Last Friday, right before Christmas, the world lost some of its innocence, quite literally, as a madman gunned down twenty blameless little first-graders and several unsuspecting adults. Each of the child-victims, of course, was gorgeous, loved, precious, and full of potential – full of the hopes of their parents and teachers. In a sense, Adam Lanza shot “hope” several times. But hope, like Christ, can rise again.
Initially, as most people did, I demanded answers while raging against this abomination. But, as I shared on my radio show, Flash Point Live, you cannot make sense of insanity. For the rational world, that is the most exasperating realization.
So, what is our response in our acute frustration? Some people turn to the church, but most of us ignore truth and instead pursue more details, straining to identify some action to fix it. “Something must be done!” we cry. And the bickering, posturing, and political banter begins. “Stricter gun laws!” “Better school security!” “Better testing and care for mental health!” In our horror, we demand answers from the government; we want hasty retribution, though it’s all just distraction from our grief. This is not an issue government can solve.
The more important discussion is why people go on killing rampages, and are we are less tethered to a common morality? We’ve removed God and prayer from schools. Church and religion are openly mocked, because in our extreme hubris we assume morality is a natural occurrence – that people are intrinsically good. They may be in genesis, but evil is seductive and people need encouragement and support from a discerning society, not tacit complicity in depravity like “Kindergarten Killer” or “Call of Duty,” Lanza’s game of choice. “Thou shall not kill” was important enough to write in stone, evidence that it must be taught – not assumed.
We need a mighty force to combat the hatred and violence nurtured in our culture. Furthermore, let’s extrapolate the sixth commandment to include not watching others kill and destroy. Our society has moral outrage against senseless violence, but not when it is deemed entertainment, i.e. video games and movies. That is completely irresponsible.
Parents discharge their children, unsupervised, into the clutches of the graphic, glamorized slaughter without affording them any context. In these scenarios, good often equals evil and death equals a restart of game or credit roll. Reality warps into meaningless pixels before their eyes. This has an effect.
In his final interview before his execution, Ted Bundy, who kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed at least thirty women, blamed porn as his corrupting influence. Porn – not even video games – but our current justice department shut down the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force last year.
We The People are losing a culture war to all kinds of vulgarity, in the guise of free speech.
It’s too easy for politicians to espouse more regulations – that’s just job security. But guns don’t kill people – people kill people. And legislating behavior is closer to communism than democracy.
We need self-regulation in our hearts. We need a renewal of modesty and discernment. We need to cuddle our children, give them the hope of a God in heaven, and protect them from images of evil and destruction, lest they choose to recreate it. Lastly, we need to embrace the greater spiritual picture in place of our reactive frustration and clamoring to the “all-mighty” government when we witness unspeakable, nonsensical horrors.
In the Bible, when Job learns he has lost everything, his wealth, his home, and his children, he bows down to the ground, crying, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21 New International Version) He didn’t place blame. He didn’t scream for change. He decidedly didn’t ask the government to fix what ailed him. He submitted to the will of God.
It could be that the little children who fell victim last Friday have, in their passing, led many to greater closeness with God, just as Christ did. Christmastime is a season about birth, so my hope is that maybe their senseless loss can also inspire a return to a gentler, more morally centered, responsible culture: one that pays attention, identifies poison for what it is, and banishes it from our society. We can no longer afford to pretend these things don’t matter, or hope that the government will fix us.