Friday was an absolutely horrific day for humanity.
The senseless killing of 26 people, including 20 children and the shooter’s own mother, is hard to fully grasp. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around how someone could be so driven to do such a thing. It’s something I’ve thought about at great length over the past few days. And as someone who has always communicated difficult thoughts best through the written word, I felt that putting my thoughts and feelings down was a logical and reasonable thing to do.
After my initial reaction; anger, disgust, unbearable sadness and grief, I began to think, as I’m sure many of you have done, about the causes and effects of this tragedy and how something like this can be prevented in the future.
Some blamed Sandy Hook Elementary School for poor security. Others blamed the shooter’s parents. After it was revealed that the shooter had Asperger’s, some blamed that. Overwhelmingly, however, many people blamed firearms for the atrocities that occurred last week.
Blame was spewed in seemingly every direction. But, as I thought more and more about who was responsible for this horrible act, two people came to mind.
The shooter and myself.
Obviously and without question, the shooter is ultimately the culprit of this heinous crime. He did it. And, just to put a quick end to the anti-gun argument, a gun didn’t do it. Human beings can kill other human beings any number of ways, even with their bare hands. That doesn’t mean everyone should be walking around with no hands.
The real discussion, the most important discussion, I believe we can have coming out of this tragedy is the discussion that a very real battle does exist between good and evil. It’s one that has been raging since time began. In the end, the evil that existed within that shooter drove him to murder dozens of people without cause. But that same evil exists within all of us. Thankfully, good also exists within the hearts of man.
That’s where some of the blame for situations like this one rests on you and me. Too often the good in us loses to the evil in us. We are often too passive, allowing evil to creep in to our personal lives, and eventually, into our collective conscience.
What does this shooting say about our society? What message does it send to us and to the world? I think the answers would shock and humble us.
In the end, I think this shooting is a direct result of pure evil and the byproduct of a “me-first” culture. Ours is the kind of society that teaches children from birth that they can have what they want, and that what they want is what’s best, no matter what opposing voices may say.
It seems almost ridiculous to quote Mick Jagger in a post such as this, but he absolutely nails it.
“You can’t always get what you want…but if you try, sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”
At the risk of sounding archaic, might I suggest that the meteoric rise of the violence phenomenon is a problem that has gone hand-in-hand with modernity? Perhaps when people were more concerned about getting what they need rather than what they want, things like this happened less often. Violence has always existed, but how many stories like this one took place in the 1950s, the ’40s, during the Great Depression? The answer is incredibly few. And I believe that is a direct result of the way people lived their lives back then.
They were less selfish, more self-sufficient, less materialistic, more efficient, less concerned about being politically-correct, and more honest, in general. Today, we have become a society that molds children into mini-egomaniacs. From five years old on, they’re getting a trophy for just showing up to the field. They’re given every luxury, even those that isolate them from the relationships around them that are so important for personal development.
Every misbehavior is passed off as another new “condition” or “disease.” We look for every reason to pass blame elsewhere. Personal responsibility is at an all-time low. Both children AND adults have become spoiled rotten, accustomed to a way of life that puts them at the forefront of their every thought.
It’s time for us to grow up.
A roomful of selfish, egotistical children can be taxing enough. We don’t need a country full. If we’re all kids, who’s the boss? There is none. We’ve eliminated respect for authority, and authority, in general. We’ve pushed God to the side and made ourselves gods. And therein lies the ultimate problem.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, not one school day began without a prayer and reading scripture from the Bible. That was a time in which students feared God and not each other. Slowly, the Bible, prayer and all mention of God was eliminated from our schools, the places where our children grow into adults.
As a student of the Constitution, I must admit that the decisions that led to the dismissal of God from the classroom do align with the principles of the Constitution. However, I hold the principles of the Bible and my faith at a much higher regard.
Since then, there can be no doubt that the moral fiber of this country has been steadily decaying. Eventually, America will be empty of citizens who learned moral lessons from scripture in their school. Think about the events that occurred in Newtown, and then imagine a world worse than that. The day is coming when we won’t have to imagine.
So what can be done about it?
The answer is right at the top of the [outlawed] Ten Commandments: Have no other gods before Me. Too many of us have have “me” gods, with a little “m.” Too many of us are our own gods. We’re all guilty of it. It’s an epidemic.
God sums it up pretty nicely in Second Chronicles.
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Immediately after the events in Newtown, people turned to politics, and the blame game, and gun control, and psychological disorders, school security measures, a number of things. But what we need is to turn to God. God is good, the victor over evil. God is the source of the moral compass we are all born with, but quickly disregard.
This event was a true eye-opener for me. I posted some thoughts similar to these on social media shortly after the attack happened. Those thoughts were met with quite a bit of opposition. After about a day of reading that opposition without responding, I decided that I didn’t care who was against me.
Today, more than ever, it’s time for those who trust and believe in God to defend the One who has so fervently defended us and protected us. Because if we don’t, the consequences will be more school shootings, more corruption, more ugliness, more filth.
Feel free to disagree with anything I’ve said here. Nothing you can say will ever change my mind that this world needs much more of God than it is taking right now, because I don’t think we can take any more death or any more heartache.
God bless us all, and God bless those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT.