God and Tragedy

In the wake of the shootings that occurred in the year 2012, and the reaction they engendered, I found it to be a good time to talk about a few of the issues America as a nation has been faced with. Firstly, the initial reaction to any tragedy such as this is horror – as it should be. Compassion and prayers for the families affected should be first and foremost on our minds and hearts for those who have lost loved ones, and for the children who underwent this horrible trauma. The larger question remains, however. What is the source of this endemic? Newtown was not an isolated incident. Just days prior to that, an individual went into a mall – killing two people before turning the gun on himself – and months before, a mass shooting in Aurora left the country stunned. Looking for a scapegoat (as we so often do) pundits and talking heads, writers and citizenry alike have turned to blaming a culture of violence, video games, music – anything we can get our hands on to make sense of acts inherently senseless.

 

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Far too often, I have heard and seen gun control blamed. And perhaps a more stringent set of guidelines for obtaining a weapon should be in place – but then again, why make the process for obtaining a legal weapon more stringent when the people we are aiming to stop are criminals – those who are what they are because they actively break the law. I’ve heard it said that things like this occur because we’ve “taken God out of schools.” I firmly believe that God does exist and can and does do great and mighty things – however, suggesting that forcing kids to pray will suddenly fix everything, and that God being involved will end all violence, need only be pointed to The Crusades. The problem is not religion, or the lack thereof. Humanity is imperfect. People are damaged. True change can only come as we make a united effort as a country to identify and treat those with mental illnesses. The question will become how many men, women, and children need to be affected by violence committed by mentally ill people before the populace is ready to reach in their wallets and pay for the change we so seek.

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