Photo Courtesy of Shannon Hicks/The Newtown Bee
The developing tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut in which two gunmen killed at least 26, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School highlights the number one problem in today’s American society. We are becoming a country which is depersonalizing and desensitizing its population. I would ask that all of you would pray for the families of those lost and to take a moment to think about those killed. Here are the current details of what is known about the shooting (by the time you watch this it will probably already be outdated):
I am sure that this tragedy will renew the debate about the need for further gun control which I view as a little like arguing a ban on cars to stop drunk driving. Instead I think that we need to look at the commonalities between the perpetrators of these horrific acts of unspeakable violence. As of the writing of this report, we know nothing about the perpetrator(s) of this heinous act. I will make some predictions: 1) they will be someone generally disconnected from community and/or family, 2) they will have some fervent belief that will be false or nonsensical, 3) they will have received no guidance from any rational person as to the efficacy of their acts, 4) they will have little or no feeling about their victims, viewing them as either obstacles to some imagined wrong or simply not seeing them as human beings at all, and 5) they will have felt justified about their actions at the time they undertook them.
In the past half century, America has changed from a community based society into an urban based society. America’s national outlook has changed from personal accountability and personal responsibility to a society that looks everywhere but inside each other to try to fix the things that are wrong. During the 19th century, it was much more likely that everyone knew each other inside a community and the likelihood that someone would feel disaffected would be far less today where a typical American can go through an entire day in cloaked anonymity if they so choose. People can choose to fall between the cracks, and delusion and insanity can fester in solitude. They may live surrounded by 20 million people without feeling connected to any of them. In fact, to the disaffected, their delusion probably includes a modicum of paranoia that tells them that everyone else is connected except them.
I certainly have no snappy answers to this tragedy except that we should all do what we can to find the disaffected and try to connect them back into society. To reach out and help those in need. To do what we can to create our own sense of community wherever we can. People with loving connections don’t walk into a school and kill a huge group of children under 10. People with loving connections don’t walk into a movie theater and open fire. Real relationships with real love is the only way to stop this seemingly daily insane violence.