By Robert Cohen, NotMilk.com
Peter Shaffer is an British playwright who will celebrate his 87th birthday in May of 2013. He is the author of a play which was later turned into a movie called Amadeus, for which he is best known.
In 2011, Shaffer agreed to have another one of his plays performed in the United States on the condition that he would re-write portions of that work. The play was Equus, the story of a young man who commits horrific crimes and is institutionalized. In that effort, Shaffer spent two weeks with my daughter Jennifer, who is the theatrical manager of Guild Hall in Easthampton, New York. Jen's theatre then ran Equus for two weeks, with Alec Baldwin playing the psychiatrist during that summer run.
As I watched a performance of that show one summer evening, I was impressed by the brilliance of the script, and there is one line which I will never forget, as it reflects the reason for the teenage boy's schizophrenia and extreme antisocial criminal actions. While arguing with the boys mother, Baldwin's character accuses her of being the cause of that child's actions, and in an uncontrollable fury, she screams right back at him,
"Ours was not a loveless home."
While responding in an absurd double negative, the playgoers are treated to a bizarre summation of just how disturbed a mother's child's mind had become resulting from her parental controls.
At that moment, I reflected upon a book by psychologist R.D. Laing called "Sanity, Madness, and the Family" in which a series of interviews of a father, mother, and child, demonstrate just how schizophrenia can be imprinted onto the psyche of a child by the actions of his parents.
This week, we were witness to a young Connecticut man who shot his mother multiple times in the face and then murdered teachers and six-year-old children in their classrooms before taking his own life. While focusing upon the tragedies of Newtown, Connecticut, we forget for a moment that perversion which triggered the actions of a man which changed America and violently first murdered his own mother.
There are an estimated 200 million guns in America. Each year, one out of every ten million guns turns a person whose name few know into an infamous and vile creature about whom books will be written.
One out of ten million guns. And what do we do in debate to suggest that no such incidents ever happen again? In futility, we suggest that all guns be forever banned.
There is a solution, but it is not in banning guns.
There will always be guns, and even if we could ban guns, there will always be knives, and if we could ban all sharp objects, there will always be rocks. There will always be hate and there will always be pain.
Rather than restrict concepts such as tools, we should focus upon re-creating an old theme, The Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would have others do onto you.
That theme should be re-taught in every classroom as a way of making this world a better place for all people. That theme should be used as the tool to end peer pressure, school bullying, road rage.
I do not suggest that we all love strangers. I am suggesting that we recognize a theme of "ahimsa" or "harmlessness" and apply that to all people and to all living creatures. "Do unto others" should apply to all living creatures, not just people. Recognizing a person's right to live his or her life in peace, or a dog's right, or a cow's right would make this a loving home for us all.