a divorce for fear of being alone in a large house. Many people will look to gun control as the issue here, but underneath gun control, lay a the more basic and primal need to assuage fear.

Fear has a way of multiplying. The more obsessed one becomes with being fearful, the more fearful they become. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are many tragedies in this world, but the things we are truly fearful of are few and far in between. The media sensationalizes the darker aspect of human society; it creates fear. The constant focus on the negative is warping people’s minds about the amount of danger they are actually in. It is as if there is an Apocalypse looming over all our heads. Nancy Lanza began to arm herself based on those fears, she would take her son along to gun rages further multiplying them. Her son then used those very same weapons she bought for safety and created the nightmare that she was trying to protect herself against.

This is not a matter of blame, there is an important lesson here that must be heeded; although we believe the potential for violence creates safety, it really just creates more fear. The antidote to fear cannot be aggression, it only works in the short term, and there is no lasting cessation of fear. Inevitably someone gets hurt, multiplying fear;  in essence  we all become some version of Dr Frankenstein.

The issue is not gun control,, rather it is the cultural want to eliminate danger and avoid death. We lack the comfort with the unknowable future, this creates a paranoia that is in itself significantly more dangerous than weapons. A peaceful world will never found at the end of the barrel of a gun. Ultimately, the only solution to fear is bravery, that noble understanding that although we might experience fear we can muster the courage to carry on in spite of it. That sort of bravery only comes from love, it is the anti-fear.  Legislation will not disarm the world, that will only come from cultivation of love, and the acceptance of fear and mortality.

Newtown is a tragedy that is straight out of Shakespeare;  it is a reminder that if we are not careful, we might bring about the very thing that strikes fear into our hearts. To protect our children we are all going to have very brave indeed. Love, and prayers to the children and people of Newtown.

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