Since the beginning of time, blood has been shed and lives have been lost for reasons man can’t understand. For all of our faith in God, for all of our attempts to put tragedy into words, it is simply impossible to understand the darkest days.
Friday was among our darkest days.
Children are man’s precious future, bright and unassuming and defenseless. Their souls are unencumbered by evil thoughts and deadly deeds. They are the best that man has to offer.
Yet, a multitude of children died Friday in the small town of Newtown, Conn., a place not wholly unlike Anniston or Oxford or Jacksonville. A man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and unleashed a rage of unspeakable carnage. Twenty children, all of them precious, died in a hail of bullets. Nearly 30 were killed overall.
A dark, dark day.
We pray for the victims, for their families and for this nation. Our tears are real.
There are discussions we must have. They are contentious and combative, yet they are vital. America, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet, has a problem that cannot be ignored or wished away. For varying reasons, we’ve seen evil committed in places like Aurora, Colo., and Milwaukee, Wisc., and Fort Hood, Texas, and Blacksburg, Va., and, now, Newtown, Conn.
America is better than this. Whatever must be done, be it social or political, or both, must be done. It is not good enough to accept the fact that evil exists, as it always has, and we can do little about it.
These episodes of mass violence must end.
In a brief statement Friday afternoon, President Obama set the right tone for a mournful country. “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies the last few years,” he said. “I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the overwhelming grief that I do.
“Our hearts are broken today … As a country we have been through this too many times. These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action, regardless of the politics.”
Evil has stolen away our inclination to act cautiously and hide behind ideology or profit. Evil has again placed this issue — the recurring horror of mass violence with guns, often directed at innocent bystanders — at the top of America’s list. Children died Friday, innocent, young children sitting in their classrooms.
Whatever we’ve been doing to stem this flow of violence, to keep evil from killing, isn’t working. How many more Newtowns have to happen before America takes the needed steps?