Our view: Focus should be on the victims in wake of tragedy
By now we have been bombarded for about 48 hours with the horrific news from Connecticut that a deranged young man killed 20 children, six adults and apparently himself.

The loud, raucous voices from the left and the right seem determined to talk about gun control or the lack of it rather than reflect on all those lives snuffed out so early. The political opportunists have decided which path offers the most gain and they set off on it regardless of the facts.

Social media is ablaze with vicious comments that bemoan a lack of humanity while displaying that same lack in their own words. Media itself is under attack, as the inevitable mistakes were made and “facts” turned out not to be facts at all, despite being reported as such.

Political opponents are all over President Barack Obama’s response, labeling his emotional statement as fakery of the highest order instead of the heartfelt response of a man with two daughters who happens to be the president of our country.

Let’s all stop for a moment, and do nothing but reflect on those 20 children. We don’t know those children, and yet we will mourn their deaths for a long time to come.

Why?

We believe it is because they could be our children. They could be our neighbors. They could be any of us and while we breathe a guilty sigh of relief that they are not our children, we know that it is possible, and that frightens us.

If you don’t believe it could be any of us at any time, consider this:

According to Reuter’s news service, in 2012 alone, in our country, there have been seven mass murders, with 51 deaths as a result. More than 60 were wounded.

As this is being written, television plays in the background, and voices debating gun control get shrill and loud, get frustrated and angry and in the end solve nothing. Based on the tone of voice, they probably leave mad at each other. We hope they were not armed.

Early on Friday, NPR reported that a spokesperson for the White House was asked if this tragedy would restart a national conversation on gun control.

There will be a time for that conversation, the spokesperson said, but today is not that day. That might have been the most sensible comment of the day, but those shrill voices drowned out the sensibility and will continue to do so.

Let’s remember the children, and their parents and brothers and sisters. Let’s remember their grandparents and aunts and uncles. Let’s not forget the friends who will no longer play hide and seek or push each other on swings.

The oldest of the children who died on Friday was born in 2002, the youngest in 2007.

As we remember the children, let’s also remember the six adults, who likewise left families who loved them and shared their dreams and lives. And let’s remember the shooter’s family, thrust into a national spotlight that is too often more intense than illuminating.

As we struggle to put these words on paper, we hear a report that the bodies of those who died today remain in the schoolhouse. It is a crime scene, and must be preserved intact until all the evidence is gathered. We understand, but waves of revulsion course through our very souls as we listen to those chilling words.

This story is not yet complete, and might never be. We are taught in journalism to ask “Who, What, When, Where and WHY?”

We cannot imagine a “WHY” that makes any sense at all.

“Evil visited this community today,” said Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy on Friday.

And evil did settle in Newtown on Friday.

Evil cannot be explained. There is no “Why” beyond a recognition that it does exist.

But we believe this:

“…the Spirit joins in to help us in our weakness, for we do not know what and how we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf with sighs too deep for words.”

– Romans, 8:26

© 2012