Monday, December 17, 2012

A Word on the Tragedy

I just wanted to take a moment here to address the recent horror in Connecticut. There is not much anyone can say authoritatively about it but I did not feel like I could ignore it. For those of you that know what happened, (which is I’m sure most of you) there is no reason to go into the gruesome details. For those who do not, suffice it to say that there has been another school shooting, sadly not the first, but involving someone shooting up a class of very, very young children. This is a hard thing to come to terms with and my first thought was that I wish my nieces could be home schooled. I would even offer to take on the job myself to get it done but that’s not being realistic. I am the last person anyone, even my sister, would want to leave their children with. I would spend half the day ranting about why everything in their textbooks is wrong and then the other half we would probably spend drinking coke, eating junk food and watching really weird foreign movies. Not a pretty sight. Still, due to the quality of public education as well as my growing paranoia over the safety my little almond-eyed sweeties, I really wish they could get out of the system. Alas, it is not my decision to make and (despite my please to Santa Claus) all mankind does not bend to my will. Yet. Christmas is just around the corner…

Anyway, enough with the babbling. This is a tragedy, a horror, a nightmare and the grief of others is not something I find it easy to deal with. I will try to stick to some simple, basic points that seem to come up on such occasions. First, I will deal with an easy issue. Anytime something like this happens you can count down the seconds until someone brings up gun control. That is, in a word, “stupid”. Some countries have even more widespread gun ownership than America and they have less shootings (like Switzerland) while other countries have totally banned all guns and seen gun crime increase (like the UK) because -shock of shocks- lawbreakers tend not to care about the law. Recently there was another shooting in which the shooter was using a stolen firearm. Gee, if only we had thought to pass a law against stealing! Oh, wait… Now, I am not trying to diminish the pain of someone being shot. By no means. I have been shot, I know exactly what it feels like to have a hole blown through your body so I don’t want to hear any smart remarks about me being ignorant of what a gun can do. I do. Furthermore, I don’t think you need to experience that to know that it is not pleasant or that some things are worse. Given the choice of being shot or stabbed, I have never known anyone who picked “stabbed”.

Anyone who would do something like this will find a way to make it happen, if he has to steal a gun, buy one on the black market or use some more creative means of taking the lives of others. That whole issue is simple for me. The only thing I really don’t understand is why so many of these types kill themselves afterward. Why not just off yourself in the first place and save a whole lot of time and aggravation? It reminds me of a line from a poem that someone (let’s say a doctor) told me once and has stuck in my head ever since, “Good creatures, do you love your lives / and have you ears for sense? / Here is a knife like other knives, / that cost me eighteen pence. / I need but stick it in my heart / and down will come the sky, / and earth’s foundations will depart / and all you folk will die.” It is nearly impossible to stop someone who is bent on destroying themselves and almost as difficult to stop those intent on harming others. There is only so much that “we” can do but, as the increasing number of these tragedies shows, I think it is obvious we could do more. In the aftermath, everyone wonders “why” and “how” such things could happen. I am no more an oracle than anyone else, but one thing does come to mind. Perhaps it is the sort of thing one can only come up with if one has a first-hand grasp of mental disorders. In a word: empathy.

Everyone, I don’t care who you are, at times has violent thoughts. And I don’t think it matters what music you listen to, what movies you watch or what video games you play. Why I ask myself how someone could do such a thing, all I can come up with is that we are, as a people, becoming increasingly incapable of truly understanding the pain of others at all. Is it because our society as a whole is becoming ever more impersonal? Is it because things like charity, kindness and compassion are increasingly becoming a duty of the government rather than an individual responsibility? I don’t know, it may all play a part in the larger trend but I am fairly certain that no one could do what this person did if they had even the slightest capacity to understand the pain felt by others. We are becoming more self-absorbed while at the same time less and less officially “selfish”. But that cannot be the only problem. The problem, I think, is bigger but still simple, and that is God.

When you see the horror, the pure evil that was done, such actions (to my mind at least, and I know people will call it backward and superstitious) can only be attributed to the Devil. We have become an increasingly godless society and one in which we do not even agree on the most basic difference between “right” and “wrong”. In fact, it seems we are increasingly convinced that such distinctions do not even exist. Obviously, I am not saying that this would not have happened if the murderer had gone to Church or anything like that, but it is just as obvious that this was someone who did not fear divine judgment or have any respect for the law of God, including “Thou shalt not kill”. But, it is bigger than that. I know many people will be upset that I go back to this issue, but I cannot help it, the fact is that we in the United States, legal, law-abiding citizens, have murdered 50 million babies since 1973 and each one of those lives was just as precious and just as innocent as the children murdered in Connecticut. The only difference seems to be that if you kill your own children soon enough we have no problem with it but a dead child is a dead child and by condoning one while condemning the other, it seems to me, is sending an extremely mixed message about the value we place on human life.

Our prayers and condolences go out to the victims of this atrocity. Words cannot express the heartache. My parents know what it is like to bury a child (three in our family) and that is a pain that never goes away and that no one should ever have to experience. All I can do is pray for them and take some comfort in the fact that I know, in my heart, these children are with the angels and the one who took their lives is in torment and will be forever. It is a great tragedy and further proof, to me at least, that we need God. As the Good Book says, quite simply, “God is love”. We need to stop turning our backs on it and embrace it, the only alternative is suffering.


  1. Even during the height of the lawless old west people didn't behave like this.

    "Religion puts God in Heaven, sanctifies His's Saints and hence humanizes human being; secular-humanism puts God in the land of Morpheus, humanizes His's saints and hence animalizes human being."

    1. In the old (pre ACLU) days, it was much easier for family members to get their mentally ill loved ones committed to asylums.

  2. First, my prayers and condolences go to the deceased and families. Second, why did this event occur? Why does any tragic event occur? Sin. We live in a fallen world. Why is there evil? Genesis 1-11. Why do people murder? Genesis 1-11. Why do people hate? Genesis 1-11. Why this? Why that? Genesis 1-11 has the answer to all of our questions.

    What does the world need? The Gospel and more of it. Laus Deo!


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