Tragedy strikes and everyone immediately begins falling over themselves trying to explain it, looking to find reason in madness and order in the chaos. Was he sick? What type of mental illness did he have? Was he taking his medication? Were his parents to blame? Was he mistreated by his family? These are all interesting questions and the answers may have played a small part in the end result. We want so badly to understand why a person would force his way into a classroom to murder 20 children that we’re seemingly willing to entertain anything and everything. We search, desperately, for someone to blame; for some underlying cause. The answer is right in front of us, and it’s so uncomfortable that we intentionally avoid it. We have to find the courage to see the answer and the fortitude to address it.
Evil exists, and we foster it. We have trained ourselves to devalue life, and when we teach our children to devalue an individual or a group, they become capable of devaluing anyone. We fill our homes with programs full of senseless violence. We buy our kids video games where the sole objective is to kill. We exist in a world of unmanned drones capable of raining down death with little more than a President’s kill list and the push of a button. We’ve spent the last decade in a war, seemingly without end. We’ve even turned the lives of the sick, elderly and disabled into nothing more than a game of numbers. But here’s the big one, we have actively taught our children that the death of an innocent child is no big deal; it’s even something to be celebrated.
We have taught two generations of Americans that the murder of a child is normal. If a woman is pregnant, and doesn’t want to be, then it is just fine to end that pregnancy, with no thought given to the life that is extinguished. Roughly 3,400 abortions occur in the United States each and every day, and very few of us give it a single thought. It’s not on the news, and if it is, it’s because some less-than-human Christian or Conservative wants to take away a woman’s “reproductive rights.”
When we do talk about abortion, we talk about the need to regulate it. We need to pass parental notification laws. We need to ban abortion after a certain stage of development, with a list of exceptions so full of loopholes that it renders such restrictions irrelevant. We talk about the quality of the facilities where the killing of babies takes place, as if somehow a clean facility in which the staff has admitting privileges to the local hospital is an unbreachable barrier. What we don’t talk about is this: We need to abolish abortion because murdering human beings is wrong. How can we tell our kids that it’s wrong to murder in one situation, but more than ok in another and expect them to have a respect for human life?
The fact is any time an innocent human life is ended, we should mourn. In the case of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, we’re right to be outraged, troubled and even afraid, but we have no right to be confused as to why something like this would happen. We set the stage for these types of occurrences by devaluing human life and the worth of every individual and teaching our children to do the same. It’s going to take a lot of effort on the part of every American to change the way that we look at all human life, not just as individuals, but as a society.