This is truly an awful time, made even more horrendous by the ease with which anyone can purchase weapons of mass destruction. I keep thinking too, of the first responders arriving on the scene to find the bloody bodies of such small children, and of the deep and life-changing grief of the parents.
If there’s anything positive in this horrifying massacre, it’s the instinctive reactions of most Americans: it’s heartening to see this kind of sorrow and empathy sweeping our nation, to know that our humanity and concern for others is intact, despite the inhuman and callous malevolence of some. As we come together in sorrow and the desire to help, let’s nurture that instinct to do something to help, to do the right thing, to stop this from happening again. But how can we do that when we’ve seen it happen before, when we know, discouraged and feeling helpless, that it will happen again? Let’s all of us take a good, soul-searching look at our society, a society in which we promote violence every night on television, in which owning weapons of mass destruction is an inalienable right. Collectively, as a culture, as a society, and with the worst of unintended consequences, we don’t just teach our children that all problems are solved with violence and guns, we show them how to do it and we prove it to them every day in the endless, permanent wars we wage against other human beings.
Let’s all take a good, soul-searching look at our own hearts and what we’re teaching our children: We grieve deeply for those massacred in Newtown, but where is the sorrow and empathy for the children massacred with our drones and bombs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine? We live in a society which teaches us to value some human beings, while dismissing the humanity of others. But the lifeless body of a slaughtered child is the ultimate witness and challenge to hypocrisy and the separation of heart and mind. The reality is that once you’ve dehumanized any human, violence becomes a facile and appropriate option. Whether it’s a mentally ill young man incapable of seeing others as human beings or an entire nation incapable of seeing the “enemy” as human beings, the result is still horrific slaughter.
Please do something, please take a first step; making violence acceptable has got to stop. Whether it’s getting involved in changing the gun laws in your state, teaching our children that violence against women is wrong, getting involved in anti-racism or anti-homophobia work, or joining the anti-war movement, please start doing something to stop this from happening again. To anyone.
Peace, solace and hope for change to everyone,