This isn’t how I wanted to come back to blogging. I was hunkered down this morning trying to think of something irreverent to write when I saw the news. Newtown. Sandy Hook. Adam* Lanza. These words will be part of our lexicon for decades to come, forever putting to mind this terrible day. Our hearts will break again and again in the coming days as victims share their stories. Families will recount the tales of their lost children, the altered course of their lives. We will be grateful for the bravery of teachers who tried to protect their students. There should be no limit to compassion and sympathy for the families who lost so much today.
We have all witnessed too many incidents of spectacularly senseless violence, so we all know what comes next. The inevitable debate over gun control, school protections, and legislation. The logical reaction to something so irrational, arational, completely divorced from any kind of ration, is to figure out how we can make it stop and how we can send our children into the world every day. I understand that debate; I understand that people on both sides of it want to protect themselves.
As Brother Jon stated, perhaps now is not the time to have that debate; it is time for mourning. However, it is already out there, on Facebook, Twitter, and I am sure in thousands of private conversations. I believe it to be a means of feeling like we would have had some control over the situation. If only gun control laws were tighter, if only everyone carried guns; no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you believe that if only things were slightly different you could control the outcome if something like this happened in your corner of the world.
But what really caused this man to do such a terrible thing? There is no justification for his actions, nothing redeemable, and no way to really prevent it, as scary as that is. Perhaps our only method of shaping the future lies in addressing the root causes of violence in this world, rather than the tools used to carry it out. You don’t pick up a gun to harm someone if you’re not sick in your heart and your head.
*I had originally named Ryan Lanza, as it was reported this morning.