Newtown, Guns, and Orchids


Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy Lanza, was a kind, decent woman and a loving mother, according to those who knew her. And I'm sure they are telling the truth.

But I can't stop asking myself a few important questions.

What if Nancy Lanza hadn't been an avid collector of guns, including assault weapons? What if, instead, she'd collected orchids?

What if, instead of taking her troubled son to shooting ranges, where he learned proficiency in manipulating machines of death, she had instead taken him on hikes, to concerts, or to art museums?

And those questions, in turn, raise a few more questions I'd like to direct at people who find collecting and shooting guns to be a meaningful—or even essential—part of their lives:

Do you really need guns in your life to make you happy or secure? What is it, exactly, that makes you so fascinated by them?

Might your time and energy be better spent doing other things that don't involve fondling, admiring, and firing machines designed solely to kill other human beings?

If you're a hunter, fine—a gun is a tool to feed yourself and your family. If you want a gun for protection, I can handle that, too, as long as you keep it safely locked away.

It's the fetishization and collection of these death machines that has never made any sense to me.

No one can say what would have happened if Nancy Lanza had collected rare orchids instead of deadly weapons. But I think it's worth asking.