Let's start by acknowledging a painful reality: There's no way to make sense of what happened this morning in Newtown, Connecticut. It was a senseless act of violence that killed over two dozen people, most of them children, right before Christmas. Even if we’re able to ascertain the shooter’s motive, there’s no justification for his actions.
I tried to find the right words to appropriately address this mass shooting, but then I realized that it really doesn’t matter. Anything that is said about this could do no more than incrementally alleviate or compound the pain it’s caused.
I was reminded of another horrifying calamity at a schoolhouse. One that occurred close to home, but far back in time.
On March 18, 1937, the London School in New London, Texas exploded. 311 people were killed, mostly children. Never before and not since has a single occurrence at a U.S. school taken so many lives.
Like Newtown, New London was (and still is) a quiet community nestled in rural arcadia. One could hardly have blamed its denizens from feeling insulated from the worst of the world. The London School Explosion, of course, was caused by a gas leak, not an act of human malice, but I don't suppose that made it any easier for the hundreds of bereft to take.
If you crave something therapeutic, some words that might soothe or comfort your soul in the wake of this awful news, then I'm afraid I won't be of much use to you, but here’s a sentiment from one of my old college chums, via Facebook:
My heart is broken to hear about the horrible tragedy in Connecticut. How sad it is to think that even the most innocent children are not safe from the horrors of the world. As we pray for all those involved, please take a moment to cherish your own loved ones.
Do not feel guilty if your appreciation of getting to spend time with your loved ones this holiday season is in any way enhanced by what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary this morning. Any good that can come of this tragedy will be in affront to the unmitigated evil that perpetrated it.