I will have more to post in response to the Sandy Hook shooting from my own perspective, but today I’d like to offer a few resources from other writers:
Rebecca Cusey’s Why the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary Make me Believe in God offers both a personal story and a reflection on the nature of good and evil that might speak to some of the comments that have come up in response to my own post from Friday afternoon (Where is God When Children Are Murdered Down the Road?):
In order for evil to exist, something good must be violated. Evil does not exist on its own. It is only a destruction of good.
Rachel Marie Stone’s Pray and Put up a (Nonviolent) Fight includes these paragraphs:
And then I remember: we are the hands and feet of God. Not that there is anything that most of us can do for these specific, shattered families (unless you happen to know them.) Their lives have fallen like a china dish to a concrete floor, and while they will spend years carefully gathering and super-gluing the fragments with the help of God, friends, counselors, antidepressants, rest, and time, their lives will forever be a broken dish that’s been repaired. Not every shard will be found, and they’ll always be cracked. Handled gently, they will hold together, but they will never be whole.
But there is more to the story than just Aurora, or Sandy Hook. There are thirty thousand gun-related deaths in the United States each year–something like twenty times more than the next twenty wealthy countries in the world. Children in the US are 13 times more likely to be killed by guns than children in other industrialized countries. As Nick Kristof wrote, “more Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”
She goes on to enumerate preventative action that we can take in order to be the hands and feet of God, the hands and feet of peace and hope and love in this broken world.
Similarly, Ellen Painter Dollar’s reflections, “There But for the Grace of God”? Grace, Darkness, and the Sandy Hook Shooting offer a wise reflection upon this situation through the theological lens of grace. In thinking about the women who lost their lives attempting to save and shield children from bullets, Ellen writes:
Those extraordinary acts of courage and care were also grace. Most Sandy Hook students and staff made it back home Friday evening because of grace. And my children and millions of other schoolchildren made it home safely on Friday for the same reason they made it home safely every other school day of their lives—because grace (trust, mercy, steadfastness, love), born of God, marks our human interactions and daily routines more often than it does not.
I commend all of these posts to those of you who, like me, are struggling to think and pray and feel in the midst of this tragedy.