A Reflection on the Connecticut School Shooting

I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s because I had a baby back in August. And once the not-writing starts, it’s hard to stop.

But today’s terrible, inexplicable tragedy broke through. I remember the Batman shooting this summer; but this time, I am a parent and the victims are the beautiful, innocent bundles-of-joy of other mothers, just like me.

I cried for them today. For the little ones; for the mothers; for the fathers; for all the family, friends and teachers. Each one of lost held infinite value, as all lives do, as my son’s life does.

I cuddled him close and gazed gratefully into his gleaming gray eyes. And bless his three-month-old-heart, he just grinned back at me. He doesn’t know about evil yet or suffering. He has known nothing but love and gentle care. That is what every child deserves. Not death at the hands of a madman. Today we remember the truth that every moment with our moms, brothers, friends and daughters is a blessing.

Why did this happen? We feel compelled to ask this question as though the answer could make it all better. But it won’t.

There is no answer because there is nothing reasonable about murdering children.

And why have there been so many shootings this year? This is America; this is where men and women flee to escape violence in other parts of the world; this is the “land of opportunity.” We live on Main Street. This isn’t where citizens fear attending school.

I deeply believe that evil has no explanation. It is simply the negation of a good. Evil attacks good to pull it down and destroy it.

Nonetheless, I will hazard my best attempt at understanding these painful events. It’s not lack of harsh gun control laws that cause these attacks. Gun laws are an appealing, simple solution. But weapons are tools. Access to rifles did not lead a man to open fire in a classroom.

Why did a human being choose to end the lives of his young neighbors? Why did the Colorado gunman kill folks attending Batman? Why did another man shoot Congresswoman Giffords?

At one level, these attackers suffer deeply from mental and emotional trauma and irrational thoughts. I don’t say that by way of excuse, but just as a statement of how injured a mind and spirit they must have in order to commit these atrocities.

On another level, we as a society, as a community of neighbors are letting each other down. It’s so easy to live comfortably in general anonymity. I know I do. The social safety net of families and communities has been gradually ebbing away and along with it the cultivation of virtue and accountability. We stay out of other people’s business, “as long as it’s not hurting anyone.” But sadly, as we have seen far too often this year, eventually, it does hurt someone.

What if we really reached out to our neighbors? What if we offered ourselves when a friend or friend’s child was in need—before they asked for help?

I certainly don’t have a lot of answers, but I think we nowadays don’t see other people as relevant to us unless they are a friend or family member. What if we did?

God does. Jesus taught us to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. How pitifully short we fall. How pitifully short I fall. God, who watched his own son die from the malice of ruthless men, is with us. He is with the mourning families and He is with the departed children in Heaven.

He weeps for our sins, for our fallenness, for the way we hurt one another. Through Jesus, he has taught us another way, and He yearns for us to follow it.

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