Monday, December 17, 2012

Sad, but sick of pondering Connecticut shootings

Newtown, CT memorial for victims of shooting rampage
I'm sorry not to be politically correct, but I don't want any more emails or alerts about whether my children are safe in school. I can't read any more pronouncements for banning handguns so that kids emerge alive from their classrooms. Don't replay presidential assurances that "something will be done" to prevent tragedies like the Connecticut mass shootings.

There is nothing to be said; nothing to be done (but, perhaps, weep for the children and the families involved). Seeing flags flying at half-mast everywhere I go makes me wonder what the signal of such gestures is, or can be. When I was young, upon the death of a statesman, president or unusually significant leader, flags would ascend only half their usual heights in recognition of the accomplishments of the deceased. The diminished loftiness of the flag acknowledged the loss of someone particularly influential and great. Now, it seems, if we have reason to be sad, even if it's because someone went berserk, the national symbol is lowered.

That a human being could murder in such a shockingly heartless and cruel manner--in a place we consider innocent and pure--so many blameless and even exemplary people is, of course, horrifying. It is fitting that those lost should be memorialized properly, and mourned.

But that's where the response should stop. Instead of generalizing and sermonizing; instead of attacking second-amendment freedoms or insisting that some policy or safeguard might have prevented this tragedy, we should simply grieve. Quietly and sincerely.

There is no sense to be made of this. There is no action needed or blame to be placed. There is no rule or safeguard that should have been enforced. This was unpredictable and nonsensical. The motivations of the individual who committed this unspeakable series of murders is incomprehensible. We do not want to accept that, but we should, and in the end, we will.

In the interim, we magnify the sorrow by endlessly succumbing to what my husband has dubbed "the do-something disease." In our powerlessness, we crave solutions. We want to address the problem to gain control.

But we have none, and this kind of wrenchingly awful crime cannot be addressed. There is comfort to be shared but no resolution.

What causes mental illness to manifest itself? What causes a person to "snap" or experience "melt down" or, in shooter Adam Lanza's case, endure "an episode"? What spurs any compulsion? Medications can influence the brain and thus behavior, but are they automatically appropriate for socially inept, quiet people? Are we to look at anyone with idiosyncrasies or even Asperger's Syndrome as a threat requiring treatment and "normalizing"?

Sorry. I seem to be indulging in the same mind games I eschew. Let's deal with this in our personal feelings and stop groping for answers to imponderable questions. Sometimes the message is to realize our vulnerabilities and our dependence on God, and become more humble. There's research to be done on how the brain functions, but that is ongoing and hasn't yielded what we want to hear now. Let's accept our inadequacies and our lack of control, and then, please, just be quiet.


  1. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Evil Struck Again

    You would think that after a century which include the Holocaust, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and the rise of terrorism to name a few, we would have been cured from our childish ideas about evil. You would think that after any one of hundred atrocities of the past few years,we would of been cured.Rwanda, 9/11, human trafficking---what is it going to take?

  2. Excellent. I have 6 children in public schools and I'm not worried. Many people can't accept the simple fact that death in this world is inevitable and some things just won't be stopped.