Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sandy Hook school shooting. On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more.
Connecticut school shooting stuns the world.
However only days after twenty seven people including 20 elementary school children are murdered and a teary eyed response from the president the White House is waffling and side stepping a political solution. White House spokesman Jay Carney stated, "it's a complex problem that requires a complex solution." Apparently these complexities elluded the small island of Australia where strict gunlaws were enacted following a 1996 mass shooting. Australia reports it hasn't had a similar incident since.
I watched a city wide writing competition for middle schools recently. Prior to the awards announcements there was a talent show. One young kid sang Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father, there were a variety of other things and an audience participation on stage lip sync and dance of Gangnam Style. There was so much joy watching these children cheering, singing along acting silly and as I say, fulfilling part of their kids’ job description being carefree.
So as Luther’s lyrics waxed sentimental and nostalgic wishing for one more dance with father many of us teared up thinking about 20 sets of parents who will never dance with their children again.
A question, I heard in an interview about Sandy Hooks “what do we tell the children,” forced its way into my mind. We can tell them don’t worry pray and it will never happen to you, we live in a safe and predictable world, but these things are not true. I looked at my daughter, and her group on stage bumbling through a dance routine then her screaming “woohooo thank you… “ yada yada at the microphone and I thought; honey I hope that was fun. I hope everyday you rise you fend off the evil and negativity of this world living side by side with goodness and mercy and find something joyful in your day, because tomorrow is a gift not promised.
Bill Maher says…
Sorry but prayers and giving your kids hugs fix nothing; only having the balls to stand up to our insane selfish gun culture will. I couldn’t agree more with Bill Maher. In other words faith without works is missing the mark. Conviction without action is not conviction it is an idea and hot air. If these are real they produce… something.
Many of us say we believe this, but many of us have few convictions just ideas and hot air.
Is It Gun Culture or a Culture of Violence Flamed by Incivility, Insensitivity, and Intolerance?
Does gratuitous violence beget violence? A lot of us feed our appetite for many forms of violence constantly. Each individual has to judge the harm things like this do or don’t do, I guess.
One can read all over the I-net that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality so to the subconscious mind a movie killing is not perceived as fantasy. I do not know if that is true; however there is research to suggest that in the conscious mind the line between fantasy and reality can be very blurry. According to the work of Donald D. Hoffman, Ph. D., in computational psychology, Department of Cognitive Science University of California, Irvine, reality affirms fantasy and vice versa.
So it could be that the reality is that violence is violent and it only matters in degrees whether one see’s it across the street or on CSI or whether one is a victim of violence. It doesn’t matter if it is a racist, misogynistic or homophobic degrading joke, snide comment meant to damage someone’s ego, or the last straw body image comment or commercial that drives a young girl into anorexia.
Do you think a violent diet of living vicariously through media good and bad guys alike, enduring slights uncivil and intolerant behavior and language on a regular basis have a cumulative effect? I think I channeled Rush Limbaugh once. How much psychic damage does it take to push one over the edge? How much psychic damage does it take to push one community over the edge or a country over the edge?
Maybe this is what Jesus the sage was eluding to when he said if you create an act in your mind you have committed an act in your heart (he chose adultery to speak about). The one liberating thing about this maxim is that it must work both ways in the negative and the positive mustn’t it?
An idea making the rounds on the I-net attributed to Marianne Williamson, says,
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I used to roll my eyes at this but suppose most of us are willfully hot potato tossing the power and corresponding responsibility we have off on God by praying or by blaming the closest idiot? How many of us say that pray, “God send me,” and then get up and go?
Suppose it is true if we have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed we can move mountains? Gandhi did, Dr. King did. Dr. Paul Farmer did in Haiti. As great as these people were and are none of them did great things single handedly.
Amit Goswami a renowned theoretical nuclear physicist Professor Emeritus Oregon University and featured in the movie “What the Bleep do We Know?” theorizes that consciousness creates mind and matter, subject and object, which dovetail quite nicely with “mustard seed” faith.
It could be exactly what would happen when “the woman with an issue of blood” healed herself without permission or even asking a god or anyone. Her faith was not born in religion, she had no faith in doctors, she had already tested them as all faith should be tested, she had faith born out of desperation: a faith that caused her to focus on a solution that had no doctrine behind it, no orthodoxy just an idea and focused commitment to change her circumstance. How many of us have a focused commitment to change ourselves to change our world to change our circumstance?
So Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee proclaim the Connecticut Sandy Hook massacre, Columbine and other school and college related massacres happened because Gentleman Good God has been kicked out of the schools and doesn’t go where he isn’t wanted. I find myself not wanting to dignify their ideas held by many with any kind of comment or acknowledge that it was even said.
The “Kingdom of Potential” is with in us, not in the act of public prayer but into the single-minded action we embark upon when we hear ourselves pray and that is why everything that does not proceed from faith that does not proceed from conviction is missing the mark.
One definition of prayer is, a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. Let us worship life and life more abundantly and let the life be the light of all people. Let us walk in the life and the way that promotes abundant living and the truth that affirms a God whose definition is goodness and a universe that is sufficient.
I’m sorry Fischer and Huckabee choose to believe something so uninformed about the God they claim to know they are trying to make sense of the world too, just saying. I guess as the poor shall always be with us so shall the ignorant. In fact there are areas in which we are all ignorant and blind to what real is so let us mitigate damage as much as we can forgive and continue to press toward the mark not kick against the pricks.
We have such potential to change our world but we abdicate our responsibility though we know if everyone is not comfortable then we are thieves and leeches living at the expense of the poor. We hide our lack of action in words of outrage, and also in prayers and psalms as if in so speaking we’ve done our part. We point our fingers as if responsibility starts just beyond our reach.
When I hear an atheist quip, “thank you God for sparing the lives of 20 children in Connecticut… oh wait a minute, you didn’t, f*ck God,” I can understand the anger, though I was not angry I was deeply saddened by what happened in Connecticut; I can understand the question, if there is a just God then why? However I can’t understand the misdirected rage in the midst of such a tragedy.
I must ask that person and all of us of that spirit of complaint and condescension, where is your faith? Was that misdirect the best you can do that’s it?! Certainly your faith does not rest in your non-god but you must certainly believe in goodness fighting the good fight or you must be silent. You must have hope in light of a non-existent god that especially together with others you have power to change things or you should have no part in this public showing of pain, dismay, an healing.
You must certainly acknowledge that without God it is of the utmost importance to have faith in yourself and humanity that your positive mindset and doings must endure if darkness is ever to be conquered if darkness is not to overtake all.
Darkness will not just go away it is apart of our world with which we must deal. We must give our lives to fight it, if goodness is to triumph. If your dark side is to remain contained or better yet transformed, reborn.
I think if you are giving in to your dark side and self -righteousness, if you are putting some burden on others that you don’t accept you brother are a Pharisee; believe me you don’t need a god to be one. There is little difference between you and the religious person you hate and demean for being misguided, bigoted and myopic.
As misguided as you think religious people are, some of them lost their children Friday. You may as well grab a picket sign and join Washington Baptist church you are both on the same side, crucifying folks for believing what you feel is clearly wrong.
Coming up: Where do we go from here?
See on www.slate.com