Sandy Hook shooting is a sign of a culture in need of
What is there to say in the face of the unspeakable horror that visited Sandy Hook Elementary School? A lot of fingers have been pointed, and blame has being assigned: Gun-control laws should be stricter … the mentally ill need more help … video games shouldn’t be so violent … the media should ignore killers to deny them the posthumous infamy that seems to motivate mass murderers.
Few people are uttering the clearest reality — that darkness and evil exist, and that evil knows no limits. As a society, we don’t seem to want to acknowledge the existence of evil anymore. We try to explain it away as a lack of impulse control or chemical imbalance in the brain. We insist that with the right precautions in place, the right medicines administered, the right laws on the books, we can vanquish evil — and then we are freshly astonished when evil reappears, raging against our arrogance in thinking that man-made laws can contain it.
People are powerless against evil. We rely on God and His teachings to guide us and help us push back against the darkness. You can’t fight evil with laws, but you can fight it with God, faith and a selfless focus on others.
Even in the horror that unfolded, signs of God’s love shone through. Principal Dawn Hochsprung, upon hearing the sound of gunfire, charged toward the shooter in an attempt to stop him. School psychiatrist Mary Sherlach did the same. Their lives bought precious moments that teachers used to hide students in closets and storage rooms. Their sacrifice — their immediate concern for the children in their care — likely saved lives. Teacher Victoria Soto acted as a human shield for her students. A custodian ran through the hallways to warn others of danger. Officers raced to the school and toward danger to confront the killer, who shot himself before police reached him.
How did we get to the point where this kind of sacrifice was necessary in an elementary school?
Our culture has turned away from spirituality to its great detriment. While science is placed on a pedestal, open discussion of religion and faith is often denigrated — with the former equated with fact and the latter with superstition. Too many people act as though truth can be found only in what can be seen and observed, and that faith has nothing useful to say about modern life.
By searching for answers and meaning only in science and cold facts, and by ignoring our spiritual hunger for God and for meaning, we have created a comfortless world in which too many people seek salves in the material world while ignoring the spiritual underpinnings of happiness.
What defines us, as human beings? Christ taught that our purpose in life is to serve others. That’s one of the reasons I have enjoyed my career in franchising: It is a business model that, by definition, involves serving other people. I have taken great pleasure in helping franchisees to realize their dreams, and seeing them help their employees and their communities.
Christ also taught that we were all fallen, all sinners, and that we needed to forgive one another. He called for a radical humility that is often missing in today’s culture, an abandonment of pride in favor of caring.
There is no fix for evil on this side of the veil. Humanity will always retain its capacity for darkness as well as light. Culture does matter, though, in determining the amount of darkness or light that we experience, and it’s up to us to try to change our culture one heart at a time, by putting others before ourselves — asking what we can do to help, trying to walk Christ’s path, picking ourselves back up when we trip, and picking others up when we see them stumble.