I am sick, and angry and so sad all at once. The news of the shootings at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, is deeply disturbing. Twenty little children murdered. My heart breaks for the parents whose children won’t be there for Christmas, for the families of the faculty who died in service to their community and to every person who must bear the burden of what they witnessed in Newtown today. This moment is reserved for those most devastated by the tragedy. The rest of us can only imagine joining with them in their grief and profound loss.
But when these days of mourning are over, and a time for sober reflection emerges, don’t let our insane national gun control dialogue crowd out all the other important areas to which our attention must turn: Our failing mental health systems; cyber violence and violence in our entertainment media; child abuse and neglect; bullying; aggressive models for problem solving and the unrestrained hostility in our very public discourse. There is, unfortunately, always a smoking gun in mass shootings but there is never a single direction to look for answers. If we can muster the patience, the persistence and the discipline to look both broadly and deeply into our propensity for violence we may come away with a better understanding of how to change. Let this be the legacy of the children we lost today in Newtown.