15 12 2012

I think I was busy enough yesterday that the news from Connecticut kind of flowed past me. Today, though, I mourn. I haven’t been hit this hard by a news story since 9/11. I don’t even have the wherewithal to come up with a title that ties in to a lovely piece of music.  I simply grieve for those who were lost, and for the families who will never, ever have another untainted Christmas.

You might think that there would be a period when we all mourned without judgement or comment.  Unfortunately, the comments I was expecting came out like clockwork – how, if everyone were carrying weapons, this wouldn’t have happened. One genius on Facebook suggested that teachers and principals should be “packing heat”. And the heartless, soulless, and predictable response from the religious right, about how God didn’t help these children because God has been removed from the schools… that particular one came from the American Family Association, and then Mike Huckabee came along and repeated it. I can’t believe that anyone can hear that kind of cruelty and agree with it.

They’re hell-bent to insert God into everything, but it makes me wonder just what kind of God they believe in. Is their God omnipotent? Then couldn’t He (for their God is always male) have taken care of things no matter what? Is their God loving? Kind? Just? Or just petty and vindictive, like a sullen child taking His ball and going home, muttering “I’ll show them!”? These jackasses can always find some God-driven justification for whatever has happened.  Remember when there were eleven Amish children killed by a shooter in 2006?   Even they weren’t Godly enough to avoid God’s judgement.

I believe in a just and loving God. I also believe that I don’t fully understand what that might mean on the level of an intellect and power that could create universes. And I am not going to sit here and play God-in-a-box, as if I can fully understand the will and intention of the Creator in either the good or bad things that happen every single day.

Furthermore, all this talk of what God did or did not intend takes time away from the real discussion that needs to happen about gun violence in this country. How many of these have to happen before people stop calling them “isolated instances”? How many before we can stop talking about how “nobody could have predicted this?” Because maybe we can’t predict individual occurrences, but we can be absolutely certain that these will continue to happen. As my favorite blogger has put it so many times, this shit doesn’t happen in a void. There’s an entire culture that leads to these explosions of violence and death. And until we sit down and honestly look at what in our culture is driving these events – our ridiculous attitude about guns, our lack of care or concern about mental illness – nothing is going to change.

The temptation is to give up.  Because this isn’t a problem that can be resolved in days, or weeks, or with a high-level commission holding high-level hearings.  This will require a determination to firmly rethink our priorities and consider who we are as a nation. Pray for those who were lost in the shootings, if that gives you comfort.  Pray for their families.  But don’t allow yourself to think that prayer is enough.




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