I realize this is a far cry from what is usually on my mind, but if you are patient, I appreciate your willingness to bear with me.
I’ve been pretty much flabbergasted by the Sandy Hook tragedy, and I believe I’ve only said about 3 sentences total on the subject since Friday. My statements were mostly unintelligible ramblings, and I’ve finally been able to sum up my true feelings.
The thing about it is that I am really not surprised. Saddened, yes. Surprised, no.
I don’t have any inside knowledge about the young man who killed those children, so my lack of surprise isn’t because I “could see this coming” because of some personality flaw I knew about him. As far as I’m concerned he isn’t much different than the rest of us… he simply expressed his hate in a more visible way.
Think about it… What kind of rhyme or reason has there been for any of the mass shootings that have taken place? What common trait did any of the killers have? I’m sure some of you are listing things, in hind-sight, about the killers. Perhaps they were introverts, very withdrawn, very cynical, moody, or had “a certain look in their eyes”. Maybe they had tension with their parents. I don’t know about you, but I personally know lots of people who fit many or all of those descriptions, but that doesn’t mean I would start typecasting them as killers. In fact, if I had read that description in a dictionary, I would expect to see a picture of a teenager next to it! Anyway, these considerations are usually, as I said, in hind-sight. That means that their typical actions or behaviors weren’t so alarming that they threw up any red flags... otherwise, the tragedy would have been prevented, right?
I know my opinion is far from popular, and the last thing I want to do is come across as defending what this person did. I am not defending him at all. I am only hoping to challenge each and every one of us.
Why would I possibly want to challenge anyone, other than the killer, in a situation like this? Well, the killer is dead and what’s done is done, and yet I’ve been noticing everyone pointing their fingers and blaming everyone, the dog, and the kitchen sink for what happened. If the killer is dead, then why are we still trying to find someone to blame? Did he have any accomplices? I didn’t hear of any. Do we know his motive? Probably not to the full extent, and since he is dead, why would we even spend time trying to read his mind?
Back to my challenge. I challenge each of us to turn our pointed fingers back on ourselves. If you are asking yourself why you are to blame for any of this, then you are probably one of the people who will never understand anyway, so you can drop off right now and go back to verbally murdering your Facebook friends as you speak in code about all their transgressions. If, on the other hand, you are someone who feels a tiny pang of guilt at your own pointed finger aimed at yourself, please read on.
Consider this: When was the last time you were totally frustrated and fed up with someone because of how they "wronged" you, and you either thought something mean about that person, or you vented to someone about that person? Once it’s out, it’s out, and there’s no taking it back, right? Do you normally feel better once you let that out? I don’t feel better when I do that… but I continue doing it anyway. Why? Because it’s socially acceptable. That’s right: It is socially acceptable to murder someone with your mind or tongue, but not in deed. We all do it with mind or tongue, but the mass killers do it in deed.
Why do we murder, anyway? This is my belief: We murder because we spend most of our time assessing what others are doing wrong, rather than focusing on how we can do things right, to the point that we become so blinded by what we believe others to be doing wrong that we can’t even see our own negative role in an escalated situation. In our minds we are justified to point out what others are doing wrong, but how does that make sense? Isn’t it truly counter-productive to spend any time at all worrying about what others are doing wrong, when most of us actually agree that we can’t change people, and that people have to decide for themselves that they are going to change if they ever will? How many times have you personally said that? “I can’t change him.” That’s right, you can’t. But do know who you can change? You can change yourself.
We can’t prevent any of these tragedies any more than we can prevent the sun from setting. The sad truth of the matter is that it will happen, since clearly we haven’t found a successful way to prevent it from happening. The happy truth of the matter is that there is a lesson to be learned from all sad truths, and that is simply that it’s yet another reminder for us all to look into our own hearts and consider the condition of our own spirits. Are we going to mentally or verbally murder others, then spend time pointing fingers outward as if we are completely blameless? Or are we going to spend every waking minute focusing on how we can be better people to our fellow species, and then pulling our spouses and babies in close to our hearts so that they will always know that, no matter what, we love them.
I truly believe that love is the cure for all things. Not gun control. Not counseling. Not mass-murderer profiling efforts. If we would spend more time loving each other, then we might not have to worry as much about guns, counseling, or being on high-alert for future school shooters.
If I’ve oversimplified this situation, I’m not sorry. For all the feelings I have hurt, I am sorry. I’m sorry for being the hypocrite that I am, but I promise I am trying. Sadly, it took something like this for me to truly realize that it’s me who has been wrong all along.