Searching for answers at Sandy Hook Elementary
Monday, December 17, 2012 9:00 PM
The dead are buried in Newtown, Conn. In a few days, a week maybe, the media will leave town and Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary will become the latest in a line of names - Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech - that scar our nation's psyche and tear at our hearts.
The echo of the shots had barely faded away before both sides of the gun control issue began their campaigns.
The massacre, let's call it that because that's what it was, impacted the people of this great nation perhaps more than any that had come before. The idea that children ages 6 and 7 were gunned down is so far-fetched that we still struggle to accept the fact that it happened.
It happened. Evil is present in our world, perhaps more present than ever before. In the coming days and weeks, the arguments will die down. If as a nation we did not sustain the passion we felt the day after 9/11, why would we keep the fire burning over 28 deaths?
It is part of the problem. Perhaps, though, it is part of the solution.
For you see, as the debate over Sandy Hook rages and then grows fainter, the answer will likely end up that there is no answer. Take away the guns, critics will cry. Arm the teachers, will be the retort. We will be told that the issue is complex, that the answers are hard.
Perhaps they are. Or perhaps, the answers are no farther away than right here in Crawfordsville, Ind. Perhaps the answers lie within each of us as a society, as a nation, most importantly, as individuals. Little by little we seem to abdicate control of our lives to our government. We want answers, we want security, we want benefits, we want to be taken care of. Whether we want it or not, in effect, we are giving up not just some of our rights, but our responsibilities. Yet we seem to yearn for the false security we think we are entitled to.
Will stepping up and beginning the process of reclaiming those responsibilities prevent the next Sandy Hook, the next Columbine? There are no guarantees. But when we assume responsibility for ourselves, the inherent goodness that exists, that shines brightly in so many of us after these tragedies, will not just envelop us individually, it will extend to our neighbors and our communities beyond.
We have gotten away from those sorts of values. Getting back to them may be the only thing that will save us.