It’s Dunblane all over again.
For the rest of my life I will remember staring at the class photo that emerged in the days following that massacre in Scotland over fifteen years ago, and grieving for the loss of those beautiful little faces. I had only been married for a couple of months when it happened and it horrified me. I tried to imagine what it might be like if one of those children had been mine. It was awful.
Today it’s worse.
Today I actually have children. One who will be attending kindergarten next year. People all around my office want to talk about this and try to speculate what happened. I just want to hide. I want to hide and pretend it never happened. But I can’t.
So I’m doing what I do every time my mind goes into overdrive and refuses to turn off about something I don’t want to think about. I write.
What is frustrating most to me is that the event is not even twelve hours old and the same old thing we always talk about has already come up. Gun Control.
It’s not that I am an NRA member or a huge proponent of gun rights. The problem I have with this thinking is that it is a cop out. This is not a gun issue. This is a societal issue that goes much deeper.
Many who cry out that we should get rid of the guns will be the first to tell you in separate conversations held at a different time that their favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy or…the list goes on and on. If guns are to blame here, our fascination with entertainment that promotes…even celebrates brutal and harsh murders depicted in far too gruesome reality must take equal responsibility. Another cultural reality is that every person today believes they can be famous whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, or even blogs like this one…as if fame matters.
The truth is, I have no idea what was going through Mr. Lanza’s head when he walked into that classroom. I don’t care. I find it revolting that I even know his name. I don’t want to know why he did this and I refuse to try and make sense of it. There is no sense to this. But I do know arguing about gun laws or movies or social media in the aftermath isn’t going to change anything. It isn’t going to bring peace to the parents who have lost their children and it isn’t going to provide any sense of protection to those of us who were lucky enough not to have our children in that school today.
The answer, as I see it, is that we are seeing the ugly side of our reflection in the mirror we have created for ourselves. People have been asking for decades what our country would be like if we removed God from the equation. Well, turn on the TV and you have your answer.
I know there are those that would immediately argue that the devastation happening in Syria and Israel and Gaza are all about religion, but I would quickly point out that I said God, not religion. I will be the first to recognize that organized religion has made its mistakes throughout the centuries, but our society’s desire to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater is now taking its toll on us.
So, tonight I will refuse to turn on the news. I don’t want hear it. I don’t want to see it. Because I know that whatever pictures begin to emerge, they will look far too much like children I know…maybe even children I’m raising. I can’t take it. I will also refuse in the coming days to get drawn into discussions about what we can do to stop these kind of things from happening again, because it is pointless. Evil unchecked is going to do what it is going to do and it has been that way from the beginning. This is simply our generation’s version of it.
What I will do is pray. I will pray to a God I believe in and trust in. I will ask Him to protect me and my family and the little valley in which we live. It won’t guarantee anything, but I know in my heart it is the best line of defense I have available to me.