Words are hard to come by when trying to express the emotions of having 20 children and six adults gunned down in their elementary school. Emotions are not. There’s anger, rage, fear, uncertainty, guilt, grief and myriad other raw feelings that we know those in Newton, Conn. are experiencing and, if like us, across this great nation of ours.
There will be battle cries — gun control, mental health initiatives, heightened security at schools — we are sure, but none of those cries should be screamed any louder than those urging responsibility, love, values and faith. They are things that are often missing from our lives, not taught in our schools, taught less in our homes and usually waved away as violating someone’s rights.
But weren’t the rights of those precious children stripped from them by pure evil, an apparent madman on a rampage to take the lives of innocents that had come to school, a place where they should be safe, to learn, to fellowship and to grow.
None of that will happen for those youngsters and the educators who tried to protect them because someone, armed to the teeth with assault weapons citizens really don’t need, opted to end their lives even before they’d really even had a chance to live them.
Who will be their advocates? Who is going to stand up for them now?
We will have those who will stand up for gun rights; there will be those who wax poetic about why love and values don’t have a rightful place in the halls of academia; and there will be those who will vehemently protest any talk of faith finding its way back into schools.
But, again, who is going to stand up and speak for those whose rights were stripped from them with every round fired from a madman’s weapon?
While we understand the extreme wisdom our forefathers had as they penned a Constitution that calls for a separation of church and state, we believe we have, over time, stretched their intent to fit the needs of a country often bent on allowing extremists to run it.
We talk of love, yet do we practice it? Too often we do not. If we did, we wouldn’t find ourselves sitting in moral judgement of those who aren’t like us. For those who believe in the teachings of Jesus, wasn’t love of one’s fellow man what he taught, even if that fellow man was, like the rest of us, a sinner?
We talk of responsibility and the acceptance of it, yet how many times do we blame someone else for our own children’s actions or our own?
We talk of values and the need to teach them, yet we don’t live out those values or become an example of how we should live our lives.
How can we expect things in this country to change until we, individually, are willing to change ourselves?
This isn’t about someone else making the changes. Change, like peace, has to begin within and work outward.
If we are to stop the violence that is erupting all around us, we have to look inward and upward, making changes in our own lives and offering prayer to whatever higher power we might believe in.
For us, that higher power is God who teaches us that if we pray he will heal our land.
Isn’t it time to offer that prayer … and mean it. And then work together toward that healing? Don’t those precious children and those six brave adults deserve that from us today. Rather than being angry, mourning and venting, it is time for us to act … and to pray.