I’m a lucky man. I’ve spent the last 24 hours surrounded by family and I’ve watched my little girls get showered with presents and love by those closest to them. But this Christmas, I must admit, I greet with a little sadness, knowing that across the Long Island Sound so many families are mourning a child after the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
As a parent, I can imagine their pain, and it’s unbearable, too unbearable to avoid everything the tragedy is telling us about ourselves, our culture and our approach to public safety.
Details about the massacre are still emerging, but it already seems like horror has exposed a host of social ills that just can’t be ignored. So far, we know the shooter was someone with mental and behavioral disabilities who fell through the cracks, with many folks coming forward to attest to his difficulties but little details on whether he was being treated by professionals. Instead, we see him becoming an reclusive and embracing violent video games as an outlet. Meanwhile, his mother was a gun lover who kept a host of these handheld weapons of mass destruction in her home, including a machine gun.
That’s not to say all of those conditions will lead to a event such as Newtown, but that doesn’t give us a pass to ignore them, because out of those issues a mass murderer emerged, and he slaughtered 20 children in their school.
So this Christmas I wish all of us would think about Newtown. We should send love and support to the families of the victims, but we should also look at these issues and stand on the side opposite of the murderer. We should make strict reforms to gun control, especially when it comes to semi-automatic and automatic weapons. We should treat mental health seriously, and not give up on treating those who could be dangerous, and we should look very closely at our violent culture and why we find entertainment value in blood.
It’s time. It’s Christmas. And the children we lost deserve this present from us all.