I don't think there are either adequate words to use or any truly comprehensive explanations to offer to address the tragedy at the elementary school in Connecticut. Twenty children died when a heavily armed man invaded Sandy Hooks elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and sprayed staff and students with bullets.
I have no words, ideas or thesis to support any claim of understanding, I have plenty of questions; questions that may never be answered. I have musings that make me sad. There are points to ponder that make me express overwhelming grief and confusion and concern. I have justifiable, righteous indignation at all the "powers that be." But mostly I have questions.
Why did he do it? What pathology prompted this? What ideations and hallucinations was he having? Did he do this because he was angry at his mother? Did his family know how sick he was? Is this what family dysfunction -- that is so common to many families; including my own, can lead to?
Does the issue of mental illness get enough attention and concern in the world? Is there enough ongoing research to address new phobias and traumas that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-IV) doesn't cover? Do families simply embrace the oddities of a loved one as familiar and "normal" rather than try to get them help? Are we too embarrassed to get the mental health care we need? Where is the line between insanity and evil? Is there a line between insanity and evil?
Is a murderer who is a 20-year old youth who has a cognitive disorder (Asperger's syndrome) in some way a victim as well as a perpetrator? Are his parents culpable for being divorced? How can we interpret this simply as a religious or spiritual issue? How dare we debate this solely in the context of opposing political ideology? Doesn't the issue of gun control require a consideration of what is right rather than merely our constitutional right to bear arms? Does justice really care which political party ushers her in?
Are people who are pro-life willing to protest and vote to protect the lives of children already born with the same passion and compassion as they have for the embryos on the billboard? Is a gunman 20 years-old simply a troubled youth who got overlooked and unattended to? Are we ignoring the warning signs of the children on the brink of debacle and depravity?
Are we being the village that is needed to raise the children? Aren't we complacent and complicit if we don't cry with these families and then cry out for "something meaningful to be done," as the president said.
I am asking these questions. I know I am asking them out loud. Some people dare not ask questions. And we may all be a bit hesitant to seek answers. The questions are hard. The answers are harder and even more complex. There are answers though. Yes. No. Not now. That may never happen. And even God forbid.
Maybe I will seek answers as a theologian and write sermons. I commit to training; to informing and inspiring all whose lives impact our children. I know as a parent and a grandparent I will love more deeply and intentionally. I'm asking the questions. I am seeking the answers. I am will strive to find the practical and pragmatic answers. I am advocating for and pursuing political answers. And I pray for the divine answers that will bring peace that passes our human understanding.
Follow Rev. Gwen Thomas on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msgwen127