I hope that everyone is enjoying the holidays. I wanted to quickly post some of my thoughts on the ramifications of the Newtown shootings and the fiscal cliff imbroglio. At the same time, I thought I would mention my M.A. thesis, which concerns the paranormal.
How Should We Respond to the Newtown Shootings
Immediately after the Newtown shootings, politicians, experts, and, for that matter, the public at large were clamoring for new laws to ensure that this tragic event was never repeated. Sadly, it appears that these calls for reform have died down. As so often happens, other events and happenings (cue the fiscal cliff) are starting to replaces Newtown in the public consciousness.
I would assert that we shouldn't forget the shootings. In fact, we should use them as motivation to address key concerns in our society. I would also contend that we shouldn't focus on one issue. The Newtown shootings point to numerous, potential flaws in our socio-economic structure revolving around bullying, parenting, lack of access to mental healthcare, guns, security, and school systems' missions, visions, and values. Further, we will not get very far with many of these issues unless we approach them with an open mind.
If I were in a position of power (and I'm not), I would select a panel of experts and non-experts (with many more non-experts than experts). I would ask them to explore a wide range of issues relating to the Newtown shootings. Importantly, I would ask them to go into the process with open minds-to put any preconceived notions aside. Their motto would be "let the data guide."
The Fiscal Cliff
The fiscal cliff deadline is fast approaching. Frankly, I do not expect the various parties to reach an agreement before January 1. I think it is certainly possible (and even likely) that a fiscal cliff deal will pass the Senate; however, it is likely DOA in the House. After his Plan B debacle, John Boehner can't afford to let bipartisan legislation clear the House until after the Jan. 3 speaker election. I could be wrong on this one; let's wait and see.
You might enjoy reading my M.A. thesis, which surveys Victorian America's attitudes to Spiritualism and the paranormal. In the thesis, I focus on believers in the paranormal and look at some of the things these people hoped to gain by communing with the dead. I do not (or try not to anyway) make any statements or claims regarding the existence (or lack thereof) of a supernatural world. You can find it here: Why Did Post-Bellum America Fall in Love with Ghosts?