Violence and Mourning – Hope and Joy

I have been avoiding writing about my feelings about the whole Sandy Hook school shooting thing.

It is everywhere and it is sad.  And honestly, I feel like I don’t have anything to say that is constructive  or unique.   And it is hard to address.

In fact, I was planning on not saying anything at all.  Because I almost feel like writing on it as such an outsider is belittling the situation because I can’t possibly understand it.

But, it keeps coming to mind, especially in light of the Christmas season.

All I can say is I feel so badly for the families involved, including those of the young man who pulled the trigger.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in the shoes of the survivors, the families of the deceased or even in that community.

As an outsider, a future parent and the spouse and friend of teachers, it breaks my heart and terrifies me.

Those could be my kids, my husband, my friends.

It also breaks my heart to see how the media can sensationalize a killer.  Someone who ended lives, with body counts, gruesome details and plastering their face all over the place.

This young man had issues.  But it is not fair to speculate his motivation, his mental health or his family life on the internet or television.

Think of his family and friends.  They mourn too. We need to love them like the others.

Now, we speculate how to stop these things from happening.  Some blame gun laws.  And yes, I am sure having guns so readily available is a problem (this coming from a sheltered Canadian), but if you want to find weapons badly enough, you can.  Having stricter laws does not prevent violence.  It prevents some accidents and the odd incident, but not big scale things with intent.

Others blame mental illness.  Not all mentally ill people are violent.  In fact, most are not.  And even those who think about it are generally not violent.  Yes, we need to treat mental illness appropriately and there is a big need for medications, counseling and a willingness to undergo treatment.  Some people don’t have good access to care or are resistant to it.  It is actually quite rare (or so a forensic psychiatrist once told me) for people to be so psychiatrically unwell so as to commit crimes of large proportions due only to their mental illness.

No matter whether or not guns or mental illness plays a role, a big part of this is that our society is violent.  We accept violence at baseline.  Single murders hardly make us flinch anymore.  We see it on the news every night.  We play video games that encourage killing.  We act as if it is normal.  Yes, people have control of themselves, but you have to wonder how much of it we promote with the media sensationalizing these “blaze of glory suicides” in which people kill themselves while killing others.  Sometimes, it is the only way a person may think they become known.

We are flawed.  We hurt one another.  We are attention seeking.  And we propagate that behavior.  I don’t know why people kill or how to stop it within human means.

Man is sinful.

It breaks my heart that things like this happen, especially so close to the holidays.

I am glad we have hope in this season.  Even for those who mourn, we know that those children are in heaven.  It doesn’t change the fact that we feel loss just that much more at this time of year, the season for family and friends to come together.

There is nothing wrong with mourning as a nation, as a global community.

But, we can’t become bitter.  We can’t be enslaved with fear or grief.  And it is not for us to judge.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. –John 10:10.

We need to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  That the family members we miss are home.  That there is reason for joy even with the sadness.  And that Jesus came to Earth as a man, so that we can have freedom and joy!

I remember the joy of coming home to family and friends or having them come home to us.  This will be nothing compared to our heavenly homecoming.

That is why we have Christmas.  That is why despite tragedy of epic proportions, we can still be joyful and find hope.

Remember to pray for these people affected.  But not just them.  Those who live in constant fear, those who are missing loved ones who have been dead for a long or short time, those facing all kinds of uncertianity this season.

I feel joy because of the hope of Jesus.  I hope you do too.

4 thoughts on “Violence and Mourning – Hope and Joy

  1. Amen, sister!

    As usual, your writing is to the point and capturing the essence of what I’ve been feeling. Thank you for sharing.

    Enjoy the holiday off and remember your poor friend slaving away on the wards with inpatients and staffing Clinic A. 🙂

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