Everybody has a reaction to yesterday’s shooting

Your ears and eyes are likely jammed with images and words about the shooting yesterday in Sandy Hook Connecticut.

You may have heard that the killer’s name was Adam Lanza. He was 20. And not only did he kill his mother (possibly), I read his girlfriend and another friend are missing.

Likely, your Facebook feeds are stuffed with responses.

Of course there are those who blame the video games. The POV shooters. I have a hard time on that one. I wonder about those games desensitizing some people who might be prone to mental illness.

People are blaming that there aren’t enough emphasis on mental illness in this country.

People are citing the meme about far less shooting deaths in other countries with far less belief in God.

Many people are focusing on religious responses on Facebook. You know, I’ll pray for the victims. I’ll pray for the suspect.

Others: gun control. I have one friend who deleted someone for going too far to evangelical land and blaming liberal atheists.

That guy said, “I don’t know what I believe about god, but if that god allowed such things to happen, I’m not sure I could believe in that god.”

I don’t think the guy saw the irony.

I have another friend saying that Obama should have made a stronger stand during his press conference on what he’s going to do to make sure this never happens again.

On my blog, this post is getting mad hits. At the link, I posted a screen cap of a Facebook conversation with a girl who posted that stupid meme,

“Dear God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools? Signed a concerned student.


“Dear concerned student, I’m not allowed in schools. God.”

Another friend on Facebook ranted about Mike Huckabee and how he is complaining without God in schools, violence is going to happen.

God has no control over an elementary school because, while there might be people who claim Christianity there, one established religion isn’t allowed. So he is killing or allowing the murder of innocent children?

My point is that my non-religious friends are up in arms. My religious friends are up in arms.

Hell, I just did a count for how many pages on Facebook have been started that read, “Adam Lanza [the killer] burn in hell”. There are about 24.

There’s Facebook page, Adam Lanza Connecticut shooter rot in hell.

I realize these are coping mechanisms. But I can’t help but criticize this as tomfoolery and an embarrassment to other believers. But other believers don’t speak up against it, that I hear.

I don’t have kids. Things like what happened yesterday make me wonder if not having kids is generally okay.

If I had to deal with the heartache. The turmoil of even telling a child today about what happened.

That a mass shooting could happen in his or her school. That he or she could be in a situation to fend for his or her life.

Bad things happen to good people.

Evil things happen to children.

My heart breaks thinking about it in a hypothetical situation.

Or you could lie to your children and yourself and not tell them anything. Keep on living in your utopian garden.

There are several frustrating things about this whole catastrophe. And there is little that betrays my understanding of the world more than when someone writes or says, “Thank God my family, my children, my friends are safe.”

As if one person has the magic connection to Jesus to keep this far from them.

As if God went out of his way to keep you from this same pain.

As if some people actually deserved this pain.

There’s one thing you won’t hear, among the people cheering on Adam Lanza’s burning in hell, and that’s: well, at least these children are alive again in heaven.

At least we can bask in the glory that these children are with their maker. That they’ve been healed. They are not in pain, but in glory.

This is one of the reasons I don’t believe.

Because no matter the incident. No matter the death count.

People will yell with certainty that Adam Lanza is burning in hell.

But no one, not until the funerals, will anyone stand in front of the country and say, “These children are better now. Better off. They are wearing silken white robes.”

Because as much as this country wants everyone to believe. And as much as they claim 85% believe.

The atheistic tendencies of people speak louder than they think.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t blame godlessness. I don’t blame god. I can’t blame satan either. I can’t find any proof that those guys exist.

The way I understand religion, I thought Jesus would be the first to offer Adam Lanza salvation.

I thought Jesus would intervene before hand instead of letting his “creation” be trampled by “evil.”

There are answers, though. And those answers could point us to solutions.

And if there is any glory and honor, we’ll fight to make sure this never happens again.


****UPDATE*** I was wrong. People are saying that the kids are celebrating in heaven. See here *******

7 thoughts on “Everybody has a reaction to yesterday’s shooting

  1. Jeremy, thanks for this thoughtful post. For me, it definitely hit a nerve. 🙂

    As if one person has the magic connection to Jesus to keep this far from them.

    As if God went out of his way to keep you from this same pain.

    As if some people actually deserved this pain.

    This is soooo true and is why I cannot bring myself these days to think that my good fortune is the “blessing of God” when right in front of me is the bad, bad fortune of someone else. When I awoke to this terrible frame of reference that I had used all my life, I was appalled at the arrogance and insensitivity of this kind of thinking. On the other hand, people are just trying to make sense of why they are spared and they feel the need to be thankful to someone or something. In their defense, they are not intentional about increasing the wound, they are just truly thankful and relieved they were spared.

    And I guess if we’re honest, what difference does it make whether we call it “God” or not, if we CAN possibly be thankful and relieved when bad fortune passes us over only to land in the lap of our neighbor? Is there any difference (in the arrogance or insensitivity), save calling it God? I wrestle with this scenario often, wondering if any of us should wish it was ourselves with the bad fortune to spare our neighbor. How do we–we who haven’t been the ones to lose– truly weep with those who weep when we can’t possibly restore or shoulder that kind of loss? How do we live in the reality of our oneness when the bleeding of one of us can’t be stopped?

    And the other thing…none of us is safe from that kind of loss, whether we believe in God or not, whether we are a “good person” or not. You can bet that the victims included believers and unbelievers (families) alike. So then again (and in light of our connectedness), being thankful to God for sparing one from tragedy is really just an illusion. And yes, I know that sounds atheistic, but it’s not. I have been through some pretty difficult losses myself, as everyone has. As you have. But for some inexplicable reason, I am not an atheist, and you are. Our responses to life and the perceived evidence therein are different. I don’t know why.

    The way I understand religion, I thought Jesus would be the first to offer Adam Lanza salvation.

    I thought about this yesterday. What good would it do to send someone like Adam Lanza to hell? Would it resolve anything? No, it would leave a lot unresolved and unfinished. Regardless, there is the glaring irony built into this particular situation. Adam Lanza’s own mother, a victim of his sickness, would likely never want to see her son burning in eternal flames. If anything, she is the one person who knows exactly the pains, losses, and obstacles in Adam’s own life that led to his snap and would rather see him whole and sane and kindhearted. But that’s the love of a mother. If she is even an average mother, she would want to see her son restored to sanity and all his victims restored what was lost as well. Call me a dreamer, but I won’t give up on Adam or Hitler either, because I believe that everyone has something redeemable and lovable, no matter how hidden from the light.

    I wrote about this very thing in Raising Hell by describing the story of Kent Whittaker whose oldest son murdered the the whole family (except for the failed attempt on Kent’s life). In the end, Kent’s greatest desire was for his son’s restoration and wholeness. He published his story called, “Murder by Family.” I met Kent. He’s a wonderful, humble guy with a lot of love for his kids, just like most parents.

  2. Great post Jeremy. It is incidents like this that cause me to doubt the existence of a “supreme being”. If their be anything above us to which we are held to account there is nothing anthropomorphically loving about it.

      1. Well, deity is confusing. You know I have shifted away from a centralized being to an essence that is shared among all of us. This is where Tikkun Olam becomes more relevant.

    1. Yeah, I blogged about tikkun olam awhile back. Did you see it? http://www.julieferwerda.com/2012/10/31/am-i-my-brothers-keeper/

      I am trying to shift away from the old bearded guy up in the sky mentality but the tenacity of my old mental habits is startling.

      I am so broken-hearted by events like these that I get sort of blocked and can’t even process….I don’t know what you do with the painful realization that you can’t really do anything to alleviate the suffering surrounding the empty spaces left behind. This sadness takes a long time for all of us to move through. I still get choked up over Columbine and 911 all these years later. What especially brings it home is reading/learning about the victims and their families. I do wish the media would focus on the real 3D lives of the victims so we can all enmesh ourselves in their stories, but there is also the sacred necessity of honoring the privacy of people in their fresh, raw pain.

  3. Thanks both of you.

    My head is swimming with responses to Friday.

    And every time I see a murdered child’s photo followed by a asshole’s stupid post about how guns aren’t the problem on Facebook, my face turns red and I grit my teeth.

    Guns were a HUGE part of Friday’s events.

    Likely, mental health was part of it.

    And if a mental case didn’t have access to guns, 20+ children wouldn’t be dead.

    My heart hurts.

    This isn’t about god or godlessness.

    It’s not really about guns and violence.

    It’s about people — those of us that survived and some of them closer to the pain than others — and it’s about how we respond.

    It’s not appropriate for people to be rushing to the support of guns right now.

    I may not love Jesus, but I understood him as a guy who turned his cheek. He may have come to bring the sword, but he also said treat your neighbor better than you.

    Am I defending Jesus, right now? What the hell.

    Goddamnit this hurts.

  4. Jeremy, you are absolutely right. Jesus was all about Tikkun Olam which means “repairing the world.” Few listened and like all good messages, it was eventually distorted into dogmatic religious nonsense.

    This tragedy is about guns and mental illness. I am fed up with people thinking the 2nd Amendment is under attack every time some psycho does something like this and the rest of us wonder if the gun culture is not conducive to the brute desensitization of society. I own guns and I take my kids to the range. I do not own armor-piercing rounds and assault rifles and I don’t think anyone should. Mental illness is avoided by to many people and then their are folks like me who know its a problem, but have no idea how to deal with it. So we mix these 2 together and its a recipe for disaster.

    You may or may not have read my very short post about this tragedy. I will shamelessly post it here as I wrote it while my youngest one slept on my chest yesterday – http://quest4light.net/2012/12/16/to-the-angels-that-walked-among-us/

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