No emotion can rip to the bone like confronting the act of killing an innocent. But we don’t seem to really “get it” until we can get our mind around “someone like us.”
The people of the western world are shaken because the little children someone wantonly mowed down with a weapon were the kind we see waiting for school buses and playing soccer and acting in little school plays in our own community. In today’s news, it was the little ones in a privileged community in Connecticut, some of the more well-to-do, and so we are hearing much more press about the slaughter of these little ones. What we don’t seem to have room for in our sense of reality is that little children like these are suffering all the time and in similarly violent ways every day in all corners of our world, every day in war-torn lands like Syria, and yes, in the cities and rural lands of our own country…the land of the free and home of the brave. We don’t hear about it, but it is going on all the time. Every day. Sometimes under our noses.
Some good folks are called to comfort a broken heart; they have the spirit and motivation and courage to spend every ounce of energy giving care to such tender and defenseless young human beings.Healers can be found in hospitals, and in shelters, where the press doesn’t come. It’s ordinary in these places for kindergarteners and ten year olds to own stories of violence and cruelty of the most vicious kind. But we are insulated from this heartache simply because it is so common and un-newsworthy, and we don’t “know’ these kids. They may be the kids of a different ethnicity, or of people who are not in our sort of world. They may be the children of immigrants, or children of the poor or children of addicted parents. Or they may be the hidden children of throngs of “regular” people we don’t know exist… groups we are not famiiar with. And they may be children in our own neighborhoods, behind doors with boughs of holly, and Christmas lights.
Now and again we are appalled to find that a child has been enduring violence every day for months and years on end. It appalls and sickens us. But we forget. We can’t believe it!
Personally, I have always had a strange reaction when my chidren are hurting: my sympathetic pain happens in my inner thighs..maybe because I bore my children by natural childbirth and my body remembers the very reality of that event. The power of parental love is desperately strong. A parent will fight for the life of their child. They will die for their child’s sake.
Remember the account of the Massacre of the Innocents …the devastating art rendition of people slaughtering babies in an effort to prevent the prophesy of Jesus to come true? I could never stand that story or those paintings. How, I wonder, can an artist spend time depicting such an event, without being somewhat depraved by the process?
Can we deal with this? What can be our best response, now that we are looking in the face of the suffering of parents and grandparents like us whose little ones have been shattered to pieces before their eyes?
Is there a way to care for people who have serious mental issues that are still at large and liable to “snap” and take some bloody fantasy as reality? Are we able to derail the culture of violence championed by our entertainment media…and why is it we are so drawn to violence, and attracted to guns and warfare? What makes a human a monster? What makes a human think that other humans are monsters? We are certainly at war with our own kind. We are killing ourselves.
The world is trying to end this way. We decry the “sweat shops” in other lands. Do we think of the actual people when they burn up, or starve? Are we aware that there are routine executions in North Korea of people who have been “ratted on” by their peers, simply because it will be someone else, not me, who will be executed?
Will the murder of Christ ever be recognized as the surrogate death of innocence? And will we ever stop killing God?
NOTE: 12-17-12, it is still the subject of nearly every conversation, and I am glad. If we are appalled, let us get mileage out of this awful event. Our laws need to be re-humanitized; we must look at responsibility with as much fervor as we look at liberty.
Related excerpts below:
December 16 2012 : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/syria-refugee-camps_n_2310152.html
December 17 2012: http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother