As I mentioned in my last post, I am struggling to understand certain beliefs and our world's approach to how we plan to live together meaningfully and peacefully. With the tragedy in Connecticut, I'm afraid I am struggling to understand, like many of us are. In this season where we should be celebrating all that is good in the world, we are faced with unspeakable pain of which I hope to never face myself.
I deliberately did not watch television yesterday or last night. I know that the reaction to this disaster will be emotional, there will be as a result of the rapidly unfolding events, many inaccuracies and much rhetoric, and none of it serves the memories of those sweet children, innocent, unsuspecting, not understanding themselves what was happening. None of this coverage helps the adults who were also massacred trying to defend these children. None of the sensationalism does anything to alleviate the suffering of the families and friends of those who were involved, or the responders, or the community as a whole.
No amount of legislation, no amount of restricting, no amount of preparation or arming ourselves or anything will stop the machinations of a highly motivated and inherently evil person. We can place hurdles in their paths but these can be subverted by just looking for the weaknesses in the armor. The question goes to a bigger issue: What would possess someone to take the life of another in such a manner?
If you are angry at an individual, I can rationalize your wanting to kill them. If you are tormented by a certain clique of classmates, I can even reach a little more and understand that. I can even dig down deep and "understand" lashing out at an institution. But in the case of Aurora, in Oregon this past week, and now this in Connecticut, what really drives someone to want to kill random, innocent people? What purpose does killing children, movie goers, holiday shoppers, or anyone else who isn't even involved in your twisted world, prove? The answer goes to the "fame" they get from it, and our society prides itself on knowing the name and every other prurient detail of the famous or infamous.
The answer is to not give these individuals the reward they seek.
While it would be perfect to be able to exterminate them at the point they make contact, an armed populace only confuses the issue. We can provide better mental health support and I think that is extremely important, but first you have to identify and convince these people to seek that help and frankly, many of them believe they are in the right and everyone else in the wrong. We can come up with all kinds of other bandaids and patches, but they don't go to the heart of WHY these people take out innocent lives: that the outrage serves to elevate their ego.
I am asking you to pray and reach out to those who are affected by this heinous event. But even more so, don't buy into the hype. It's not going to go away by ignoring it and we can plan and make efforts to mitigate the situation, but the elemental issue here is that these sick individuals "one-up" each other by ramping up the evil in their actions. If we give in to that, the next person sees that and is encouraged to go one better.
If you really want to learn something from this, delve into the post-incident analysis that will eventually occur and learn how to minimize the impact of similar events in your own communities. But above all, we need to look around us, and if we see someone who needs help, get it to them. And most importantly, we need to reach out to the people around us, tell them we love them, and let them know that we can all co-exist on this planet, and should, with peace and happiness.