What is so upsetting about some 20 children being brutally and senselessly murdered in their classroom in Newtown, CT last week? Why is this shocking? After similar, albeit lesser, massacres that have stained the headlines with near equal shock, you would think we would have grown desensitized to such shocking displays of cruelty and brutality. But the fact is, we are human, and as cynical and hopeless as we may sometimes feel, we can’t help clinging to the idea that we are collectively better than our worst misdeeds.
Even a cursory read of the events that transpired on Friday December 14th, as well as the events leading up to the day, give you a sense that the movement toward such violence was borne out of a great deal of pain, which in turn, will lead to an amplification of such pain. While it is difficult to know the exact source or cause of the pain Adam Lanza may have been struggling with (and we will probably never really know) it is safe to say such a grotesque display of aggression was his feeble attempt to gather some power, from an otherwise powerless life. And as one form of cruelty begets another, so does one form of powerlessness. And here we are, the collective survivors left to feel horrendously saddened and powerless.
While the world can be an arbitrarily cruel place, and we really exhibit only a modicum of control over our lives, do we really need to feel powerless in the face of such violent acts? We could change the existing gun laws, or maybe revamp mental health benefits (maybe both). We could reach out to children and parents alike, who may be quietly struggling, and trying to quell a near explosive situation, and provide some much needed compassion and assistance. Or we could go on the defensive and do whatever we can to provide some sense of security in a wildly insecure world.
How will you address the situation at hand? Is there something you are currently involved with that you feel really address the threat and the tragedy we are all desperately trying to manage? How will you feel powerful again?
How to Talk to Your Kids about the Sandy Hook School Shooting
Actually, Mentally Ill People are More Likely to Be Victims of Violence
A Timeline of Mass Shootings in the US Since Columbine