America mourns. Funerals for two 6-year-old children, Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were held Monday. Services for 6-year-old classmates James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos will be held today. The funerals will continue.
Twenty school children, first- and second-graders, were killed in a terrible shooting spree Friday. Seven adults also died in the shootings. Over the weekend, people across the country tried to make sense of the news from Connecticut. It was too awful to contemplate. Too evil.
For those families who lost little ones, we are overwhelmed with sorrow. For the families of those teachers and the principal, we offer our respect and sympathy.
Congregations across the country said prayers Sunday for those Connecticut families.
We all want to do something. We want to stop these senseless, terrible shootings. We want to bring an end to the evil violence that has struck in communities across America — Casper, Wyo., Tucson, Ariz., Oak Creek, Wis., Aurora, Colo., Seattle, Seal Beach, Calif., Fort Hood, Texas, Binghamton, N.Y., Omaha, Neb.,Virginia Tech, Va., and Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
Right now we are too much in grief to know what should be done, or what can be done to make this all stop.
“No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t an be excuse for inaction,” President Barack Obama said in Newtown on Sunday. The president said he would be calling together educators, mental health professionals and law enforcement officials to seek a solution.
Presently, there’s no consensus solution for stopping these kinds acts of violence. There will be a push for a ban on assault weapons. Other types of control will be proposed, other means of restricting access to guns of all kinds. Although Sandy Hook Elementary School was a model of preparedness and security, there will be discussions about making schools safe. There also will be talk about mental health issues and how to identify potential mass killers.
Do not expect the resulting answers to provide clear solutions. Expect those answers to run against the grain of our cultural and political beliefs, most notably the right to bear arms.
What we must be is open-minded about these discussions and possible solutions. Better to act judiciously and cautiously in the aftermath of such a terrible event.
In a few days, Christmas will be upon us. The birth of the Christ child is celebrated with tidings of “peace and good will toward men.” It’s a time when people embrace the light.
People everywhere this Christmas will be thinking of the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and will be including them in their prayers.