So I’ve had a little time to think about this whole tragedy at Sandy Hook, and I’m not the only one. My Facebook has been flooded with updates asking for thoughts and prayers all weekend. We are all in shock.
The updates haven’t just been for prayers. I’ve seen updates asking for a bans on guns, better mental health practices, prayer in schools, guns in schools and the obligatory “please don’t use a tragedy to advance your political beliefs!” Just when you thought the political arguments had died with the election, they rear their ugly head again.
Every single person that heard about this tragedy and was sickened and/or saddened and we all asked ourselves, “How could this have happened?” followed by “How could this have been prevented?” As of today, some schools will now lock all students in their classrooms to prevent this from happening again, a measure that seems to be more about comforting the parents than protecting the children, but we want to fix this problem in any way we can.
That is what all the “political” remarks are about, people wanting to make this better, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Those who find comfort and peace from their religion believe religion brings that to everyone, so they demand that prayer in schools. Those who see guns as a means of destruction and not protection, demand stricter gun laws, if not an all out ban. No one is thinking, “this is going to piss people off!” they are thinking, “this will make sure that tragedies like Sandy Hook never happen again!”
Of course, we don’t all think alike. What is a great idea to you, is not going to work for everyone. In a better time, we would bring all of our ideas together, discuss the pros and cons and find some middle ground. The problem with middle ground is that no one likes it. A compromise means both sides have to give something up, so everyone is a little upset. In today’s world the creed is “my way or the highway!” with clear cut winners and losers. While the winners gloat, the losers regroup and think of how to win the next battle. They up their game, use a few dirty tricks and soon its their turn to rub it in. The cycle continues, escalating further and further each time. What used to be an extreme measure a few generations ago is now commonplace. The points we are arguing about become forgotten, it’s now all about the argument.
The problem isn’t lack of faith in our schools or lax gun laws, the problem is that we stopped listening to each other. When we couldn’t get our way by talking, we shouted. When we couldn’t get our way by shouting, we hit. When we couldn’t get our way by hitting, we stabbed. When we couldn’t get our way by stabbing, we shot. We became lost in how to get our way and we forgot to listen to those who think differently than us. We forgot to love our neighbor.
So many people are asking you to donate to Sandy Hook Elementary, to wear their school colors (green and white), to keep your lights on, sign petitions, say prayers, write congressmen or hug a teacher. Do it. If it brings you and your loved ones comfort, do it. Remember those who died in any way that brings them honor. I ask you to do one thing for them and for all of those who die suddenly and violently. Listen. When someone has an opinion different than yours, just listen. Do your best to understand that they came to their point of view by their own path and to them it is good. Try to see their perspective and be open to it.
We all just want to be heard.