Today marks yet another sad day in our nation’s history. It seems like only yesterday that we were all reeling from the news of the massacre at Columbine, when in fact the school shooting happened thirteen years ago in 1999.
In the unlikely event that you don’t know what I’m referring to, I’m talking about the 26 lives that were taken today by a narcissistic gunman in Sandy Hook, CT who then – in the ultimate act of cowardice – turned his gun on himself and took his own life. 20 elementary school children were killed, the majority of whom were kindergarteners in the class where the gunman’s mother taught.
At this point there is little known about Adam Lanza, the 20 year old man responsible for the shooting. What we do know is that he had two handguns and a high-powered assault rifle in his deadly arsenal. It is speculated that he killed all his victims at close range.
In the midst of this tragedy, America is left looking for answers. How did this happen again? The news these last few months has been flooded with stories about deadly gun violence: The shooting at a mall in Portland, the football player who killed himself and his girlfriend, a shooting at a Wisconsin salon that left 4 people dead, and of course, the horrific massacre in Aurora, CO in a darkened movie theater.
It begs the question: Are Americans safe within the confines of their own shores?
For the majority of us, that answer is ‘yes’. The incidences of gun violence do not result in any greater number of death as a result of motor vehicle accidents, suicides, medical malpractice or a host of other ways that human beings die in this country. However, what separates gun violence from these is the intent behind the result and cold callous indifference in the mind of the shooter, which is what I feel needs to be addressed in America today.
To lose your life, or the life of a loved one, so violently at the hands of an insane person is more than I can personally fathom. I don’t understand how Adam Lanza could have plotted this malicious scheme and not considered the devastation that it would cause in its aftermath. Who knows what plans these bright young children had made for this weekend and the days ahead? Perhaps one had planned to show off to his friends, proud that he had learned to ride his bike on two wheels for the first time. Maybe one had a birthday coming up this weekend? Christmas is coming up. Did one of those sweet babies just want to sit back and take in the twinkling lights on their recently decorated tree…maybe even mischievously steal a candy cane and eat it before mom found out?
What kind of animal does not consider any of this before he takes a life?
The cries for gun control have been ramped up. Should we make it more difficult for people to get guns? Absolutely – but that’s just a Band Aid on a bigger issue; that issue being America’s heart.
I read an article on Facebook that touted how the Japanese have virtually eliminated death attributed to gun violence in their country, and that is to be commended. However, the Japanese have something going for them that Americans by and large do no today. They have a culture that preaches respect for one’s neighbor, country and for themselves. They live by a code of honor. Americans on the other hand have been force-fed the idea that we are all individuals who should not judge each other, and therefore are above judgment…even self-judgment. Every day, we become a more hedonistic society. Even our pulpits are crowded with messages about how to gain wealth and prosperity for YOURSELF and YOUR lineage. When was the last time you heard a good message about loving your neighbor and the level of sacrifice that this love requires? In our daily discourse, do we even discuss preferring our neighbor above ourselves?
Now that the two wars we are fighting abroad are drawing to a close, I sincerely hope our government and our citizenry will turn our focus to some serious domestic issues, and that is the crop of terrorists we are breeding right here at home: People growing up without understanding what it means to love and honor your country, your parents and yourself.
Laws and gun control would not have stopped Adam Lanza from doing what he did. This was a young man who came from privilege, who had his heart set on carrying out an evil act. Had there been no gun in his hand, he could have chosen to blow up the school. He could have chosen to poison his intended victims with some bio agent. He could have simply walked into that kindergarten class and slit each one of those children’s throats, just as a man in China did in a school earlier this week.
Sure: We can take guns out of the hands of the insane, the hedonistic, the self-centered and the plain old crazy, but that’s the easy part. It’s merely a populist rallying cry for a bigger problem. We need to return to training up children in the way that they should go, even if it’s not the most popular thing to do.
In the meantime, I join thousands of other saints praying for those sweet babies and the families left behind to deal with their unimaginable grief.