Perspectives: Sandy Hook anniversary, why we shouldn’t feel guilty

Image courtesy of the Sandy Hook Elementary website

OPINION – When is the last time the American media celebrated the anniversary of something positive?

The news cycle might contain a passing mention of the commemoration of some great accomplishment. But our national media prefers to put its greatest efforts into obsessing about the anniversaries of tragedies or atrocities. They’ll devote hours upon hours of coverage to revisiting and rehashing a particular tragedy as if we’ve somehow forgotten.

A solemn remembrance of a tragic event is one thing, but agenda-driven grandstanding is something else entirely.

We’ll see this in great detail as the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings arrives this weekend. If the pattern holds true, the news anchors, whose job is to provide the official narrative to the rest of us, will again be tweaking our heartstrings.

They will remind us of the sorrow that the victims’ families have suffered. They will encourage us to wallow in outrage and despair that innocent lives could be snuffed out so callously. They’ll express dismay that the expected support for stronger gun control never materialized. None of this “reporting” will leave us better informed.

But then again, informing the public has never been the goal of the media fixation on tragic events. They are coaching us regarding what we are to believe and how we are supposed to feel. As John Rappaport said:

Events like Newtown are extraordinary teaching moments for television. Network newscasts display a constellation of emotions that are deemed “acceptable and appropriate” for the audience to experience. And the audience is thereby trained to mirror those emotions, to feel them, to express them, to soak in them.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t feel compassion for the families affected in Newtown. But we should be keenly aware when our fears and emotions are being manipulated for the benefit of power seekers.

Here in Southern Utah, firearms don’t elicit the kind of frightful Pavlovian response that they do in more restrictive parts of the nation. This is not evidence of lockstep conservatism so much as an actual familiarity with guns and their uses.

Most households in this part of the state own firearms for a variety of reasons. Hunting is still a popular pastime. Target shooting is also considered a completely wholesome family activity. There are collectors and craftsmen who enjoy the artisanship expressed in firearm design. Many of us own firearms for personal defense.

We also have the advantage of having numerous public shooting ranges at our disposal including a world class shooting sports park. This means that shooters of all ages can learn the proper use of firearms in a safe and structured environment. Opportunities for high quality training abound.

This type of hands-on education goes a long way in dispelling myths that our national media promotes in order to sell gun control to an uninformed public.

Another reason that the post-Sandy Hook gun control efforts have failed to sway many of us in the West is our attitude of self-reliance. The state of Utah has now issued over half a million concealed firearm permits. Many of these were issued to out-of-state residents, but it’s clear that we take our right to self-defense seriously.

Equally clear is the fact that the issuance of these concealed firearms permits has not created a bloodthirsty, trigger-happy population. Violent crime is still very much an aberration in Southern Utah despite widespread gun ownership.

Southern Utah is extremely fortunate to have sheriffs and a strong majority of law enforcement members who do not support disarming the public. This stance in defense of the right to keep and bear arms was portrayed as lawless politicking by the national media. But it is actually an example of fidelity to the oath these peace officers have taken to uphold and support the Constitution.

When federal authority is being used to encroach on our unalienable rights, it is proper for our sheriffs to interpose themselves between the feds and the people they serve.

These are a few things to consider as the anniversary of the Newtown shootings dominates the news cycle this weekend. None of them are anything for which we need to feel shame.

Recognizing and rejecting the attempts to manipulate our feelings doesn’t make us indifferent to the suffering of those who lost loved ones. But it draws a clear line of who bears ultimate responsibility.

Unless we were the one that was actually pulling the trigger, none of us have any duty to feel guilty for what happened.


Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Image courtesy of the Sandy Hook Elementary website
Image courtesy of the Sandy Hook Elementary website

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  • Karen December 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Wow, what a callous article! Mr. Hyde’s closing phrase, “none of us have any duty to feel guilty for what happened” ignores Christian principles. He mentions “compassion” a few times as though in afterthought so he won’t be criticized for the overall tone of the article. Let us ignore, for the moment, that 90% of people think that we should have expanded background checks at the very least and those same 90% have been ignored by Congress. Let’s just focus on watching out for all of our children, especially those that seem “out of place” or struggling with life. We can all do better as neighbors, friends, and relatives. I do feel guilty about Newtown because I think we can all do more to help. Instead of railing on and on about “power seekers”, Mr. Hyde would have done better to focus his words on encouraging all of us to help our children. They are our future.

    • skippy December 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Don’t intend to jump into a protracted argument on religion. Just wanted to state an obvious point: compassion is not unique to Christianity. Compassion is available to anyone, regardless of belief system, beliefs which easily interfere with this basic human experience. Indeed, true faith (contrary to belief) involves giving up all pretensions to knowing for sure and acting in accordance with, say, the beatitudes of Christ or the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, the latter of which doesn’t even require belief just reason and logic. To genuinely and unreservedly know that all children are our children is often no more than a sentiment. To see it as a fact is an entirely different matter, even if the Buddha and Christ provide compelling examples. But then, they both managed to shed the ego that drives our actions and ways of thinking. That’s Christ’s example to the world. But we made an ego out of that! I doubt he intended this…

      • Karen December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

        Excellent point, compassion knows no religion.

  • Craig December 12, 2013 at 11:12 am


  • Bender December 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    We are scared of our shadows and armed like Mexican drug lords. Sounds like paradise.
    I am about 10x more worried about encountering an unstable concealed permit holder and having it end badly as I am meeting up with the NRA’s caricature of a “bad guy”. You gun nuts have gulped in way too much Hollywood pretend gun play.

    • P38 December 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      you should be so lucky bender.

      concealed permit holders are safer, far, far safer, to be around than the police.

      fact. not fiction.

      • Bender December 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        I have no doubt the average felon is safer around a CPH than around a cop. Bender has taught his kids to be very careful around cops. A small minority are emotionally damaged and logically challenged and might have little stopping them from becoming judge/jury/executioner should they perceive themselves challenged. I agree that an encounter with law enforcement is a good time to be extra careful.
        What I’m hearing from you is that after a CPH has finished his criminal background check, sat through a four-hour Weapon Familiarity Certification course and paid $51 to Uncle Gary he somehow becomes clothed in a mantle of wise and responsible behavior and sober judgement. The CFP is rather like an special NRA temple recommend?
        Nope. If you were an idiot on the front end of the CPH process, you’ll come out the back end the same flavor of idiot.

  • Zeke December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

    @bender-So what is a “gun nut” ? I have been around guns all my life. I hunt, target shoot and occasionally carry. I do all this because I can. Until it changes, and I hope it never does, the Bill of Rights has the 2nd Amendment that states it is one of my “rights” I also support the NRA and their efforts to help keep that a right. I don’t see how my daily legal activity under the rights given me in the 2nd amendment constitutes me being a “gun nut” Do we call 1st Amendment supporters “speech nuts”? Or 4th Amendment supports “personal property nuts” Please educate yourself more about basic rights and how important they are to us. Especially right now.

    Also, as to Brian’s last statement. For example: I was not around when slavery was taking place. Therefore, It’s impossible for me to feel guilty about that. It was wrong and shouldn’t have happened the way it did, but I wasn’t there and had no control over the situation. Same with Newtown. Wasn’t there. Didn’t know the guy or the family. Couldn’t of prevented it from happening. How can I feel guilty about that? Sometimes bad things happen. Can’t prevent bad things from happening either. Tough pill to swallow but that’s the way it is.

  • JAR December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I’d be proud to protect your flank, When someone carrys around a politically correct sign that says
    ‘Gun nuts are not human, I assume they don’t have a family to protect so they don’t have any need for a 2nd Amendment. Same type of thinking that says ‘I don’t need to work to support my family, someone else with do it. i.e., Bender need to think logically before speaking.

  • DoubleTap December 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    On a different note: George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin killing fame. was indeed guilty.
    He was guilty of exercising proper gun control.

  • Bender December 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Dr. Bender, FIMD (Fake Internet Medical Doctor) offers up the following score sheet to help his readers self-diagnose the condition “Gun Nuttery”. Add your points up as appropriate:
    1) Believe that the Rambo movie series were documentaries. (+5)
    2) Ratio of money spent on children’s college fund vs. guns is less than 100:1 (+5)
    3) Feel empowered by your gun ownership in the same way your lifted 4×4 does. (+4)
    4) Certain that epidemiological studies showing gun presence in homes makes you more at risk are faked. (+3)
    5) What’s an epidemiological? (+2)
    6) Mutters to self “Them pointy-headed perfessers are [email protected]” (+2)
    7) Fondle gun in dark basement while wife and kids sleep. (+2)
    8) Recurring fantasies of gun fueled retribution against bad guys during everyday activities. (+5)
    9) Certain that despite the loosest gun laws in recent US history the black man in the white house is coming to get your guns and ammo. (+5)
    10) Stockpiled ammo but didn’t stockpile food. (+6)
    11) Agree with statement “There are only good guys and bad guys. Arm the good guys and shoot the bad guys.” (+7)
    12) Agree with the statement “The Lord inspired the founding fathers and they would approve of public ownership of assault weapons, therefore Jesus loves all guns.” (+3)
    If the following items apply to you, deduct from score:
    1) Keep guns and ammo locked in safe. (-3)
    2) Hunts, shoots, dresses and eats game (-10)
    3) Hunts on foot or horseback, eschews [email protected] ATVs (-10)
    4) Does not send money to Washington lobbyists in exchange for NRA bumper sticker. (-7)
    5) Skilled shooter, takes pride in marksmanship and gun safety. (-5)
    6) Hobbyist gunsmith. (-5)
    7) BMI under 30 (-3)
    OK readers, add up your points. If you’re over 0, you’re a gun nut. If that’s the case, don’t despair! We live in an increasingly tolerant world. All kinds of dysfunction is now celebrated: prison, tattoos/piercings, the creepy Hollywood/rockstar leather and chains/greasy look, being fat as a cow. Own your flaw! “I’m loony and proud of it!”

  • S Steed December 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Has anyone got any info on the Sandy Hook shooting outside of the main stream media? Because very little verifiable evidence was given on that, and the story seemed to change once the alt. media started to challenge it. Some of the same people were involved in the Boston bombing, and the photos of the scene show very few children. Someone is interested in scaring us all into giving up our guns, and the media has either forgot how to investigate or they are complicit in the plan. That is my feeling of it anyway. I recommend you look into it a little bit, make your own conclusion.

    • Bender December 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Whoop, whoop. We got a live one. Someone call the men in white coats.

  • Joanna December 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    What a strange little article. The idea that anyone would feel guilty for a massacre that happened 2500 miles away by a mentally ill whack-job is so absurd, it’s baffling to me. If someone stabbed someone else to death with a really pointy ear of corn, I would not feel guilty for eating corn, and I certainly don’t feel guilty for owning guns. Strange, strange article.

    • Craig December 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      It’s a non-issue -feeling guilty over a crime thousands of miles away that was committed by someone who was obviously very ill. This is the author’s version of “agenda-driven grandstanding…”
      Like I said before, YAWN.

      • bender December 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm

        hear, hear.

      • Joanna December 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

        Good point Craig! And it’s so ironic that agenda-driven grandstanding is the very thing that the author is poo-pooing. Yawn, indeed. LOL

  • DoubleTap December 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Bender…got some free time?? I need you to hold up my targets for me.

    • Bender December 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Now that brings up another point. I need to amend my scorecard.

      13) Is your screen-name an execution technique? (+5)

      14) Do you use military tactical language such as “protect your flank” in your everyday speech (+3)

      15) Screen-name also a weapon? (+2)

      • DoubleTap December 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Bender, Blender, more appropriate Blended Brain… can be sooo funny, hahaha….

  • Steve MacFarlane December 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Mr. Hyde is correct.

    The only reason one should feel guilty is if they were responsible for or could have stopped the killing at Sandy Hook. If that is you, then by all means feel guilty.

    We all feel sickened by the actions of a deranged killer. We all wish it had not happened.

    Those who want to blame the gun WILL try to guilt us into reducing or eliminating guns from our society.

    But, it wasn’t the gun that killed – it was a deranged boy who used a gun to kill. If he had used gasoline and a match would some call for the banning of gasoline and matches? No doubt.

    People killed people long before the invention of the gun. The Nazi’s killed millions without shooting one shot.

    We will only begin to solve the problem when we stop thinking with our hearts and start thinking with our heads.

    Mr. Hyde’s point is spot-on; those who want to blame the gun will use this anniversary to stir up emotions and hopefully rekindle anti-gun legislation. The killer gets a pass and the gun gets the spotlight.

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