I don’t know how many of you said a prayer when you heard the horrific news last Friday from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown or said a prayer on Sunday if you went to church.
I felt a huge tear in the moral fiber of our society on Friday and had to stop watching, reading and listening to the news.
The mayor of Newtown early on was quoted as saying “evil came to Newtown.” I don’t see “evil.” What I see and what angers me is, what kind of God allows children to be murdered? In Sandy Hook Elementary School. In Afghanistan. In Africa. In homes in cities, town and villages around the world.
If the God you prayed to on Friday and Sunday is, as holy books like to say, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, He is as cruel and capricious as Hamlet’s gods, who “kill us for their sport.” If He is not omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, there is no supernatural “evil” that visited Newtown to stands outside God’s supernatural “good.”
Instead, we suffer again an all-too-human moral failure. A failure to make it harder for a murderer-- sane or insane-- to find and use the kind of semi-automatic weapon that make it possible to kill and maim so many so quickly, this time young children.
If the past is any indication of the future, murders with weapons like these will continue because there will continue to be access to weapons like these in America. There will be those who will blur the distinctions among guns and rifles and we will hear the mantras: “Guns don’t kill, people kill.” “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
Best then to make sure that every school administrator and teacher, every mall operator and merchant, every theater owner and usher— those responsible for every public space-- be required to have and be trained in emergency shutdown procedures to reduce the carnage from murderous situations.
That’s the society we’re living in and we need to watch out for each other and our children. Because God isn’t— and because there are many who believe it is their God-given right to have the very kinds of weapons that commit mayhem and murders.