In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
~ Romans 8:26
I’ve held off on writing about the shootings in Connecticut. In part because I couldn’t come up with the right words. Even now I realize this post is awkwardly written. I also held off in part because I just wanted some of the hysteria to settle down.
Don’t get me wrong. The hysteria is justified. Emotions are raw. How could this happen? How could this happen to children? How can we stop this from ever happening again?
This is not everything I want to say. I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that the answers do not lie in stricter gun control. Nor do the answers lie in arming everyone, including teachers.
There are so many things that should be said. And so many things that shouldn’t be said. Facebook has been rather nauseating from people on both sides of the issue.
I think in terms of the public policy debate Brian Schoeneman said it best over at Bearing Drift when he wrote:
The problem of individual men making the conscious decision to kill many people at once is not new. We’ve been dealing with this in the United States for over half a century. We’ve taken rational steps to ensure that criminals and the mentally ill cannot buy guns legally with common sense solutions like background checks. Those steps need to be reviewed to make sure we’re not missing anything. We also need to have a frank discussion about mental illness, its treatment, how it’s perceived in society and how it’s dealt with. Because of the stigma of mental illness, too many people who desperately need treatment don’t get it. Too often there were warning signs that were missed, not taken seriously enough, or these men fell through the cracks. That can’t happen.
Brian goes on to say that the media reporting in situations like this is tragic. As reports were coming in that the shooter had been identified a name was given out and immediately people were viewing his Facebook page. But it was the wrong one. When law enforcement says “we’re not releasing a name,” then neither should the media. Our need to know is not that great. And your need to be first, even less.
While we’re at it, leave the children and the families alone. Let them grieve. Let them heal.
In some ways, I don’t know why events like these shock us so much. Hollywood and video games make death and destruction a casual event and life becomes devalued. That’s a discussion for another post. After all, Hollywood only produces those movies because we’ll pay the $15.00 to go see them.
Ultimately, there is one cause for events like this. We are a broken world and a broken people. And we are all in need of a Savior.
Non-believers will take offense at this. But Christ has already taken the offense and the grief and the violence when he voluntarily went to the cross to die as a criminal.
Evil is real. Evil exists. There is one answer to evil. But as one of our pastors put it on Sunday, Christ did not come to this world to change the chaos, but to change us.
And in despair I bowed my head.
“There is no peace on earth,” I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Cartoon via Legal Insurrection.