I'm going to begin this article with a statement. I make the statement as both a private citizen and a retired psychologist. "I do not know what the motivation was for Adam Lanza to commit the horrendous massacre that occurred this past Friday. I also know that anyone who is definitively claiming that they know the reason for this horror is either delusional, a publicity hound, a liar, or all three." This was a tragedy of unspeakable proportions. I do not see this as a problem of left or right, of religious or non-religious, of banning guns or not banning guns. I am not sure, nor is anyone else, certain that any degree of gun control or gun rights would have prevented this tragedy. I do not know if any degree of improvement in the mental health system in this nation would have prevented Newtown from happening. What I do believe is that we need a coming together of ideas, of philosophies, of points of view, to improve all of our chances to lessen the possibility of a recurrence of this past Friday.
Unfortunately, what we have gotten are headlines that divide us. We've seen blame being placed at the most absurd places. They are the absolutist statements that tell people that there specific answers to interminable questions. It is wrong and it is destructive to a sane national dialogue. Some examples of these include:
- Mike Huckabee blames tax funded abortion pills for the Newtown tragedy.
- A major tea party group blames the Connecticut shootings on teachers, unions and sex.
- James Dobson announced that the Connecticut shooting was a result of gay marriage.
- One of the leading conservative magazines led with a headline that declared that "Newtown is the price we pay for the Second Amendment"
- A Tennessee pastor announced that these mass shootings occur because schools teach evolution and teach children how to be homos.
- Anne Coulter decided that only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder, concealed carry laws.
- Louis Gohmert agreed by saying that if the Sandy Hook principal had an assault rifle, everyone would have been saved. That position was seconded today by Rick Perry who advocated teachers bringing guns to school.
- Bryan Fischer decided that God let the massacre happen in a public school because he's not wanted there.
- Steve Deace, a radio talk show host, said that the killings were caused by widespread child murder by parents and a school assignment that was given to students in a classroom in France.
- Larry Pratt spoke about making schools gun free zones were the cause of the problem of the massacre.
- The argument has been put forth that the problem in the United States is that we have a general contempt for life. It is not a love of guns.
None of these are the reason why the massacre in Newton occurred, nor are they realistic interpretations of the abandonment of people in towns like Newtown by the Deity. To blame abortion, gay marriage, sex, evolution, a classroom assignment in France for these deaths are an insult. To claim that God has abandoned the town of Newtown is an insult to every person who is a believer in this country. It is my understanding that religions teach about a God of love and encompassing, not one of punishment and abandonment. If that were truly so, this would be a nation of atheists. God would be both the enemy and not necessary. About 82% of Americans think differently.
But whether you believe or not, whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, pro-evolution or pro-creationism, pro-gay or anti-gay, any statement that makes one think that there is an easy, albeit idiotic, answer to this problem is, as I said in my opening either delusional, a publicity hound, a liar, or all three. This is a truly complex problem. It is going to take us all sitting down together, putting our politics and religious differences aside, and finding solutions that make living in this country safer for every man and woman. But most importantly, so safe that we don't have to grieve as a nation, for all of the children. For all of the lives lost that never had a chance to live their lives and become part of the discussion. We owe that type of sanity to Newtown.