Who Are We Kidding?

violence1009I have been watching the varied reactions to the Sandy Hook killings with deep sadness for the children, teachers, and their families. Its hard not to cry when you think of the senseless murder of innocent little children. Like most people, I am deeply grieved. At the same time, I have been watching, and at times participating in the online discussions this horror has generated. I am sick of people responding with cliché’ responses. The gun control people have used this tragedy to further their goals of a gun-free society. The second amendment people have countered with statistics to bolster their arguments that guns decrease violence. Others have called for increased security in schools, with armed security guards, or suggested that teachers start “packing heat.” The gun control people characterize anyone with a gun as homicidal maniacs looking for any excuse to shoot someone. The gun rights people characterize the gun control people as naive idiots. Still others have argued that we need to be locking up the mentally ill to protect the common good.

Some religious leaders have claimed this calamity is a judgment from God on America for legalizing gay marriage. As a religious leader, I take a great exception to this, because I believe God has better aim than to knock off innocent children because he doesn’t like gay marriage. Others claim this happened because there is no prayer in schools. I have a problem with this as well because many people of faith were killed by the Germans in the war, and I’m sure they were praying.

All of this drives me to the point of despair. This was a terrible thing that happened, and its deplorable that people are using it to further their political and social agendas. The issue is not guns, not mental illness, and it’s not gay marriage or school prayer. The issue is that humanity is deeply flawed and we kid ourselves into thinking that we have progressed into a kinder, gentler society.

The reality is, that the world is a violent place and human life is not valued as it should be. In the first part of the 20th century, we thought we had evolved into a kinder society than we had been in the past, until the two world wars and the holocaust happened. 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered by the Germans, not to mention the 4.5 million other Jews, and the total of 50 million people killed in the war. It was hard to say we are a kinder, gentler society after that, but we persisted. Those numbers were put into perspective by Josef Stalin, who said, “when one man dies, it’s a tragedy. When a million men die, it’s a statistic.” Its a cold statement, but very true. We react more strongly to a few deaths than we do to the deaths of millions.

The cold reality is that we live in a violent world; a far more violent world than the world I grew up in. We never had to worry about guns in schools, or people flying jet planes into buildings, or suicide bombers. I don’t think any one of these reactions is the answer, but they all have an element of truth to them.

As our society has become more secular, it has lost the moral input given by religion to inform citizens of moral and ethical values. Human life is precious because we were created in God’s image, and that is what makes our lives more valuable than animal life. Disarming the public is not the answer, but in all honesty, we don’t need assault weapons for personal use. We probably do need to lock up mentally ill people who pose a danger to society, even if it costs more to do so. Whatever the solutions are, they won’t help comfort us that twenty young children were murdered by a madman. The things that help have been the acts of kindness done by people who were saddened. The company that sent coffee to Newtown; classes of children around the country making snowflakes and sending them out to Newtown; throngs of people attending the funerals, and people doing random acts of kindness for others in memory of the children. People should attend worship services, and get in touch with their spiritual values, which is a stark contrast to the materialism and general devaluation of human life in our culture. These are the things that affirm our highest values, and will make the world more like the place we want it to be.


4 thoughts on “Who Are We Kidding?

  1. “I am sick of people responding with cliché’ responses.” Appreciate your wisdom as indicated in the writing of this article! I actually would like to see more of a discussion on the topic of Family Life and How it Influences a Child. From what I have read this poor kid had a miserable family up bringing…can you imagine being a kid and feeling as though your parents hated you?
    This young man may have been 20 years of age….but emotionally it appears his maturity level lagged behind……which is not to excuse the behaviour …but there seems to have been ’causes’ that should have been addressed by wise and loving parents..which were not! While guns were the weapon of terrible destruction they in and of themselves were not the real problem..in my humble opinion…which may not be worth much!

  2. There is no event that could be sited where I’d then say “oh, now I understand why he did it” because there is no such thing that could account for what he did.

    If he killed his mother only, although it sounds horrific, there’s the possibility that he did it in self defense, or that he snapped etc. But he didn’t stop there did he?

    Just like no event or “family history” could account for Hitlers actions, nothing accounts for this guys either.

    This was evil…

  3. I will step right up and admit I do not know how to stop the violence right now. I could say how to stop it in two generations, but as of right now the damage to our young people has been done. We can only come up with ways to protect ourselves from it. I have ideas on that, but they are not PC, so probably wouldn’t be welcome here..

    The first part of answer is to put some SERIOUS commitment into the marriage contract, and to make divorce about as easy to get as a trip to the moon. That includes complete prohibition against homosexual marriage. Pregnancy outside of wedlock should once again be a shameful thing, and the male part of that union should be brought to account pronto. All this would result in almost every child being reared by a mother AND a father. There used to be a saying, “The family that prays together stays together.”

    The second part is to put a stop to all video games, movies, cartoons, etc., that portray death as anything other than totally permanent. For example, when a safe falls on the roadrunner and kills him, he needs to stay dead FOREVER. Things portrayed in entertainment need to be reasonably similar to what they might be in real life. The fantasy world of extreme violence, with utter destruction, explosions cars flying through the air, etc., teaches children that this is what the world is like. Don’t forget, children come into this world with not a shred of knowledge about anything. They learn what their parentS teach them and/or allow them to be taught.

    What I’m trying to describe here is, that people are products of their environments. Young people can be EXPECTED to behave as they have been taught during their childhoods. A young person who has been brought up with respect for others and their property, and with an understanding of when violence is appropriate and when it is not, will not take his mothe’s gun, be it an AK-47 or a .38 special, and run about cutting people down just for fun. The guns are no more responsibkle than automobiles and alcohol are for DUI deaths. Counselling isn’t the answer either. Counselling is a lousy system to begin with, and it only gets used after the killings have been done. Big deal.


  4. Pingback: Did Society’s Devaluation of Life Cause Newtown? – The Brenner Brief

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