Any words about today's tragedy seem pretty meaningless and trivial considering that I don't have much of a personal connection to the violence in Newtown, Connecticut. Condolences seem pretty meaningless because I don't know anybody that has been personally impacted.
The only thing I had to say about today is the screenshot below that I posted to Facebook. I figure before the conversation eventually turns into a debate between the right and the left, I'll take a few moments to expound upon that.
Evil actions are a choice. Nobody is predestined to be a murderer or a savior. No person ever wakes up in the day and is programmed to earn a million dollars or steal a million dollars. From the moment we wake up to the moment we lie back down, our day is a series of choices that we face. Most are pretty trivial in the long run. Unfortunately, Adam Lanza woke up this morning and made a choice that will have reverberating effects on specific families for generations to come. Even more unfortunate than the tragedy is the fact that people on both sides will inevitably turn this choice into a political issue that won't create any meaningful policy changes and will distract us from the real focus of what our conversations need to be.
Another response that I posted expounds on this a little bit more as well:
Evil people must be eliminated from our society. Our response to that should be to build a cultural ethic which values the individual value of a human life above everything else. Part of that means respecting the rights that we all have, but that also means educating and expecting that individuals take ownership of their lives and its ups and downs. I cannot fathom the choice that Adam Lanza made because I don't hold people responsible the way he did. I know what it's like to be unhappy, depressed, and lost in a difficult world, but I don't know how to take out that hopelessness on someone else the way the piece of garbage did.
All of the talk about guns and gun rights miss the boat entirely. No gun has every fired itself and ended the life of another person. It took a finger to pull that trigger. If your philosophy is to say that guns kill more people than knives, well ... I can only say your point is disgusting to me. I don't consider the death of 200 individuals a larger tragedy than the death of one. A pragmatic, utilitarian approach is nothing I find compelling. A murder is a murder, and it is wrong regardless of the body count.
We need to look at men like Lanza and say, "You're evil, and had you not killed yourself you deserve to die." That condemnation made, we need to look at men and women that may find themselves on the precipice of such drastic decisions and say "You're life is yours to own. Take it, own it, run with it, and make it something amazing." No government policy can enforce that ethic, and no gun control policy can prevent tragedies such as today's when the ethic is lost. You have to look at that people that matter to you most and set that expectation.
Most of all, you have to look at yourself and say it. Demand it! If you're not willing to, you could be willingly facing another tragedy yourself. Don't let it be that way.