For Newtown

For Newtown December 17, 2012

No answers. Only the full meaning of the Christmas “Emmanuel”: God with Us.

Eternal memory with the Risen Christ to all those lost. Grace, consolation and healing to those who mourn.

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  • Another thing I find troubling is the fact that many who mourn the loss of these children today would have gladly supported their killing about six years ago…when they were in their mother’s womb.

    • Glenn

      Our pastor said much the same in his Sunday homily, and asked that we pray fervently for the conversion of hearts and minds to that truth. But he also spent a good portion of it discussing Mark’s point: that, yes, evil did come to Newtown, but only long after God came to Newtown (and the entire world) as Emmanuel, God With Us.

  • Please pray for teachers across our nation today… it’s been extremely difficult to process this with our students, especially the younger ones.

    • kmk

      God bless you all…

  • LittleAnn

    Mark, you’re the only person out there that I think is going to understand. I am so tired of seeing people politicize this tragedy. But I’m not talking about the media and the gun control issue. I’m talking about all my pro-life friends who keep comparing this tragedy to abortion. Am I missing something? It seems so insensitive to bring the issue of abortion up in regards to this tragedy – they all keep saying things like “why can’t we mourn the thousands of kids killed everyday?” as if somehow the kids killed in Newtown were less of a tragedy. 🙁 Any words of wisdom?

    • Well, it’s not going to make anyone change their mind, and in fact will just make us seem deranged in the eyes of most people, so we need to be prudent. It’s not something that will fit or make sense in a soundbyte.

      However, for thinking people, it is very true that there is absolutely a relationship. As Mother Teresa said, ” “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

      What our culture has is a crisis of love, of which abortion is the clearest indicator. If some mothers are willing to kill their unborn children under certain circumstances, can we really expect that they will be exemplary mothers to the children they DO allow to be born? That crisis of love, applied to vulnerable youth, produces some monsters like Adam Lanza.

    • Mark Shea

      I agree completely. I plan on discussing it in a couple of days, once the national mourning period is over. Suffice it to say that a lot of prolifers have done their bit to inspire maximum loathing for the prolife movement. I find myself shaking my head and muttering, “What is *wrong* with people?”

    • My take: It is a natural human response to attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible by fitting it into the patterns we can comprehend. (In mathematics, it’s called reducing the problem to one that’s already been solved.)

      Thus we get the reflexive responses, pro and con, along “gun control” lines. People can argue with others about gun control. And in some circles we get the reflexive responses about abortion. People can argue with others about abortion. It’s something to *do*, it’s an activity the people understand and can engage in, and it’s sort of related to, it’s kind of a way of addressing, the enormity of this event.

      In short, I see it as, at least in part, a way of grieving.

    • LittleAnn,
      It is comparable. The intentional killing of innocent human life is the intentional killing of innocent human life, no matter how one spins the logic.

    • BK

      I completely, completely agree with this sentiment. I also figured Mark is one of the few out there who would understand! What I want to say to the people saying this is a spot-on comparison to abortion is: Read the blow-by-blow account of the terror these children suffered in the last moments of their lives. I am not saying that children who are aborted do not suffer, too — surely the ones who are aborted in later stages of pregnancy especially do! But I just don’t see how it is the same as what these children suffered in their school. They were not peppered with bullets as they huddled together and then tried to flee!!!

      There is also the dimension of the families grieving desperately over their children who died in such a horrific way. This is different than what happens with abortion, where the parents (at least the mother) is the one choosing to end that child’s life. I am not at all saying that is right, just that the tremendous suffering of the parents in Newtown — which is happening to them through no choice of their own — has to be factored in here in making this situation different from abortion.

      I agree that our society has an increasingly callous attitude towards human life — as witnessed by the legality and acceptability of abortion, as witnessed by the violent video games the Newtown shooter supposedly played. But I also think a psychopath is a psychopath, and psychopaths have probably existed in all times and ages.

      I would like to see a discussion among Catholics about what can be done about people who are so critically mentally ill, whose families don’t know what to do with them. Society used to warehouse the mentally ill in asylums, but this practice tended to violate human dignity and was stopped. And if we fear too much intrusion in government in our lives, via high taxation and spending on social services . . . where do families turn? I just don’t know.

  • John

    I thought for sure that my anger over Friday would have subsided by now. But, the outrage still brews. While I chose not to watch much coverage on television, I was left with the feeling of helplessness sending my children to school today. This act of terrorism, and it was terrorism, put fear into the hearts of millions, including myself.

    “I. Me. Mine.” has devoured this country over the last 40 years. Friday’s mass murder turned the huge spotlight onto this for me. The gun, to many Americans, has become their Moloch. I’ve read this piece numerous times the past two days, and it rings true to me.

    “First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
    Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
    Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
    Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
    To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)”

    But, the gun isn’t our only Moloch. Most of us have our own, something that we put above others and God. Whether that Moloch is guns, money or power. It is a shame. It is the real tragedy. In our quest for more freedoms, more ME and less WE, that the most innocent of us have to pay a price. That price on Friday was life itself.

    I’m still angry. Still outraged. Part of me hopes that it will subside, while part of me hopes that it continues to burn.

  • Rosemarie


    Pope Benedict responds to Newtown tragedy from St. Peter’s Square

  • kenneth

    There are only “no answers” because we studiously avoid looking for answers, because the search would lead us to answers that are politically and economically inconvenient for us. These are not unforseeable once-in-a-generation lightning strike tragedies. They are a form of human sacrifice that is tacitly approved and enabled by us because we have made a conscious choice that the status quo is worth the price in any number of lives that might be required to sustain it. It is the same spineless idiocy that used to enable communities to bury a dozen members of each high school class from drunk driving accidents in the 1970s and thousands of coal miners each year a century ago. “We just can’t know why these things happen” was the refrain then too from apologists of the legal and cultural status quo.

    Those who say we should just cast our eyes up to Heaven and offer it up to Jesus and focus on the wonderful tales of selfless sacrifice and avoid “politicizing the tragedy” are moral cowards. Without even having the courage to put their names behind it, they are giving a nodding approval to the execution warrants of the next victims of the next Newtown, and of the tens of thousands who will die in less spectacular shootings every day. They have no business bleating about “the sanctity of life” because they embracing nihilism. Any race of beings who perpetually tell themselves “now is not the right time” to even discuss an existential threat to its children is one that is too brutal and stupid to deserve the sacrifice of a Christ figure. No god that would offer comfort without admonishment to his people for this pattern of negligence is worthy of worship.

    • S. Murphy

      There’s a difference between saying “there are no answers,” and saying “I’m not going to jam my answers and my swaggering ego, down the throats of the bereaved right NOW, even as the investigation continues, and the funerals begin.”
      Of course the occasion calls for a discussion of gun laws, mental health services, physical security in schools and other not quite public places. There’s a balance between opportunism and nihilism. You might call it tact. I think the president is practicing it, with his statements that we have to do something, without explicitly saying what *right there at the memorial service.* Mark is also practicing it – although I suspect you didn’t think otherwise, but wanted to make your own related point.

    • Mark Shea

      We don’t really disagree. I will have a post up in reply in a couple of days.

    • I look forward to discussing the details on policy on some other day, but not today. Today I will pray as Mark Shea with one addition. I will also pray for wisdom.

  • At this point, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families and loved ones and the whole community. Tough as it is in our present age, I’m fighting the desire to make a statement. Just holding my kids close, being a bit extra anxious this morning sending them to school, and praying constantly for those who lost their loved ones.

  • mike in kc, mo

    The truth of the matter is that this was politicized while the bodies of the victims were still warm, by numerous groups looking for an exploitable tragedy. This includes gun banners, gun promoters, etc. All over the country.

    Somehow, grabbing and holding up the bleeding corpse of a murder victim and using it as a flag to rally whatever political action group you happen to be a part of is now acceptable in most all of America.

    I’ve had people ask me if I think this is bad/good for xyz. I never say anything. What could I possibly say?

    • kenneth

      What could you possibly say? You, and I, and the rest of us could try saying that what we’re doing now is not working and that the results are beyond unacceptable. We could say that it’s past time to look at every aspect of this public health issue with a truly clean slate and without ideological pre-conditions about what we won’t even consider regarding guns, mental health or anything else. We could say that if we pursue this work in earnest and follow the evidence where it may lead, that the best solutions will probably push ALL of us outside of our comfort zones. The solutions will almost certainly have to be much more comprehensive and imaginative than a paper tiger “assault weapons ban” or arming everyone everywhere at all times.

      We could say that there is no need and no benefit to postpone discussions about this until some arbitrary future window to give people “time to grieve.” The warm body and tact argument has been a calculated stall tactic which says anyone calling for action in the wake of the tragedy is “politicizing” it. It’s a permanent stall because the bodies of victims are always warm somewhere. This format of school shooting alone has been happening at regular intervals for a quarter century now. They’ve become so frequent that even the most horrific holds our attention for what? Two weeks? Where I live in Chicago, children are shot dead almost every day of the year. When will we get some magical emotionally neutral space to begin deliberations? How long before “only” 20 kids shot at once fails to shock us at all anymore and becomes a background news item? “Tact” needs to be the very last of our considerations at this point. It’s too soon to pass this or that law, but way past too late to begin a serious re-think of what we’re about in this society.

      • mike in kc, mo

        Actually, going slowly on weighty matters is a VERY good thing.
        Setting a national policy, which is what people are clamoring for, while emotions are high is a VERY dangerous thing to do. People tend to regret it later.

        The added problem is that in situations like this, almost universally the action demanded is a mere technological quick fix attempt in order to make us feel that we’ve ‘done something’. There are many, MUCH deeper social evils that must be addressed if one REALLY wants to try to prevent things like this in the future. Pushing for a quick fixes tends to sate people and get them to forget that wallpapering over rot doesn’t remove the rot.

        ” “Tact” needs to be the very last of our considerations at this point.”
        – You are very wrong. Jumping in and blatantly trying to politicize death is abhorrent. It’s what the Westboro Baptist clan does (and very sadly, ARE planning on doing.)

        • Rosemarie


          >>>Actually, going slowly on weighty matters is a VERY good thing.
          Setting a national policy, which is what people are clamoring for, while emotions are high is a VERY dangerous thing to do. People tend to regret it later.

          Yeah, last time we did that we let the president talk us into a long-term “War on Terror” in which all terrorist organizations worldwide would be our enemies. Sounded like a good idea in the midst of the agonizing grief and fear, but in retrospect it was beyond unrealistic.

          • kmk

            Good point, Rosemarie–and it CAN wait until the funerals are over.

    • EBS

      Just pray another one doesn’t happen in the meantime…

  • Michael

    Will you also be addressing the teacher that saved her kids by allegedly misleading the gunman? Maybe Dr. Kreeft’s thoughts on this subject are worth another look.

  • Michaelus

    Somehow having a person on the news talking about how we need to ban assault weapons while video of militarized police with assault weapons run around in a school parking lot seems strange to me.

    It is also strange that Obama chose to quote Matthew 19:14 when he is all in favor of preventing people from bringing more children into the world. I am sure his writers chose that line because they did a word search for “children” in the Gospels – maybe a few of them will think about what Christ said there….

  • Dear Mark, not being an American, may I share a few thoughts on this?
    1. Thank you, as ever and always, for this post. It is with the utmost confidence I can say I’m sure I’m not fostering the sin of pride in you if I observe that you have what is clearly a God-given talent for accessibly communicating spiritual truth with great intelligence. May God bless you in all your work, and may He bless all those who are precious to you.
    2. I don’t know what your first commentor’s talking about. It is so radically at odds with the spirit of your post that I can’t work out why they felt the need to say it. It’s jarring, and seems completely out of place, a classic tarantula on a slice of angel cake.
    3.Unless I’ve picked him up incorrectly, Obama’s right – how many children have to die in its schools in order for a society to consider itself free? Really? How can you be free when you’re scared to send your children to school? I used to be a lawyer where I live, and can only observe, with a connoisseur’s wonder, that a law that was designed to enable tenant farmers to legitimately use weapons as farm tools in 18th Century New England has been stretched to enable assault rifles to be held legally in 21st Century Los Angeles. That this has come to pass is the consequence of consistently oustanding lawyership in action. Thank God I’m not a lawyer any more.
    4. We condemn relativism when those who oppose what we believe indulge in it, but those of us who attempt to conjoin the industrial, mundane killing of abortion with school shootings are doing precisely the same thing and committing precisely the same error. Some years ago you used the tag line ‘The Ever Falling Religious IQ Of The Media’, you may still do. Due to a situation where I live I once adapted that to ‘The Ever Falling Media IQ Of The Religious’ (sorry), but with the greatest respect to those who are trying to throw a School Shooting = Abortion meme into the ether they are giving the impression of intruding, really very callously, onto the grief of bereaved parents. Killing a child is killing a child is killing a child, prenatally, postnatally, whatever; but does it really have to be said that the children who died in this incident were precisely those who were not aborted? Am I so deaf to the current mood music of American culture that I actually feel it necessary to point this out?
    5. BK at 10.28 makes a very good point, which I might take a bit further. Those on the right who are asking why mental health provision seems to have gone down – possibly as a means of trying to muddy any debate about gun control – are precisely the people who would be the first to complain about paying more tax in order to provide mental health services.

    Take care and God bless.

    • Mark Shea


      We agree. Thanks for providing some sane commentary.

    • I agree with most of your points, but I think that describing the reason for the 2nd amendment as “a law that was designed to enable tenant farmers to legitimately use weapons as farm tools in 18th Century New England” is a bit simplistic, to say the very least.

      Check out the following 2nd amendment related quotes by the Founding Fathers at the following link and I think you’ll come away with a very different impression:

      • Rosemarie


        One of the things that sparked the American Revolution was when British troops began seizing the colonists’ arms in Massachusetts. The Redcoats were headed to Lexington to do just that in 1775 when the Minutemen confronted them with their own muskets and drove them back to Boston. In retaliation, the British General Thomas Gage ordered the confiscation of all firearms from the citizens of Boston and held the town virtually hostage.

        This is why the Founding Fathers penned the Second Amendment. That they had martial, not agrarian, matters in mind is evident from the wording: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    • Rosemarie


      >>>BK at 10.28 makes a very good point, which I might take a bit further. Those on the right who are asking why mental health provision seems to have gone down – possibly as a means of trying to muddy any debate about gun control – are precisely the people who would be the first to complain about paying more tax in order to provide mental health services.

      If we didn’t waste so much tax money bailing out rich banks and corporations and on a multitude of other types of prodigal spending, the US would have plenty to contribute to mental health services.

    • Mike in KC, MO

      To Martin who says: ” and can only observe, with a connoisseur’s wonder, that a law that was designed to enable tenant farmers to legitimately use weapons as farm tools in 18th Century New England has been stretched to enable assault rifles to be held legally in 21st Century Los Angeles.”
      – First, no you miss the point of the Bill of Rights. Second, either you have no idea what you are talking about or, if you REALLY believe there are ‘assault rifles held in Los Angeles’, then you are simply showing that such bans are a complete failure, as California (and Connecticut, BTW) already have rather strict ‘assault weapon’ bans. Which is it?

      Secondly, I actually would very much welcome an honest, balanced, reasoned debate on firearms, based upon facts and reality. But, when you listen to what is being said in news media, this is exactly what lawmakers are attempting to avoid. Their idea of a debate on firearms consists, much like the ‘debate’ on government funded contraception and man-caused global warming, of “You will shut your mouth and we will tell you exactly what we will do and then you will nod your head and say ‘thank you.'” What’s that you say? Let’s actually try to figure out if Saddam really IS a threat to our country? How anti-American! We must act now! Democracy is at stake! Yes, yes, I’ve heard that style of reasoning before.

      A genuine debate on the subject would cover facts and statistics, pro and con affects to society, law and civil liberties, comparison of proposed laws with any previous version that may have been enacted elsewhere, possibility of success and ‘what ifs’ in case it was a failure. As I have said, I would very much welcome such a debate, as I would on many other topics, such as anti-global warming laws, etc.

      Such a debate will never happen. If that was what lawmakers REALLY wanted, then they could have brought up such an idea at any point before this horrible event.

      To carry the point a bit further, what is the point of a proposed ban? Is it to save lives? If so, then why go after so-called ‘assault weapons’ at all. It’s an utter waste of time and effort. (even police know that ) If you REALLY wanted to stop weapons that were used in most crimes and most murders, they would be pushing for bans on the simple .38 revolver and the various cheap compact .32s and .25 pistols as, according to the FBI uniform crime statistics, these are the most used and recovered type of weapons from murder scenes. But then, these simple guns aren’t angular and scary looking, so make for rather poor press.

      So yes, let us actually have this debate. And yes, I know Mark really is honest when he wants to have that kind of a discussion. However, I very much doubt our ruling class is quite so honest.

      • Mark Shea

        What I want to know is “Who are these mythical people who want to “ban” guns and just which guns and how many do they want to “ban”?”

        • Mike in KC, MO

          A few of these ‘mythical’ people you’ve heard a lot about. Quite a few of them also moonlight in the ‘mythical’ war on the Church in the US as well. I guess they like to diversify their myths.

      • LittleAnn

        I too welcome the debate with facts and statistics…it’s weird that when I mention that most people flip out. I’m not ideaologically attached whatsoever to gun control or to the Second Amendment. I just want these massacres to stop. Perhaps it is true though that more resources on mental health issues might make a bigger difference. I do not know – as far as I’m concerned, everything needs to be on the table.

        • Mike in KC, MO

          Agreed. Nothing will be a quick fix, though, as I believe the rot runs very deep. That is I think the hardest thing for we as Americans to swallow. We want a quick, technological fix to snap into position and say Ta Da! It’s all better now. That’s not going to happen.

    • ED

      Martin, may I ask what country you are from?

      It would certainly be helpful to know what type of culture you are from before I seriously contemplate whether or not to criticize your post.


      And BTW… you might want to go a bit easy on ‘Ben @ Two Men’. For all you know he is just terribly angry and sick to his stomach because he is living next to a neighbor who is very upset and crying about this school shooting, but has never shed a tear or even considered her own (or her daughter’s) abortion a bad thing. She just believes it’s her American right to choose… absolutely No Big Deal.

      Believe it or not Martin… this sad situation can (and does) really happen in today’s sick and *confused* America. Perhaps people like Ben have just had enough of this hypocrisy.

      I certainly hope you come from a less sick and confused country. Please let us know the name of your country.

  • Dan C


    Mental health care as described is welfare and entitlement. Precisely the type derided routinely by the right. Such care responds poorly, due often to its dependent clientele, to the over-discussed and over venerated market solutions described for health care. This is to be largely publically funded care. This is the opposite of the entire Ryan-limited-government philosophy.

    Mental health care is a welfare entitlement.

    I have never never heard a conservative interested in this. This is one of the routine areas of spending determined to be “prodigal.”

    • Rosemarie


      Well maybe they should rethink that. Providing proper, humane care for the mentally ill is clearly important to the safety of all citizens, as these shootings show. Surely it must fall under “ensure domestic tranquility” and/or “promote the general welfare.” It would be preferable if private institutions could provide such care, but if not then the gov’t can get involved.

    • kenneth

      As a public health and public safety matter, mental health is a zero priority in our society right now and has been for nearly half a century. Public budgets for mental health services are nominal, and are always the first things to be cut when budgets are lean (the mentally ill and developmentally disabled). They have no lobbying power or bloc voting power to speak of.

      An even more fundamental problem is that we have essentially no infrastructure for treatment and housing of the seriously mentally ill in our society. We have overwhelmed ER wards that can hold the worst off for a couple days for a quick and dirty evaluation some private pay facilities for the very wealthy and a smattering of places that can house the criminally insane AFTER they kill. For 99% of the people 99% of the time, our mental health “infrastructure” is the prison system, the streets, and families who are always overwhelmed themselves and sometimes irresponsible or too sick themselves to handle the problem.

      We know what works with mental health. Intensive outpatient outreach and case management with small caseloads coupled with residential facilities to house those unwell enough for independent living. But that takes money and a long-term commitment to fund, not just when we have a surplus laying around.

      We also need to come to some better consensus about where we draw the line between personal freedom to seek or refuse treatment and society’s well being. If we cannot compel people into treatment, there should at least be a system for effectively blacklisting such folks from buying weapons, and for removing unsecured weapons from places they reside. We need to rethink some of the medical privacy laws which prevent even caregivers from communicating.

      • Mike in KC, MO

        “mental health is a zero priority in our society right now and has been for nearly half a century.”
        – Unless, of course, you count pumping them full of drugs to scramble their minds more which seems to be the basis of much of our medical treatment these days. It is truly sad and must change. We Americans just LOVE our drugs (legal and illegal)

        “there should at least be a system for effectively blacklisting such folks from buying weapons, and for removing unsecured weapons from places they reside.”
        – I actually agree. There is already process by which those who are truly listed as mentally disturbed are prevented from purchasing firearms. That’s already in the law, although I think it needs to be tweaked a bit. As far as new laws go, I think one that could possibly be a very good addition would be that if you are a primary care provider for a mentally unbalanced individual, and said individual lives with you, then no firearms are allowed to be in the home. Thoughts?

        • LittleAnn

          Mike, I had hoped it was a no brainer that there shouldn’t be weapons in the home of someone mentally ill, but after Newtown I’ve sadly been proven wrong. 🙁 So it appears that a law like the one you mention might be necessary.

          • Rosemarie


            Yeah, that definitely should be a no-brainer. Big mistake on his mother’s part.

            Here’s more on our broken mental health system:

            Why can’t America care for the mentally ill? by Dr. Keith Ablow

            Maybe Bill Gates et. al. should stop trying to push contraceptives on third world people and commit their money instead to building and funding good mental facilities around the country. That would really do a lot of good, spare a lot of innocent lives.

            • Marthe Lépine

              It seems to me that part of the problem is that health care in the US has become just one more industry, where profit is the only criteria. From what is described in the linked foxnews article, proper mental health services are very costly, and their efficiency cannot be measured in dollars. Therefore they are considered an unproductive expense that only benefits persons who are unlikely to become “productive members of society”. Maybe I am wrong, but it is definitely the impression I got after reading the foxnews articles and a number of other sources over the last few years.

    • ‘I have never never heard a conservative interested in this. This is one of the routine areas of spending determined to be “prodigal.”’

      My own informal impression is that, over the years, conservatives were well-represented among the [relatively few] people I’ve heard talk about the need for mental health care reform in the U.S. Granted, if asked they would oppose a “throw money at it” approach to behavioral health issues, just as they’d oppose that approach to any other issue. To my recollection, though, they freely acknowledged government’s role in caring for the mentally ill.

  • andrew

    I consider myself a pretty tough guy and perhaps it because I have kids with my youngest in kindergarten, but Newtown has totally broken my heart. Similar to 9/11. Something so over the top heinous which words cant describe. The shrill politicking which has resulted is just the icing on the cake. Sorry to be crass but we’re just so effed its beyond fathoming anymore.

    • ED

      [I consider myself a pretty tough guy and perhaps it because I have kids with my youngest in kindergarten, but Newtown has totally broken my heart. Similar to 9/11.]

      If it didn’t break your heart my friend… you would have a very *serious* problem. Be thankful that you feel some real pain at this time (some actually don’t). A child of God should always suffer some grief when a brother or sister (especially an innocent child) is brutally slaughtered.

      Imagine what Our Lady felt when her Son was slaughtered. Ask her to help you overcome your pain and grief. She truly understands…

  • I’m Scottish, ED, and I can assure you that in our own way we are just as sick and confused as everywhere else, indeed it’s recently been my perverse privilege to have to engage with some of our uniquely aboriginal sicknesses, and it was certainly neither pretty nor pleasant: but after the Dunblane school massacre of 1996 we banned handguns outright. Your observations on my lack of charity to the first commentor are, of course, correct.
    My apologies for any apparent lack of understanding concerning the origins of the Second Amendment, although I would merely note, without a hint of sarcasm, that its framers presumably did not live in an age when legally owned firearms were used on schoolchildren in the manner that happened at Newtown.
    Kenneth and Mike have made very good points, and for what it’s worth the level of spending on mental health services in my country are also perpetual Cinderellas. Twenty years ago, an intitiative called ‘Care in the Community’ was launched, intended to close down the chronic hospitals for no reason other than cost. The result was that dangerously mentally ill people started doing in public what they had previously fantasised about doing when in care, such as throwing people under subway trains and entering nursery schools armed to the teeth with knives. The only bonus of that situation was that they didn’t have guns.
    It’s apparently possible to get illegal firearms quite easily in the UK if, of course, you have the cash and know the right people, sadly the same as just about everywhere else, I imagine; but the difference between our system and your system is that in the UK the average disturbed person is far less likely to have routine, everyday contact with guns than in the USA. The suggestions regarding the ‘right to bears arms’ being removed from those caring for the mentally ill seems eminently sensible; however whether it would survive its inevitable encounter with the gun lobby’s lawyers is another matter altogether.
    As for lawmakers, these are the people who made legal the use of unmanned drones to kill terrorists who, in terms of raw bodycount, may have killed fewer people than the Newtown killer. A rational response to the crisis of mass killings in America’s public spaces will very probably not be forthcoming from them until enough Americans get enough sick and tired of it and demand that something be done. Any action taken as a result of You, The People saying you’ve had enough of it might just invest those who have been killed in these horrible events with a dignity in death that their killers denied them by killing them in the manner in which they did.

    • “My apologies for any apparent lack of understanding concerning the origins of the Second Amendment, although I would merely note, without a hint of sarcasm, that its framers presumably did not live in an age when legally owned firearms were used on schoolchildren in the manner that happened at Newtown.”

      Actually, in 1764, four Lenape Indians broke into a country school house in Pennsylvania and shot and scalped 11 children and the schoolmaster.

      • kenneth

        As horrible as that was, the Indians had a kill ratio of 3 fatalities per aggressor. The majority of that carnage would have been done by blade or club as guns of the day were purely one-shot deals in close quarters. Lanza, a video game geek who probably couldn’t have taken a 9-year old Lanape in hand to hand combat, was able to kill almost 30, in a setting that offered flight and hiding opportunities not available to the 18th century victims. Advantages which would have put many victims beyond tomahawk or musket range but which were useless against rapid fire rifled supersonic bullets. It need not be said that modern guns did not create evil or homicide (or even genocide). But they do give mopes a killing power that ancient people only imagined the gods and demons possessed. If we were still using flintlocks, we wouldn’t even have a vocabulary for “mass shooting” by a lone attacker because it would not be remotely possible to do.

    • ED

      [Your observations on my lack of charity to the first commentor are, of course, correct.]

      As you know, Martin, there are as many opinions out there as there are broken hearts at this very sad time in America. Each person is attempting to deal with this shocking tragedy (and their tremendous anger and grief) in their own personal way. Some may appear to do it better, smarter, and more intelligently than others… but we SHOULD always remember that we are all ‘wired’ differently and our individual approaches, situations, and opinions will obviously vary.
      From your last post you appear to be a sincere and very sensible person… so let’s just leave any differences of *personal* opinion we may have on this subject on the back burner to possibly be discussed at some time in the future.

      FYI… my hope is that America will truly take the time to *seriously* examine the ‘root’ cause/(s) of this type of violence. We have had enough of our normal and silly politically-directed and media-hyped dog and pony shows that offer nothing but worthless paper quick-fix bandages that temporarily appease the public but in truth solve absolutely nothing.

      In any case, Martin… may I ask that you say a prayer for my country… and I in turn will say a prayer for Scotland.

      Take care my friend… and thanks for replying.

  • Observer

    No one here is responsible for the whole atrocity. Nor is the state nor any decision making entity. The failure was in the home, and the responsible person died at his own hands as everyone else who suffered his onslaught of violent behavior. Furthermore, no matter what opportunity or means he would had found, he would have most likely carried out the same. He could had caused more suffering and pain, too.

    I’m most grieved and pray for the familties and their loved ones who have passed away. The sadness is these families have lost someone very special and previous in the eyes of God who won’t be with them for Christmas; a young member of their family. That’s the serious and sad tragedy of it all. These people need to rebuild their lives on a foundation resting on charity to never give up and keep on going doing what’s right as they’ve always lived. No one should change course from doing what they always do. No matter what evil happens, people need to carry on and do what is right.

    Perhaps people should collect money for the families to have a proper funeral, know the encouragement of people pray for them, and let them know God is with them. If we dont’, then you will get the wonderful state trying to be the solver and fixer of problems. And, you will continually have the continual failures and errors of the state over-taking rights, responsibility, and liberty.

    Be responsible, don’t let scoundrels and evil people stop you and run your life. When we permit the effects of evil done to tie and deliver us into some disproportionate and out-of-touch entity to solve our problems, then we will end up in more trouble. Our lives are our own. The man who did this was in no way taking responsibility of his own actions and life. He decided to end others and his. Nothing of concern and consideration on his part for other people, nor for the welfare of himself. No one who is really hurting and suffering grabs a hold of something for injury and terminating someone’s very life. What the guy did was very wrong.

    I don’t suggest people to fall into hating the guy, either. Once you betoken hatred, your only going to fill yourself with the same intoxic void that filled him. Sure, you should feel righteous anger. However, you should never betoken nor feel some deep seated hatred towards the individual for causing such serious harm. Because, you will only begin to fathom a likeness of hatred as he did.

    Rather, pray for him, because his soul resting at the end of his life before his Creator will be judged. He will be judged on what final choice he makes as his soul and very existence stands before God. God’s love, at this point where the soul is no longer here in our life, will have to face the reality of the situation in God’s mercy. His mercy bears the requirement of responsibility: guilt. If the man rejects it – though I still pray for him – because he didn’t see anything wrong at all and took no responsibilty for feeling guilty for what he had done, then by letting go of God’s mercy, he carries his own fate. God does not abandon him. He ends up abandoning God. And, no one knows the final judgement except God and him.

    Those victims who had suffered at his hands will have all the love of God that whatever that man did, his pains and suffering will not amount to nor measure up to the love that God bestows for those children and men and woman who lost their lives. God will not waste their time thinking about the cruelties the man had done nor whether the man made it to heaven or not. No. God is much more merciful and just than that.

    He cares so much about those who suffered the affliction at that guys hands, that He will not even allow a moment for them to be caught up in and entangled by what that guy did. Rather, they will stand on and sing a joyous praise which surpasses all knowledge. God’s love will be so much that nothing can compare. Mary will be there with them as well, this Christmas. The child Jesus will be there with them, this Christmas. And the whole throng of saints will be with them this Christmas. God does not abandon anyone.

  • Observer

    The word *previous* is mispelt. I mean to write *precious in the eyes of God* Famlties is another mispelling. I meant *pray for the families*

  • Observer

    By the way, the only people who should really feel any anger at the guy and about the situation are those who have suffered from him. Those teachers and families who lost their loved ones have more right to feel anger.