It's violence like this that is becoming all too familiar in our world.
The media will cover this tragedy for weeks. It has, and will continue, to share stories of survival. Stories of loss and heartache. And the story of a killer. Because in the wake of such devastation, we want to know why. It is our nature as human beings. And while the media will do its best to get answers to the questions that weigh heavily on our minds, we will struggle to understand.
In the words of Erin Weed, "Perhaps the answer is too complicated for us to understand, or too simplistically human for us to accept."
We will make judgements about this killer (who I am choosing not to name). We will call him a monster, a murderer and a plethora of other names that cast him as something other than human. Because it's easier to think of him as something different than ourselves.
But, to quote Erin Weed again, "Take pause before casting violent people off the island of humanity. That is the exact moment we resign to ever understand their path and actions, forfeiting a valuable lesson in predicting future violence."
Though an investigation will do its best to discover why this unimaginable act took place, we may never know why this killer did what he did. We may not want to. Because what sense is there in killing innocent children? Innocent anyones? But we will learn from this. We will learn how to identify warning signs in others and ourselves, to talk to one another about our feelings, and to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. We will fight back against the violence that we as humans are using to destroy ourselves.
Because we cannot choose fear. For when we choose fear, evil wins.
I first read Fred Roger's (yep, THE Mr. Rogers) quote on Erin Weed's blog, and I heard it again on the radio, in reference to this tragedy in Newtown:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
If you look for evil in this world, you will undoubtedly find it. And if you look for the good - the helpers - you will most certainly find it. Always look for the good. And be a helper.
Here's how you can help. There will be blogger day of silence tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 18. Post this button to show your support for Newtown, Connecticut, and to help raise money for an organization called The Newtown Youth & Family Services that is helping the victims.
When we choose to be a helper and to see the good, that's when we will be able to stare evil in the face and win.