Today in church we sang, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clearing” in honor of all the angels who were brutally murdered last Friday. This song, written by a man who was distraught about a recent American war with Mexico, describes a group of angels singing. He also describes how we people do not take the time to slow down and listen – we are so caught up in war, hate, (etc.), that we don’t take the time to listen to the angels singing.
How appropriate, right?
A mentally ill man with access to three semi-automatic weapons takes those weapons into an elementary school and kills twenty angels.
And yet, most of what we hear in the media (and from our acquaintances on Facebook) is about whose fault this is. Is it the gun makers? The government? The mental health community? I have many strong opinions on this matter, but this blog is about something a little different than just that.
Our modern society is far removed from nature. We hardly take time outside to enjoy the trees and dirt. We spend a majority of our days attached to electronic devices “being social” or working. NPR recently reported that lobsters are over-populating certain areas causing them to begin to attack their young through cannibalism. Studies have also recently shown that praying mantises are actually only cannibalistic in laboratories, and not in natural settings. I think we sometimes forget that we are actually animals – we have a “god” complex because of our past abilities to overcome every single other species on our Earth, and we substitue natural interaction with electronic obsession. I can’t help but think that these murders are some sort of self-mutilation, just like these other animals have expressed in stressful environments. Our obsession with being so important, so much better than all other creatures on our planet, has caused us to forget that, sometimes, community, friendship, love, and compassion are the most important things we need.
Because I feel this way, I can’t help but think about so many “what ifs.” What if that young man’s inner-circle loved him more. What if that young man expressed his frustration for life through discussions with friends or even a counsellor. What if our ability to become so important through the existence of guns was not a top priority for so many people in our country and this young man couldn’t get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon. What if.
I also can’t help but think of all of the fairy tales I read as a little girl. Stay away from wolves. Witches who live in candy houses are dangerous. Don’t have too many children because you’ll have to live in a shoe and won’t know what to do. Whatever happened to our societal lessons? Is our world really so interconnected that we don’t need lessons like these anymore? Do we really have to teach our children that going to school isn’t safe because a many might show up one day with a semi-automatic weapon and kill you? No. The answer is “no.” We need to come back to being a community, a society who cares for one another.
Hopefully you don’t read this and think I’m just another someone trying to come up with some reason for this having happened, someone trying to rationalize a terrible situation I hope your read this and it causes you to stop debating the Second Amendment for a minute and call a friend for a cup of coffee. Or, I hope you read this and call your mom to see how her day is going. Or, I hope you read this and snuggle with your child or your dog or cat just a little longer than normal.
Please stop fighting with each other for a few minutes and think about what is really, really right.
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.”