A National Tragedy and a Call to Prayer

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From AOL News Link

Authorities in Connecticut responded to a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning, the local NBC station reports.
Police reported 28 deaths, including 18 20  dead children and others wounded, according to the Associated Press.
Officials identified the gunman as  Ryan Adam Lanza, 20, according to CNN. Reports say that he carried four weapons, and wore black clothing as well as a bullet proof vest. He died on the scene.

Other sources at Fox News and ABC News report that the shooter's mother, a teacher at the school, is presumed dead. There are reports that the many children who were killed were students of his mother. Obviously, the details may change as more is discovered.

I am sick and saddened. I could barely drive home because of the tears in my eyes for the tragic, senseless death of these precious children. One of TWW's readers is an employee of the Newtown Public Schools. He, along with a score of others, have asked that we pray in this time of tragedy. 

A Prayer Link

Creator God, we come to you in confusion
Our minds argue with our hearts
And we are full of doubts and questions.
More than anything we need your blessed assurance
We ask that you be with the families who have lost children, relatives and friends in this horrific tragedy
We are your children, God, and we like things in neat, little packages.
This is supposed to be a time of the celebration of Christmas. 
Why this? Why now?
None of this makes sense to us, God
We invite you Holy Spirit to come and comfort all those in Newtown, CT
In the name of Jesus
Amen

Comments

A National Tragedy and a Call to Prayer — 259 Comments

  1. Praying.

    And let us never, ever forget that scenes like these are the unvarnished face of sin.

    It is why we need a Savior.

  2. A friend of mine shared this prayer on Facebook from
    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
    ____________________________________
    Rachel weeping … Jeremiah 31

    O Friend of little children, hear our prayer this day for all who are devastated by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    To Your merciful keeping we commit all who have died this day; for in You there is a life that death cannot destroy.

    To Your kind embrace we especially commend the parents and families of those children whose voices are now stilled; hold them in Your loving arms.

    Remember the injured and grant them, according to Your kind will, healing and restoration.

    Remember all who have been traumatized by what they witnessed, the students and the teachers and the staff, all whose world has been shattered; comfort them in the midst of tears.

    Remember the police and medical workers and all who seek to bring order after chaos; help them to serve in this dark hour with courage and wisdom and compassion.

    Remember the community of Newtown which will never be the same again; bring to it the peace that can come alone from You.

    O Mighty One, we know that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but that You have come that we might have life and have it abundantly. Help your Church at this time to shine the light of Your compassion and truth into the darkness and despair. Help Your people to proclaim, even with tears, that hatred and death will not be the end of this world; for You will come to bring a Kingdom of light and joy and peace. Make us witnesses to this great hope and in the certainty of Your kingdom’s triumph to bind the wounds of this world with tenderness and care. We ask it in Your name, who knew in Your own flesh unreasoned violence and hatred, and whose Love has triumphed over all.

    Amen.

    _________________________________

  3. A senseless and tragic event. My thoughts and heart felt sorry go out to those involved. May they find solace wherever they can. – Karl

  4. We have had a similar tragedy here and this was written in memory of it. My prayers are with you all.

    Long ago, Dunblane’s innocence reigned,
    While children’s trusting souls remained
    To freely speak, and laugh or play
    Without a worry for the day.

    Children walked to school – alone or paired,
    And never thought of being scared.
    Each sat in class with a trusting heart,
    Waiting for their dreams to start.

    Yet all it took was an evil mind
    To destroy the innocence of mankind,
    By taking away sweet Angels’ dreams,
    And replacing them with silent screams.

    Innocence surrendered – shrouded by Death,
    As children drew their final breath.
    The Teacher cried out from horror dark
    When Death grinned, and found its mark.

    The world grew silent, except for cries
    From innocent Angels spare their lives.
    Mankind must unite, and innocence FEEL;
    Only then can our World finally heal.

    In sorrow
    Gavin

  5. Such a senseless and evil thing. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and community in Newtown.

  6. My niece teaches in Connecticut and she was, of course, my first thought. But it is so tragic no matter where it happens. It just is unfathomable. I teach two-year-olds in a not so good neighborhood, and sometimes I pray that God would give me strength and wisdom if something tragic were to happen. So wrong that we have to even think this way!

  7. We have become so self-absorbed that if the world doesn’t go the way we want it to our only response is anger and vitriol and if we still don’t like it, we’ll just check out and take other people with us and make other peoples’ lives miserable as well because we just couldn’t care less about others either. Life is cheap.

  8. Learned about this upon waking up this morning. May God be with the people of Newtown, and keep them from despair.

  9. A great-aunt of mine was a kindergarten teacher for upwards of 30 years. As much as my heart breaks for those babies, it does as much for the teachers in the midst of that horrific scene.

    My heart, and prayers, go out to everybody there. Everybody. Especially the families but also for the entire community.

    How can anybody murder children???

  10. My prayer is that the babies murdered today knew only a moment of fear, confusion, and pain before they were in the arms of their Loving Shepherd; that unspeakable Comfort will be with the parents, siblings, grandparents,other family, friends,neighbors, and teachers in their unspeakable grief. Especially, oh, Dear Lord, the parents. That we all remember as we grieve together to love each other.

  11. Sorry, Huckabee, but “removing God” from schools doesn’t have a thing to do with it. For instance: Back in 1927, when Bible reading and prayer were typically part of the school day, a man bombed a school in Bath, Michigan, killing 38 children and seven adults.

    I’m just heartsick for the people of Newton. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. Lord, have mercy.

  12. Eagle,

    I saw Piper’s response too. Thought it was nice compared to some of the other things I am seeing on Facebook. So many twisting sorrow into guilt trips (“why do we grieve about this and shrug our shoulders at all the babies being aborted” kind of thing), or turning it into an anti-gun control saopbox. One guy even said these children being shot to death was not as bad as them going to “government schools” the rest of their childhoods where they would be taught to rebel against God and end up in hell…

    Really, I wish people would just let sorrow be sorrow and not try to brush it aside or use it to manipulate. :-( The news report had me so heavy-hearted already before I saw what some Christians had to say about it. Wish more Christians were like the ones on here.

  13. It is such a sad, horrible event. I pray that comfort will come to those who have had such terrible loss today. There is really no way to make sense of any of it. May God have mercy on everyone involved.

    I’m glad Piper was able to say something without tearing people down, but he really didn’t need to say anything except he is praying. Why does he think he always needs to be one of the first to instruct people as to what they need to think or believe about a tragedy? He even felt the need to link to other posts he wrote about other tragedies. I don’t get it.

  14. Fendrel/Pam/Meg,

    I am seeing a lot of people on Facebook reacting like that. There’s this thing people keep sharing: “God, why do you allow shootings to happen in schools?” and God’s reply is “Because I’m not allowed in schools.” Or something like that. I used to think this was very clever and now I just feel very skeptical about it. As if bullying and violence never happened in schools when prayer was allowed/required. As if it’s a good idea to speak for God and declare his reasons for everything that happens. They make God sound so sulky and passive-aggressive when they say stuff like this. Maybe God wants to know why WE allow this kind of stuff to happen… just a thought…

  15. This did not happen because we took some plaques with the 10C off school walls. It is normal for everyone to try and find some reason or something to blame so we can “fix” it. I forsee the day that we will have magnatrons at every school. If that is what it takes to protect the precious ones, we should do it. I know a school administrator who conceals and carries but that is not well known. Some will think that horrible. He was a student at a school where this sort of thing happened 20 years ago. He takes it that seriously.

    As to the Christian celebs weighing in, I am with Bridget:

    “Why does he think he always needs to be one of the first to instruct people as to what they need to think or believe about a tragedy? He even felt the need to link to other posts he wrote about other tragedies. I don’t get it.”

    Because he is a guru and guru’s musts give us ignorant plebes the answers.

  16. We stand with you in grieving

    he horror happens:
    The massacre of children
    And a stunned world’s frozen tears
    Fall to the ground.

    The ground remembers
    The blood of Abel,
    The merciless wars
    The bones of the starved and forgotten
    The ground remembers
    And weeps with us.

    Scream against the wind!
    The unconscionable has happened
    Again!
    How long oh Lord?

    And the mothers of Bethlehem share our tears
    As we wait for the One Child
    Who will undo the night
    When death shall be no more.

    How long oh Lord?

  17. looking,

    Here is another *$#^ saying it happened because we can’t pray in schools..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/15/bryan-fischer-god-did-not-protect-connecticut-shooting-victims-prayer-banned_n_2303903.html

    Here’s a question, so even though parents of these children might be Christian, even though they go to church on Sundays and bible study during the week, even though they say grace at family means and the kids prayed each night before going to bed, even though everyone in the household loved Jesus are you seriously telling me that God refused to protect innocent children because some politician back in the 70’s decided that religion belongs in church and not in schools?

    Are you **$&% kidding me?

  18. I saw what Huckabee said. I was impressed with him at one time for his attitude on education, but these remarks are so ignorant and shocking, the man is an ordained minister. Could he be thinking of running for office again and trying to impress his socalled “base”? Other sad people who believe such things as God sends natural disasters and blame gays, etc. God would not do such a thing, if so why us? why not other countries? Actions have consequences and we do these things to ourselves.

  19. I so pray for the families of the victims, the horror they are enduring must be unimaginable. Despite my faith, there are times like this where these words from Psalm 44 come to mind:

    Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
    Awake, do not cast us off for ever!
    Why do you hide your face?
    Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
    For we sink down to the dust;
    our bodies cling to the ground.
    Rise up, come to our help.
    Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

  20. Piper says that this is a warning to us that our souls are depraved. Translation: human beings aren’t worth very much. That is the conclusion of this doctrine. He says murder is wrong because it destroys, not people, but God’s image.

    Translation: humans are only worth anything insofar as they reflect God. Human “goodness” is really just God’s goodness.

    Translation: humans themselves aren’t worth much. Calvinism couldn’t care less that the PEOPLE died.

    I found Piper’s post an exercise in rank hideousness.

  21. We are praying for all the victims and their families. We are
    praying that this tragedy will change millons of hearts and attitudes.
    We also praying for everyone that lives in Newtown,Connecticut.

  22. Nicholas,

    On the contrary, this is the BEST time and place to declare that God loves people. That these children are in heaven with Him, and it is THEM that he loves. He declares that it is early, that this was NOT His plan; but He is ready. He is ready and they are with Him and will be for eternity because He loves them and everyone. He created them to live, and not to die. And live they are, with Him, in heaven. Now, laughing, at peace, forevermore.

    I’m not ranting about doctrine. I’m explaining that in order for us as Christians to offer hope we have to offer it! And appealing to the killing of 28 innocent people as a divine example of the doctrine of depravity amounts to nothing of comfort and hope. It points to the worst Christian trend imaginable in a time like this.

    Nicholas, why are you angry with me?

  23. Hanni

    I heard him backtracking a little while ago but I still disagreed with him (I went to a fundraiser for his and supported him at one time as well-*sigh*). I plan to write an analysis on Monday about him and others who said we just need the "gospel" in Newtown.

  24. ” Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
    Safe and secure with their heavenly father. May the comfort and peace of God uphold the broken hearted families left on earth.

  25. Argo – I feel as Nicholas does (in his 1st comment to you). I’m still reeling from the horror of this massacre of the innocents, and am just not able to think about things like “the doctrine of depravity,” let alone discuss.

    Please… another time and place, maybe?

  26. Huckabee asked, “Should we be so surprised….?” I felt physically ill when I read his callous, thoughtless comments. How can Huckabee be so desensitized that he isn’t shocked by a school massacre in which 20 little children and six school staff were murdered? This is a blame-the-victims response. Because we took God out of public schools, we shouldn’t be surprised that Sandy Hook Elementary became a place of carnage? Sandy Hook didn’t become the site of a mass murder because they didn’t pray there. It became a place of carnage because a 20-year old man, who presumably had a mental disorder and/or personality disorder, was able to obtain a slew of guns.

  27. Numo,

    I did not bring up TD out of the blue. I was responding to a link that Eagle posted. I generally read the links…I like to comment on them because they are often very good.

    Nicholas,
    I am very sorry for coming on too strong perhaps in our discourse. Forgive me for lacking a more compassionate means of communicating with you. Gentleness does go a long way in getting our points across… you are right about that.

  28. “This is a blame-the-victims response. Because we took God out of public schools, we shouldn’t be surprised that Sandy Hook Elementary became a place of carnage? Sandy Hook didn’t become the site of a mass murder because they didn’t pray there.”

    I saw some of the image of God in the reports. There was the 6 year old boy that took some of his friends a fled with them while his teacher was being shot. There was the teacher who locked the children in the bathroom stacking them on top of toilets to fit. There was the custodian risking his life to warn them all…..I could go on and on.

    ” It became a place of carnage because a 20-year old man, who presumably had a mental disorder and/or personality disorder, was able to obtain a slew of guns.”

    We always assume it is some mental disorder instead of just raw evil because he was angry and hateful. The guards who led millions to their death went home and had dinner with their families the same night. Mental disorder?

    Anyone who wants to bad enough can get a gun or even make a homemade bomb to kill many.

  29. Anon 1,

    I agree that there were images of God in the reports and that His hand of protection was on many in the school yesterday. For Huckabee to blame the victims by saying that we’ve taken God out of public schools and shouldn’t be surprised by the “carnage” is heartless.

    There are several reports from neighbors, friends, and family that suggest the shooter had a mental disorder or personality disorder, which is why I used the word presumably. There is still so much that isn’t known. A neighbor and family friend who was interviewed said his mother collected guns. The ones he used to murder, the ones found inside the school, and the rifle found in her car were all registered to her. The unfortunate thing with guns, whether mentally ill or raw evil, is the easy access and quick, efficient murder.

    The research shows that mass murderers in their 20’s are often mentally unstable. Mental illness often shows up in late adolescence and early adulthood. Older perpetrators in their 30’s and 40’s are usually raging and seeking revenge. Regardless of the circumstances in this case, I’m not willing to accept that there is nothing that can be done because it’s going to happen anyway.

  30. Quote and link to interesting article from the Christian Post Blog about a study that links being bullied to becoming a mass murderer.

    School shooter, 16-year-old Luke Woodham, wrote in his journal before murdering two students and injuring seven others: “I am not insane. I am angry. I am not spoiled or lazy.… I killed because people like me are mistreated every day.… I am malicious because I am miserable.”

    http://blogs.christianpost.com/protectors/bullying-school-shootings-the-potential-for-redemption-13619/

    What are we going to do if some the people in churches being bullied by pastors and others start doing the same thing? Maybe it’s not if but when.

  31. I have crying and praying for this community since this happened. I wish there was more I could do.

  32. I am so hurt and frustrated that Christians, including Huckabee, are blaming the victims of this school massacre on God being taken out of the public sphere. Ugh.

    Huckabee said we don’t have a gun problem or a crime problem; we’ve got a sin problem. Before he starts pointing fingers at public schools for their “sin”, he should start looking at all the sin and abuse in our churches. Is he “surprised” by THAT?

  33. “Regardless of the circumstances in this case, I’m not willing to accept that there is nothing that can be done because it’s going to happen anyway.”

    I never said there was nothing to be done. Earlier I said I would not have a problem with magnatrons in every single school if that is what it takes. Bullet proof glass, too.I don’t care if it cost billions. Every child is too precious and deserves to be safe at school, for goodness sake.

    Switzerland is full of citzens with guns very easy to get so why is there not more of this? (In fact, during WW2, that was a big reason the Nazi’s did not invade, a ground war would have been a massacre because Switzerland’s citizens were armed in almost every home)

  34. Outlaw guns, period. It may not completely solve the problem of crime, but it certainly will improve the situation. The US currently has almost twice the per capita gun ownership of the next closest country.

    I don’t care if the constitution gives you the right to own guns, why in the world wouldn’t you voluntarily give up that right to help protect innocent children. Want to collect something, try stamps.

  35. OK, I heard Huckabee when he made his statements.

    He didn’t exactly say what he is purported to be saying.

    I disagree with him myself about the whole school prayer/ten commandments thing because not all students are Christians.

    BUT–he is spot on as to the root cause of this tragedy. IT IS SIN.

    And as to how and why we have this outpouring of violence and hate in this country? Truthfully, it IS because we are not living by the precepts God laid down. We HAVE devalued life. We DON’T care if preborn children are killed, just about the post born.

    We DO fill our minds with dreck and filth and violence. We ARE incredibly selfish and prone to lash out. We DON’T provide adequate treatment for mental illness.

    In our vaunted human wisdom we have declared everyone and everything they do as good–God don’t make no junk, we tell ourselves. So anything goes.

    And sadly, some demented and/or simply mean people see themselves and all they do as good and go out and kill innocents.

    And then we wonder why, where was God, why didn’t He stop this?

    Why don’t we might be a better question.

  36. There are other countries with virtually no gun violence because average citizens don’t have guns. Therefore, someone who wants to go on a murder spree has less access to that type of weapon. I know, I know, they can always bomb the school or set the whole school on fire or attack kids with knives. But with more restrictions and regulations on gun ownership, there would be one less weapon with such enormously easy access and little planning to mass murder.

    I grew up with guns. My dad’s gun cabinet was stocked full of guns and ammo, and there were unlocked guns in other places in the house. They could have easily gotten into the wrong hands. Why in the world should one man (my dad) be able to own that many guns? Why can an anonymous person like the Aurora, CO movie theatre shooter order numerous weapons and ammunition and have them delivered to his home and his university?

    We can’t prevent every tragedy, but there are things we can do. I agree that our schools should have bullet-proof glass and metal detectors and as much security as possible. The public also needs to educated about mental illness, personality disorders, threats, and veiled threats. When friends and family are interviewed after a mass killing, law enforcement often discovers that the perpetrator had made threats or veiled threats that weren’t taken seriously.

  37. Linda:

    Your comment sounds very much like Huckabees. Not sure it helps the current situation IMO.

  38. Wendy – we could start by reinstating the ban on assault weapons (automatics and semis). They are meant for one thing only: killing other human beings.

    I, too, grew up (and am now living in) an area where many people hunt, and yet, gun violence here is rare. *however,* if guns owned by people who use them responsibly get into the wrong hands, then…

    An Aussie who comments on one of my friends’ blogs said that the Australian government bought guns back from its citizens after a mass murder of this kind. Sounds like a good plan, if only people here would accept it.

  39. Numo,

    Totally agree. Why can average citizens own automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons? I like what the Australian government did and wish U.S. citizens would embrace the idea too.

  40. Linda,

    Huckabee is Fox New’s Religious Right Superstar. He made both of these comments on Fox News.

    Yesterday after the Newtown, CT school shooting:

    “We ask why there’s violence in our schools but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage?

    In July after the Aurora, CO theatre shooting:

    “We don’t have a crime problem, or a gun problem, or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools and communities, the military and public conversations…we really shouldn’t act so surprised when all hell breaks loose.”

    So, basically, we shouldn’t act so surprised. He repeated this again yesterday. Let’s just move on with our day. Nothing to see here.

  41. Wendy:

    You said:”So, basically, we shouldn’t act so surprised. He repeated this again yesterday. Let’s just move on with our day. Nothing to see here.”

    I agree he is performing as expected for Fox News–how disingenuous of him. IMO his comments hurt and do not help.

  42. Mot,

    I can’t imagine being a parent of one of the slain children and hearing Huckabee’s cruel comments. I read that the Newtown community has higher than average church attendance. I bet there were many parents, teachers, and children who prayed and loved Jesus. He didn’t leave their hearts just because they were in a “secular” building. And the shooter didn’t murder these innocents because God was systematically removed from our schools.

  43. Wisdomchaser,

    Er…wow. Profound quote you cited. That is one to ponder. I am just not sure what to think about that.

  44. Wisdomchaser – re. my previous response to you, I meant to say that I have been crying and praying, too.

  45. Wendy:

    You said to me:”Mot,

    I can’t imagine being a parent of one of the slain children and hearing Huckabee’s cruel comments. I read that the Newtown community has higher than average church attendance. I bet there were many parents, teachers, and children who prayed and loved Jesus. He didn’t leave their hearts just because they were in a “secular” building. And the shooter didn’t murder these innocents because God was systematically removed from our schools.”

    What I can not understand is how the Huckabees and Linda’s of the world think they bring to this horrible sufferings that so many people are going through. There is a time to not try to answer age old questions and IMO this is certainly one of them. In other quit the blame game that so many want to play and yes it is a game.

  46. Australia banned semi-automatic weapons back in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre. There were some complaints and opposition, but it was very successful. I think it would be more difficult to do in the USA because of the very different attitude towards guns.
    That attitude difference is also why I can look at linda’s list, say yep, that all applies in very similar ways in Australia, and yet we don’t have the same violence.

  47. President Obama, is a second term president with 4 years left to serve. If what he does is good for the country, and he has to alienate the NRA and a large percentage of gun owners, at least he doesn’t need to be concerned with reelection.

    Want to be remembered, want to leave a legacy of compassion and doing the right thing, then ban guns period. If he acts quickly, it will be difficult to voice objection without seeming like a monster.

  48. Names of the school victims were just released.

    Age 6 – 16 victims
    Age 7 – 4 victims

    Ages of adults – 29, 47, 52, 30, 56, 27

  49. If this tragedy is from a lack of religion and prayer in schools, then please explain why priests, steeped in Christianity are so fond of abusing young children?

  50. Mike Huckabee … tragedy in Ct. happened because we removed God from our schools… — Fendrel

    Surprised Huckabee was first to shoot his mouth off. Usually it’s Pat Robertson, and John Piper has been trying to out-do Pat the last year or two.

  51. And within minutes the Gun Control Kyle’s Moms were coming out of the woodwork. “WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE OUR AGENDA!”

    Like Huckabee, like Activists everywhere, 27 dead is nothing more than an Opportunity to Advance Our Agenda.

  52. Sorry, HUG, have to disagree on the ‘agenda’ line. We banned semiautomatics after a mass shooting here, and it was an excellent decision. It seems to be a depressing fact of life in the USA that nobody talks about guns until big incidents happen, and then the’re told it ‘isn’t the right time’. It makes me wonder when the right time will come.

  53. I wasn’t going to make any comments on this at this sad time, but it seems others already have. Firstly, my heart goes out to the whole US for this tragedy and other recent ones.

    Secondly, trying to score religious or political points at this time is reprehensible.

    Thirdly (and I’m making this just as a thought, not I hope a political point!), I agree with the poster who suggested tightening control of semi- and fully-automatic weapons. I don’t have a problem with guns per se if owned by sane people above a certain age of responsibility, who can keep them secured. Contrary to what many people probably think, in Britain we do have guns – some police units use them without hesitation if life is threatened. And private citizens can own guns. However the checks are very stringent, and even getting “done” for another offence such as drink-driving can get your gun licence revoked.

    I hope nobody is offended by this post – it is just a thought, from an outsider.

  54. Kolya,

    Thanks for the information. Always good to learn more.

    I don’t think discussing the related issues and possible solutions is inappropriate, but I do think using the tragedy for political gain is reprehensible, as you said.

  55. Fendrel, this isn’t the time or the place for political grandstanding. Now you are not so different from Huckabee.

    Banning guns will leave families defenseless from criminals who break into houses armed with guns, knives, machetes, or pitchforks (real case). I bet you didn’t think about that did you? A man broke into a house with a pitchfork and massacred an entire family.

    It seems like atheists and leftists only care about the Constitution when the believe that it’s on their side.

    Wade Burleson just wrote an excellent blog post against those who would use this tragedy to get on their high horse: http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/12/gun-control-and-tragedy-at-sandy-hook.html

  56. Nicholas,

    first it isn’t political grandstanding, I am not running for office, nor do I have anything to gain. These conversations absolutely need to had and the issues discussed and unfortunately the only time people truly listen is in the wake of a tragedy.

    Do you have any idea how small the number of times a gun is used in self-defense by a citizen is in compared to how many thousands of accidental deaths there are each year?

  57. I am a mother of four young children, one of whom is a 6-year old kindergartener. Three of my children are the ages of children at Sandy Hook Elementary. My heart is broken for all the parents, friends, and families mourning tonight. I mourn with them.

    Fendrel and others here aren’t trying to advance an agenda. We are looking for answers to this unspeakable tragedy. Accusing caring folks of political grandstanding is itself politicizing the tragedy. It’s an attempt to shut down meaningful dialogue about gun regulations and how to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

  58. Wendy,

    Thank you very much. I also raised three children (grown and gone), but I grew up in Connecticut, not that far from Newton. Believe me when I say I share their pain.

    If I thought I could do any good I would be on a plane back home, but there are so many people there to help, I would just be in the way.

    You are absolutely correct, we need to discuss these issues, I wish Dee would maybe put up an article on gun control or a general public policy post, maybe she will.

    I went to Panara’s today for a coffee, it was sad that I did not hear one conversation or relevant discussion at the tables around me. We are so quick to try and bury that which is uncomfortable to us. We need to have serious, in depth dialog on these issues.

  59. Nicholas,

    Several years ago we had friends – a family of five – murdered in their home by their own guns. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2008 which revealed that people who keep a gun in their home are twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide than those who do not live in a home with a gun. That risk is greater for women, who are three times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide than men. The risk of suicide by gun is 17 times greater.

  60. We always assume it is some mental illness disorder instead of just raw evil because he was angry and hateful”

    Exactly….

    I see these people as obvious psychopaths. It starts out when they are kids and then as they get older, they just take it to a whole other level.For a lot of people it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who don’t have a conscience.But once you’ve been around these people enough and have delt with them on a very personal level, you see evil, not mental illness.

  61. Stormy,

    I think that what you describe as “evil” is in fact mental illness. Why do you make that distinction?

  62. Fenrel, Mental illness is when someone has an obvious disease that they can’t help. Evil is not a mental illness that someone chooses to do. Mental illness is a card that people play because they have no understanding of the facts involved. It really just gives the person who has “mental illness” a free pass and it degrades the victims.

  63. I would argue that anyone who goes on a killing rampage, by definition is not mentally well.

  64. Whether or not the murderer had any mental or emotional problems, he was evil, as are all other murderers and mass murderers.

    People comfort themselves by considering mass murderers as “sick” or “disturbed” rather than evil. People today flinch at the word “evil” and only want to use it for the worst cases like Hitler.

  65. Fendrel – You might not have heard any conversations about the murders, but that does not mean that the people in the restaurant were unfeeling.

    Everyone grieves in their own way. And it’s just not possible to talk constantly about a tragedy, whether personal or national.

    Other than that, I completely agree on gun control.

    but I’m still too upset to want to say much about any of it.

  66. Here’s Doug Wilson’s response:

    http://www.dougwils.com/Church-Year/and-slew-the-little-childer.html

    It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it’s still pretty meh:

    1) He says we need to make sure we point to the gospel when addressing the tragedy (how predictable – GOSPEL GOSPEL GOSPEL)
    2) There’s some oddball theology about “bloodguilt” near the end of the piece.
    3) Talking about abortion: “I am talking about the millions of us who have occasioned it, paid for it, obtained it, provided it, and funded it.” My issue is with “funded.” Is he calling anyone who paid money to an insurance company that covered abortions a murderer (or at least an accomplice)?
    4) As usual, as in every Wilson article I’ve never read, there’s that one sentence that just makes no sense whatsoever no matter how long and hard you look at it: “We have monsters in our midst, and vapidity in our highest council chambers, not to mention the monsters there too, and all of them want to slouch toward Bethlehem. God have mercy.”

  67. Nicholas,

    “Whether or not the murderer had any mental or emotional problems, he was evil, as are all other murderers and mass murderers.

    People comfort themselves by considering mass murderers as “sick” or “disturbed” rather than evil. People today flinch at the word “evil” and only want to use it for the worst cases like Hitler.”

    I suspect this is because christian culture (religion in general) is prone to simplifying everything down into good versus evil, black / white — and pigeonholing everyone and everything into broad categories of right / wrong, good / bad. There is no room for complexity, or for intelligent understanding. At the same time, there is plenty of room for rationalizing shades of gray into white or black, according to what is exepdient and convenient.

    Evil / good is reality from a bird’s eye view.

  68. “slouch towards Bethlehem” would be a reference to Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”, which talks about a new age being ushered in 2,000 years after Christ. From memory (we’re about to go out) it says “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    But it still doesn’t make much sense!

  69. @ Looking for You:

    You mentioned (maybe on another thread?) that someone on your FB had claimed it was better for the children to be shot than for them to grow up going to public school. Am I hearing you right? If so, then Reconstructionism deserves nothing but public scorn and contempt. No theology that makes a method of schooling a greater sin than gunning down 20 children in cold blood is respectable, godly, admirable, or frankly even worth anybody’s time (no matter how faux-intellectual its proponents are). I don’t care how many inches thick their books are, how many they wrote, how big the words in them are, or that the authors were lawyers and economists. You can pour gravy over crap and put it under glass and call it pheasant, but underneath it all, it’s still just BS. I’m done.

    Would it be completely out of line for me to ask for the verbatim quote from that guy’s FB? It would be nice to have hard proof of their real priorities from their own mouths.

  70. @ Lynne:

    Ah…poetry. That would be why I didn’t know. I never did get into poetry much. But you’re right, it still doesn’t do much to clarify Wilson’s meaning.

  71. @ Elastigirl:

    Also, Christian “bubble” culture has wasted the word “evil” on so many little things (backbeats, Barbie dolls, two-piece swimsuits, etc.) that they can no longer bring themselves to use it when confronted with the real thing (if they can even recognize the real thing in the first place).

    For example, I know a woman who wouldn’t let her children watch I Am Legend because the zombies were too scary. (They were teenagers, not little kids.) But if Christian children are being trained to hide from fictional zombies because they just can’t cope with how “scary” they are, what do we expect them to do if they find themselves in a situation like the one at Newtown? What if they were a teacher and the only line of defense between a crazed shooter and a class of innocent children? The movie zombies can’t hurt you. The real evil in front of you can.

  72. Addendum @ Looking for You:

    Yes, here it is – upthread on this page.

    “One guy even said these children being shot to death was not as bad as them going to ‘government schools’ the rest of their childhoods where they would be taught to rebel against God and end up in hell…”

  73. Hester —

    yeah, maybe that’s it. The purveyors, the assumed owners of the word evil have drained it of all meaning. Like the boy who cried wolf. People just ignore it now.

  74. So when a gunman shoots up a church and kills a bunch of people (which has happened) do we say it is because God and prayer are not there? Or how about the Amish school shooting a while back? Not religious enough? Come on, Huckabee!

    My dear neighbor is a kindergarten teacher at our neighborhood public school. She is in shock. She loves Jesus and loves her students. She is lighting candles, playing inspirational music and cleaning house like crazy just to cope. She thanked me profusely for taking the time to talk with her about it today. It was the best I could do other than cry. No platitudes from me. My teenage son kept asking why God would allow this. All I could say was, “I have NO idea!”

  75. I still remember being called a whore, when after almost 20 years of home schooling 10 kids, I put a teenager in public school. The anonymous blog commenter claimed that God is not in public schools and anyone associated with them is ungodly. I asked why he/she thought this way – was there a story behind the hostility? And I reminded him/her that when a Christian walks into a public school (student or employee) the indwelling God goes in with them. Therefore God IS in the public schools! :-). Silly rules can’t keep him away!

  76. Virginia’s illustration show very clearly how “evil” has been drained of meaning by religion.

  77. I cried hard tonight when the news started listing the names of the children and adults that were killed. I have absolutely NO idea how the parents/family hold up during a time like this. Kyrie, eleison!

  78. Max Lucado just gave a beautiful interview on Huckabee. He was compassionate and real.

    If you can catch Huckabee when they replay the show, it is worth it.

    I want to go to Conn with a huge sign that says: Your children are in heaven.

    This is so sad, there aren’t words. How do you tell the siblings that brother or sister are never coming home?

    As a father of two little ones, I can’t imagine having to do that.

  79. Oh yes, if public school is evil, then it serves them right for being there? And the real evil is shuffled.

    BTW, I have great sympathy for families affected by mental illness, as it appears this family was. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. Come, Lord Jesus!

  80. “Also, Christian “bubble” culture has wasted the word “evil” on so many little things (backbeats, Barbie dolls, two-piece swimsuits, etc.) that they can no longer bring themselves to use it when confronted with the real thing (if they can even recognize the real thing in the first place).”

    Hester, this is an amazing quote. Very insightful and well stated.

  81. It’s a natural human response to want to know why this happened, to assign blame….how can it be otherwise?
    Everyone has an idea or theory as to the whys and what “must” be done to stop any future assaults of this type.There is no, one size fits all, solution.
    How much do mental health issues factor in, or are more restrictions on weapons the answer? How about the enormous public recognition/fame (in a perverse way) these mass murderers receive….does that feed their decisions to kill? How do we stop the the media from the non stop sensationalist coverage of these horror killings?
    I don’t have any one answer that can fix what is wrong with these young men who kill. Honestly, I don’t think anyone does. I do however want to be charitable to all who are trying to identify what is so wrong in these young people’s lives, in our society, family, community that is contributing to these horrific acts of violence.
    I appreciate everyone who has posted their thoughts attempting to identify what causes this behavior. There is no one “right” position, other then horror at what happened to those children.

  82. Hester, I saw that. I think things could go very badly for them if they go through with it. Picketing six year olds’ funerals is just evil (obviously picketing any funeral is evil) and I really wouldn’t be surprised if people set upon them. I’m not sure the police would feel all that willing to protect them, either.
    Don’t get me wrong, as much as I think Phelps and his clan are abominable, I don’t want their hateful presence to cause more violence and anguish – even if they were the only ones on the receiving end. But when they decide to picket innocent murdered children, I don’t see how they can any more claim that their god (I don’t think it’s the Christian God) has anything but hate in his heart.

  83. “I have great sympathy for families affected by mental illness, as it appears, this family was.”

    So the shooter didn’t have a choice in what he did? He was forced to do this because he was “mentally ill.?”

  84. Stormy,

    Actually none of us has a choice in anything we do, but that’s besides the point since the gunman killed himself. All that matters now is trying to help and support the families closest to this tragedy, and that includes the gunman’s family.

  85. I did see that the Westboro cult is planning on picketing… I know there is a call for people to go and build a human wall around the funerals of the victims, to protect them from those hateful, hateful people.

    They make me sick. To even *think* about spreading their message of hate at the funerals of CHILDREN… I mean, there are not enough words to describe how despicable that is!!!

  86. Federal, all I can do is shake my head to your comment. You make choices everyday. What you eat,wear,etc. Really??

  87. http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

    You may have to try more than once because this site is very, very busy. If this was already linked I am sorry. I haven’t read the post since I got up this morning.

    It’s time to fix the mental health system. It’s time for those of us who are Christians to stop talking nonsense and start being the light and salt Jesus wants us to be. O yeah, I can’t believe Westboro. These guys are the children of their real father – Satan.

  88. Fendrel,

    Whether scientific determinism or theological, determinism is false. Two things you cannot get around: the first is that determinism ironically concedes that it is the cause that creates the effect. Thus, by definition nothing is determined because nothing exists until it is manifest by the cause. So whether the future is utterly predictable is irrelevant. Determinism cannot be true without conceding cause and effect relationship, which can then logically be knowable by one who is self aware, and since cause and effect is conceded, determinism is false. Determinism is only true if you accept that an effect is set, even though the cause may not exist. This is a logical impossibility. If determinism is true, then there are no causes, only effects, which again is impossible because there can be no first cause, by definition. Which, again is impossible.

    The second problem with determinism is that, by its own logic, the very thoughts in your head are mere determined events (absent a cause). This makes it impossible for you to know anything at all, including your belief in determinism or lack of choice. There is no thing you can claim as truth because truth requires you to be able to abstract; which you cannot do, because each and every thought in your mind is a singularly, unconnected predetermined event. So again, your belief in determinism is false because there is no way you could know it even if it were true.

    If we concede cause and effect of any kind, we must concede that the very recognition of this means that these laws of cause and effect can be manipulated by a consciousness that grasps them in order to effect outcomes that would otherwise not exist.

    You are mistaken. Without free choice, you cannot possibly exist. And if you did, you wouldn’t be aware of it. You wouldn’t know anything at all. You would have no self awareness.

    Determinism is the utter undoing of both atheism and Calvinism. They are presented as infallible arguments, but what they really do is appeal to nonsense as a foundation for the philosophies.

  89. Briefly, any given “thought” that occurs is the result of an electrical impulse in your brain and while any given “thought” may induce the firing of more impulses and thus create a chain of thoughts as it were, you cannot control the electrical impulses…they are the cause of your thoughts…you cannot have a thought in a vacuum, hence what you perceive as a “choice” is just that “perception”, you have no control over what thoughts will occur and hence over what actions you perform.

    There is no point at which you can experience a “thought” unless the impulse for that thought has already occurred…a decision is nothing more than a thought, hence even though we perceive it as a “choice” in fact the impulse has already fired and you had no control over it firing.

  90. I apologize. I should not have said nonsense. That sounds antagonistic. I should have said something like contradiction or dissonance. Forgive me.

  91. For those of you who were briefly encouraged by John Piper’s initial online reaction, you can now return to your normal face-palm position, as he is promoting Doug Wilson’s Reconstructionist response through his Twitter feed.

  92. Fendrel

    if my other post goes through my electrical impulses were being sarcastic.

    What do you believe about God and the Bible?

  93. Right,
    Your argument is scientific determinism. Thus you concede that you cannot know anything. Because every thought is a singular event. So, by your own definition you cannot know anything at all. Your own consciousness is a mere illusion. Everything you do does, in fact, exist in a vacuum because cause and effect cannot be seen because every thought you have can only ever be perceived in the present. There is no past nor future for you to know because it cannot exist according to your theory. Past and future, the stringing together of this or that is something you cannot grasp if every “thought” is merely a firing of electrical impulse, because that firing is always a function of the NOW. Once it is in the past, it ceases, functionally, to exist. It isn’t there for you to be aware of because awareness is limited, again, strictly to the now.

    For you to believe in determinism you must accept something which you cannot possibly know by your own definitions.

    If you concede that you can in fact grasp cause and effect in a linear time frame where the past is real and the future predictable, then you proclaim that you have a conscience. If that is true then your reality consists not only the cause and effect laws that existence demands, but also your acknowledged and obvious ability to affect your reality by manipulating the laws…which clearly you accept, because you claim to have knowledge and truth.

    Scientific determinism is untenable because it fuses consciousness with “inevitable” natural law. In doing that, it destroys the ability for man to know anything; and this renders the whole belief system both redundant and impossible.

  94. That Bad Dog – :(

    It is beyond me why they believe that forcing Christianity on the world will be fruitful. Jesus didn’t appear to force anyone into anything.

  95. Fendrel,

    How can any given thought induce a chain of more impulses? Thoughts and impulses are the same thing, according to what you believe. One impulse is a thought,no? Thus they exist in a vacuum. How could one impulse determine more impulses if a thought is an impulse.

    Each impulse, that is, is its own singular event. What is it then that connects these impulses into a chain of coherent thoughts that the individual recognizes as being interconnected when, biologically, there can be no real connection, because the connection, it seems to me would have to be abstract?

    Coherency of thoughts, it seems to me, would merely be an illusion. But if illusions can be verified, such as with scientific experiments, then the coherency of consciousness isn’t an illusion at all. So, again, by your argument consciousness is lie. But how then can we verify natural law through experiment if we cannot really consciously grasp their truths?

  96. Argo,

    you ideas of past and present don’t make any sense to me. I was giving a simplistic answer, of course memories, events, etc are also stored chemically in the brain, and a “thought” can certainly trigger a memory or anything else in our brains which are constantly changing.

    My point is that an individual has no control over making a specific impulse fire, and thus, no “control” over which thought will occur next.

  97. sorry, I missed your next post…no I am not saying there is a one-to-one correspondence between electrical impulse and thought…ALL I am saying is that our thoughts are the result of electrical impulses in the brain and there is no machine outside the machine that can pick and chose which neuron will fire when. Therefore all of our thoughts, our ideas, emotions, everything that occurs in our brain is the result of an impulse and you have no control over those impulses.

  98. By what prompting does one access a memory? Memories are from a direct understanding and grasping of the abstract concept of time. My definition of past and present would be consistent with Newtonian “proper time”? A before event, and an after, in linear (or outward) order. Sequential.

    If consciousness is false, then what is the onus for the chemical event which drives one to access a memory?

    If you argue consciousness, then you concede that action is not predetermined.

    I would also caution you on assuming that the physical body is proof that there is no soul, for this is ultimately what scientific determinism is trying to say. The body makes manifest man’s ability to reason (what I consider the “soul” of man). This is a completely metaphysically plausible assumption. Defects in the physical can be said to affect how proper reason is manifest, but this is all that can be known for certain. Any other conclusions are strictly scientific assumption.

    This is why athiesm is a much a matter if faith as Christianity. They both can only be “proven” metaphysically. And God has the metaphysical, and certainly moral, upper hand.

  99. Fendrel,
    I will stop pressing my points on this thread. Thank you for the dialog. Contrary to how I might come across, I really enjoy the perspectives you and others who question Christianity’s presumptions offer. Thanks for choosing to share. LOL! You force us all to think, and that is a very good thing.

  100. Argo,

    Never a problem, I always enjoy… even if I sometimes miss your point :)

    It’s not a faith….it is a withholding of intellectual assent pending evidence. There is no “faith” because it assumes no conclusions either way.

  101. PushBack: “The Power Of Collective Prayer!”

    HowDee!

    Jesus asked us to pray: “deliver us from evil…”

    dat meanz He’s really, really, listening!

    one of the neet things about ourz lit’l community is one of collective prayer.

    Rememba, He said He is listening!

    Soze, Depress Not! Pray real big! Trust, Trust, Trust!

    He real good @ answer’in.

    (remember there were 600 or so lit’l soul in dat school)

    I praize my Jesus for da lit’l ones dat were not harmed.

    The “why”, I leavez to Him…(on both accountz)

    (sadface)

    Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray!

    Our Super! Wonderful God Is Listening!

    Yahoooooooooooo!

    IHS

    Sopy
    ___
    Jesus: “Be thou “faithful” unto death, and I will give thee a crown of Life.”  (Rev 2:10)

  102. Surprised Huckabee was first to shoot his mouth off. Usually it’s Pat Robertson, and John Piper has been trying to out-do Pat the last year or two. ~ HUG ~

    Me too. It’s usually Robertson who first sticks his size 13 wingtip in his mouth with some inane pronouncement.

  103. Pam: I feel exactly the same. They will have crossed a line (which they delight in) & seriously could end up ‘martyring’ themselves for their ’cause’. I think feelings will be riding very high on this one, (I remember what I was like when freshly bereaved) & that the adult Westboro’s could be in serious danger. They may just reap what they have sown, which without bringing me any joy, would be about flipping time.

  104. Sopwith,
    With all due respect to your belief system, we can pray our asses off and it still won’t do a tinker’s damn worth of good until we as humans take collective responsibility for the preventable evils amongst us.

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, & death by decrepitude are the Almighty’s domain exclusively. But the horror that went down Connecticut? God is not in control, we are.

  105. Nicholas,

    Thank you for the links. In 2008, I wasn’t following Stop Baptist Predators or Jeri Massi’s blog. I had no clue that Huckabee had joined the ranks of complicit Baptist leaders who deny and stay silent about sexual abuse in their churches. From the blog posts, it sounds like he listened to SNAP’s pleads not to speak at Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville, cancelled the speaking arrangement (to appease them?), then spoke to the church a few days later by video broadcast. Errr.

    Dee, if you’re writing about Huckabee’s response to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, I would suggest looking into this. I agree with Nicholas. His record on protecting children stinks.

  106. Muff,

    I do believe in God’s sovereignty, but I agree there is more we could do as a society to limit these type of tragedies. God has given us the ability to think, reason, and make good decisions to help our fellow man. There are things we could do.

  107. Tammy

    You and I are alike. i start crying when I read their names of see their pictures or the pictures of the families.

  108. Hester

    Well said

    Also, Christian “bubble” culture has wasted the word “evil” on so many little things (backbeats, Barbie dolls, two-piece swimsuits, etc.) that they can no longer bring themselves to use it when confronted with the real thing (if they can even recognize the real thing in the first place).”

  109. Virginia

    “BTW, I have great sympathy for families affected by mental illness, as it appears this family was.” I will cover this point tomorrow.

     

  110. Herod ordered the massacre of all boys under 2. We have to assume they were murdered right in front of their families. Would we say Herod and those who carried out this orderw were mentally ill or just evil?

  111. With all due respect to your belief system, we can pray our asses off and it still won’t do a tinker’s damn worth of good until we as humans take collective responsibility for the preventable evils amongst us.

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, & death by decrepitude are the Almighty’s domain exclusively. But the horror that went down Connecticut? God is not in control, we are.”

    I totally agree. Did God anywhere say He was taking Dominion away after the fall? We still have it but with Satan roaming the earth at the same time.

  112. “Blue Skyz:  I Stand Amazed!”

    HowDee!

    Muff,

    Suit yourself.  :-)

    In our gracious Lords’s example,  prayer precedes action..

    In this He was very effective.

    So have i.

    My enemies can not win. I am on my knees, and they are not.

    (grin)

    hum, hum, hum…Joy to da world…da Lord is Comming!

    hahahahahahahahaha

    “If Not”

    “IHS” 

    Sopy

  113. “Everyone has an idea or theory as to the whys and what “must” be done to stop any future assaults of this type.There is no, one size fits all, solution.”

    True. Typically there are 3 categories for blame.

    Culture
    Guns
    Psychological

    And every time we debate the same categories.

    I do have a question. Are we seeing more and more people growing into young adults/teens who have no empathy or conscious? Or, is it just the 24/7 media making them known?

  114. Nicholas/Muff

    God is ultimately in control of the big picture.  However, as the mother of a child who survived brain cancer, I can say that we are the ones who should seek for the cures here on earth. God does not hand them to us. People were dying of simple bacterial infections  a mere 60/70 years ago. God did not formulate the antibiotic and hand it to us, we had to do so. 

    In the light of this tragedy, i say that we must seek to understand mental illness on a far more sophisticated scale than is currently practiced. 

  115. Dee, indeed. Although God is in control, we are still responsible for our own actions and inactions.

  116. Quick important diversion: Reports are in that SGM is beginning to crumble. CLC members voted 93% to sever ties with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Official note will be posted on 12/17. People are talking about it on SGMSurvivors.com

  117. Wendy

    I knew about these incidents and plan to discuss it tomorrow. One more SBC pastor who keeps things quiet.

  118. Anon 1,

    “Typically there are 3 categories for blame.
    Culture
    Guns
    Psychological
    And every time we debate the same categories.”

    Culture – No doubt there are some things that need to be changed. As another commenter discussed, we’ve got to do more to prevent and address bullying. Violent video games and other entertainment must be curtailed. Sensationalizing mass killing may be problematic. Of these, I think bullying may be the biggest issue and seems to be what the research shows.

    Guns – Every time there is a massacre like this, the gun control debate heats up. But nothing ever changes.

    I’m not the only one questioning why the shooter’s mother owned so many assault weapons. Law enforcement is questioning that too. Again I ask, why can one person own that many (and that type of) guns? I’m not blaming her for the murders. I feel terrible for her. But I think it is a legitimate question. I bet every parent missing and mourning their 6-year old or 7-year old child is wondering why he had easy access to all those guns.

    Psychological – Mental illness often shows up in late adolescence and early adulthood. Research shows a high percentage of mass murderers who are in their 20’s are mentally unstable.

  119. In light of the shootings in Connecticut this past week, it’s so easy to feel helpless. So, I felt I needed to do something to counteract some of the shadow. I sensed I should repost an article, which I originally published November 11, 2008, under the title of “midnight …” It explores a few of the practical antidotes to selfishness, ugliness, and evil: prayer, beauty, and kindness – all very appropriate themes for Advent. May this article be used to spark some kindling of hope in the midst of the darkness of midnight …

    http://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/midnight-advent-and-hope/

  120. Brad – Thanks so very much for that link. [wipes away tears]

    Beautiful writing; even more beautiful meaning and intent.

  121. Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard….

    In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.

    The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.

    In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-have-the-courage-to-stop-this.html?_r=0

  122. Anon 1: as someone who works with teenagers, & occasionally comes across individuals that make me wonder, psychologically speaking, I am very interested in doing some more study about young individuals that do extreme things such as this shooting, & those who present as being similar to them. The categorisation of such individuals is both complicated & problematic, as may be their treatment, if any exists. Some of them may be neurologically short-changed so to speak, which them has big implications for moral culapbility.

    Interestingly I had a short conversation with an American friend tonight who has considered having a gun (tough neighbourhood, lawyer husband deals with some very hard core criminals)but won’t, because her teenage daughter has a personality disorder.

    One of the children killed had moved from about 15 miles away from me here in the UK, to the US a couple of years ago…so hard to think of him, one of my nephews being the same age. All the Brits I’ve spoken to are also horrified & tearful over this, so very sad.

  123. The categorisation of such individuals is both complicated & problematic, as may be their treatment, if any exists. Some of them may be neurologically short-changed so to speak, which them has big implications for moral culapbility.

    Excellent points, beakerj – this is really a complex subject and each individual is different.

    I have friends who work in the mental health field, and I know that they wrestle with dilemmas regarding diagnosis and treatment (if any is available) all the time. Locally, our mental health services have been getting de-funded and are going out, one by one, like snuffed candles, leaving a large (rural) population without any support.

    It’s a very grievous thing.

  124. @ Anon 1

    There has been a huge increase in autism/aspergers in the last 20 years. And not just in identifying/diagnosing it, the increase is real.
    I am not saying all those with the disease will become violent or kill but we need to know why so many children are becoming afflicted with this. What is scrambling their brains?
    I have a granddaughter with aspergers. She attempted suicide at 14. She is bright, engaging but has difficulty socially. My heart breaks for her but I also am afraid of her too…she has a troubled, conflicted inner spirit . If she lived with me I would not own weapons.

  125. Read the mothers letter. The drugs didn’t work nor would anything else because you can’t manufacture a conscience. You either have one or you don’t.

    The whole thing is just awful.

  126. @ numo on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM.

    Thanks for your kind words, numo. When so many many things in life can wound and bring us down – especially words – it’s encouraging to know that words can also be the means for lifting us up.

  127. Coming in late here, I’m still trying to process the horror that has happened. I don’t know if that’s possible really. I am just so sorry to hear to hear of all the lives snatched away. Those who lost their lives – and their families and friends – are constantly on my mind. Thanks for all the convos here at TWW – you all rock by the way. The poems especially were pertinent. I only read or write poetry when I’m in extreme anguish or distress. There is strange comfort in poetry.

  128. @ Pam & Beaker:

    I hope nothing happens to WBC while they are in CT…not for their sakes but for the sake of any grieving person who would attack them. Almighty Lord and Most High Master Fred required all his children to become lawyers and they are very meticulous about obeying all the technicalities. If they were attacked outright (let alone if one of them was injured or killed) they would make a huge stink and, unfortunately, probably win their case, just like they did with the military funerals. I think you are right, though – emotions are running very high (esp. in CT) and some might not be able to contain themselves if confronted with WBC. (Not that WBC will be getting any sympathy if that happens.)

    Some people in my area of CT think Freddie is just blowing hot air and won’t actually show. Personally, I think the man is capable of just about any kind of cruelty/idiocy (see expose I linked above) and that he WILL send his minions to Sandy Hook. And there will, of course, be a MASSIVE anti-picket picket – which I’m sure will occur on a day I can’t attend. : (

    They really should change their “God Hates Fags” signs to be more honest and read “Fred IS God and HE Hates Fags.” It’ll also be interesting to see what happens to the cult when the patriarch finally dies. Phelps is, I think, in his 80s so it probably isn’t far off.

  129. It’s easier to read this way: http://blank.org/addict/

    I wonder why Phelps has never gone to prison for abusing his wife and children?

    It’s interesting to note that Phelps is a graduate of Bob Jones University.

  130. @ Fendrel:

    Ha, good one…though I was under the impression that Almighty Lord and Most High Master Fred doesn’t usually attend the pickets himself, only gives marching orders to his lackeys. I could be wrong, though.

  131. Anon 1,
    I agree that evil has a human face. It will even smile at you from the abyss. I have seen it up close and personal. It has no conscience or remorse, and its purity of darkness is matched only by its hostility. This is what it does, and it will never stop for anything, its only desire is to achieve its ends of murder and mayhem.

    Dee,
    I never meant to imply or affirm that the Almighty is not sovereign, that’s why I refer to him as Almighty. I also agree with you whole heartedly that we are at the pixel level and have nowhere near enough altitude to see all of the big picture. I am also in agreement with you that mental illness should be spotted and contained with early intervention.

    To All,
    I am a gun owner and I believe in the Founders’ intent in crafting the 2nd Amendment [much to the chagrin of my liberal peers who see me lean to the left on most other key issues]. I’m also convinced that if the current laws regarding gun ownership and trafficking were strictly enforced, it would go a long way in keeping sophisticated semi-automatic weaponry out of the wrongs hands.

    Tom Coburn [conservative republican senator – Oklahoma] and I don’t agree on much, but on 2nd amendment issues & debate, we sing from the same hymn-sheet.
    Let the calls for Muff to be put in the stocks begin.

  132. “There has been a huge increase in autism/aspergers in the last 20 years. And not just in identifying/diagnosing it, the increase is real.”

    Lin, Is this because they learned to diagnose it or did the problem actually increase in reality? And if the former, Why do folks think there is an increase?

    Over the past few years I have been doing some freelance stuff for the public school system. I was stunned to learn of the amount of kids in s

    I read that Huffpo piece. My heart breaks for that mother.

  133. “Would it be completely out of line for me to ask for the verbatim quote from that guy’s FB? It would be nice to have hard proof of their real priorities from their own mouths.” Sat Dec 15 10:42 PM

    Hester,

    I had thought about posting the exact quote and then decided against it. I should clarify that he did not say that these specific children were better off being shot than going on through the public school system. He did not come across that crass.

    He was making the comparison between the spiritual damage done to children by public schools (which would cause them to rebel against God and end up in hell), and the shootings. His conclusion was that the first would be much, much worse. I was emotional that evening and may have read too much into it, but that night what this sounded like to me was that he would rather see public school-bound children die before the system before the system gets to their souls and lands them in hell.

  134. I have debated in my hearrt for a whil to say this. I think it makes sense but i dont know. Right now im trying to find it all out for me. Not for the number of possibly wellmeaning “good” churches involved. Not to bury my self in denial. To see and touch for myself the troubles and if the seedling faith of my youth will be heartened from the dusty crunchy remains

    I find that as much as the “obviously wounded) innocent victims. Helpless. Survivors. As much as i dont want to stand up and argue rights of the abuser.. i do woner where the love and compassion fal for thw shooter and his family as victim? Is there a middle groud? I cannot think that there is no end tp ain. A therapist once told me to forgive my abuser. I had to reach down and truly forgive what he did to my body ans my mind and my soul. I also had to decide where my own personal lines would be put. How much to giv in this systems power ovr me.

    There are as many broken ans wounded as the grains of sand. I know that God will find them all in his own time. He will have the words thatwill send hen anywhere it pleased him
    I have a huge set of reasons to feel almost perpetual uneasiest when i spproach this is a irl anecdotes. I ktthnk it all comes down to aline in a store he saw recently. Īwas elsewhere.

  135. That was very rambling i know. Sleeping meds dont play well with ‘i just got pulled over nythe thr ncoty ccos. thr ncoty ccops.

  136. Stormy – a lot of people on the autism spectrum have extreme difficulty in empathizing with others.

    That kid might have serious neurological problems as well. There’s no way for us to know, from where we sit.

    My heart goes out to his mom and his siblings.

  137. Hester, I know what you mean. WBC just want to compound the suffering of those grieving, I truly don’t think they give a damn about ‘saving’ people, even though they say they’re witnessing to people. And in their vindictiveness they could trigger a response from someone grieving – I think in a sick way they hope something like that does happen. And yes, then those grieving would have even more grief to deal with from those vultures.

  138. Herod ordered the massacre of all boys under 2. We have to assume they were murdered right in front of their families. Would we say Herod and those who carried out this order were mentally ill or just evil?
    ~ Anon 1 ~

    I think that Stormy is also right, some people are just plain evil, and that no amount of medication [even Huxley’s Brave New World meds] or self-esteem therapy will change them.

  139. @ brad/futuristguy

    Brad, thank you so much for posting that link to your article. I felt your loving empathy for those who are suffering and was so moved by the depth of understanding that your words convey.

    May God use your Spirit wrought words to comfort and revive hope in many hearts.

  140. @ Nicholas:

    “I wonder why Phelps has never gone to prison for abusing his wife and children?”

    Well, if Bell’s piece is correct, Phelps has perfected the art of intimidating local officials into not coming after him. I’m sure that has something to do with it.

  141. @ Anon 1
    Why the increase? that is the mystery. There were ideas that perhaps childhood inoculations were a root cause ( contents of and frequency of) but that has remained unsubstatiated. I myself wonder if the frequency of ultra sounds has any merit as an underlying cause.
    I personally know two families who have young sons with Asperger type issues, as well as my gdaughter. The families are “normal ” but caught in the nightmare of children who are enourmously difficult to handle. They love their children but are overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for these children. It can make the whole family sick and dysfunctional.

  142. Nicholas

    The Phelps family (the ones who protest-a couple have left-one son the instant he turned 18. He  waitedfor the clock to stike midnight and he left.) are the very face of evil in today’s world.

  143. Muff

    You in stocks? Now that would be a sight! We would feature such a thing as a post.

    You are logical in your argument . Remember, both Deb and I have a concealed weapons permit-glamorous with an edge.

  144. Looking for You

    I wonder-did he deal with the very real stats that indicate that lots of kids who are homeschooled and/ or in Christian schools, alos rebel and leave the faith?

  145. Hester

    The daughter is an attorney and, from all accounts, very bright (which just goes to prove there is a difference between bright and good). I read that she is an expert in Free Speech and Assembly issues.

  146. Lin

    I am going to discuss this issue today. The church has been behind the eight ball in caring for the mentally ill.

  147. I’m not certain how mental illness came into the public eye as a result of the Newton Tragedy. I agree we need more services like those for those who cannot afford or whose insurance will not pay for it, but the shooters father was paying over $300k annually in alimony, I think they could have flown to Austria, resurrected Sigmund Freud and got all the analysis they needed if they had wanted it.

    In other words I don’t think the availability or costs of mental health care were in issue in this case.

  148. Dee, absolutely. I’ll bet there is still abuse going on there too. The Phelps cult tried to protest at the funeral of the Amish kids who were killed, but I heard they backed down. I hope they will be prevented from protesting in CT.

    The fundamentalist on Facebook probably isn’t even aware of the stats. Contrary to what Ken Ham says, it is the junk science of AiG and so much of the YEC crowd that is causing so many young people to leave the faith: http://www.realapologetics.org/blog/2012/10/04/old-earth-creationism-a-cause-of-apostasy/

    So many Christian schools and homeschool programs teach only YEC and junk science, unfortunately. I went to public school, and I’m glad I learned how evolutionary theory works.

  149. @ MM – – thank you for your kind words about my words. I’ve often reflected on how poetry and visual prose and song lyrics all seem like “liquid emotion,” and for many of us, it’s of help in expressing something in face of inexplicable suffering that shocks us into numbness. It was therapeutic for me to re-read and re-post those words, and I’m glad it’s connected with others …

  150. Nicholas

    You are singing my song. If one spends anytime at all at ExChristians (I lurked there for 5 years and continue to read from time to time), the overwhelming number of exChristians there cite YEC as the beginning of their walk away.

    In my own sphere, I know a brillant young man who got the YEC science nonsense banged into this head for years (6 weeks per year K-12 in his Sunday school classes). He got to his Ivy League school and within 6 weeks in a college level biology class, came to the conclusion that he was lied to all of his life and he walked away from the faith. I tried to tell him that OE/TE is believed by many Christians but he won’t listen. He was lied to by Christians and does not trust them any longer.

  151. Fendrel,

    Mental illness came into the public eye due to reports from school personnel, neighbors, family members, and friends of the mother that the shooter had extreme social withdrawal, sensory issues, and what sounds like an IEP (individual education plan) or something similar to help the school provide an education while addressing his disabilities.

    New reports coming in feature interviews of more friends and neighbors who say the mother was proud of her son for being so bright but worried about his future because of his problems. She didn’t feel the school could handle him and didn’t feel his needs were being met, so she pulled him out of high school during his 10th grade year to homeschool.

    In this case, I do agree that the family’s financial situation was not a concern. Clearly, though, there were other problems. For instance, many friends, neighbors, and associates report that she was mostly silent about her son’s problems, although they knew he was troubled. There was something (not sure what), despite his obvious problems, that DIDN’T prevent her from keeping weapons and ammo in the home and at her son’s disposal. There are reports from several folks that she took her sons to shooting ranges for target practice. Numerous associates report that she was a gun enthusiast.

    Other questions – Did the mother feel stigmatized due to her son’s problems? Did she feel that he was stigmatized? Did this prevent her from seeking the help and support they needed? Did she seek out services and support but was unable to obtain them? Was she she in denial about the level of his disabilities?

  152. Wendy,

    All good points, thanks for bringing them up. Like everything in life, nothing is simple I suppose. Of course I am certain that the divorce didn’t help things either. No matter where the fault lies, it was tragic on many different levels.

  153. Another important issue to consider, as another commenter pointed out: Psychiatric facilities and mental health programs have been decimated since Reagan. While working in the mental health field, I was laid off three times in the 1990’s, the first time as a coordinator for a child and adolescent high risk intervention program (the hospital no longer offers any child or adolescent psychiatric services); the second time as a case manager for children and families in a local mental health center (the mental health center no longer exists); and the third time as a needs and assessment counselor at a well-known psychiatric hospital system which went bankrupt after 87 years. Without the necessary federal funding, mental health has become a mess.

  154. mot

    Sorry-I vowed I would never descend into jargon and I have done so!

    OE= Old earth creationism

    TE=Theistic evolution

    CE=Creationary Evolutionism (same as TE)

    YE=Young earth creationism

  155. On the “this happens because we removed God from schools” idea:

    A theologian told me long ago that hell is the only place where God is not. It seems that some theologians think differently: Hell and American schools are probably, in their theology, the 2 places God is not.

    By the way, I’ve heard of church shootings (perhaps not in America)and a shooting at a missions organization’s quarters also in the past 20 years – would these pastors say we removed God from church?

  156. @ Retha:

    Best response I received from a fundy Baptist FB friend who posted the “I’m not allowed in schools” t-shirt, after I pointed out several good reasons why the shirt was complete crap and demeaning to God (I didn’t mention that the shirt was also heretical if taken literally as it denies God’s omnipresence):

    “Whatever, just WHATEVER!”

    The argument from whatever. Fine critical thinking skills ya got there.

  157. Mental health hospitals were closed in the 70s and 80s as better drugs and outpatient treatment made it possible for many of the mentally ill to be tended to outside of institutions. Warehousing patients was an inhumane treatment, well past it’s expiration date…..many facilities were a disgrace and needed to be closed down.
    What was good intentioned and optimistic in ideals, fell short of the cold, hard fact not all institutional care need be inhumane.
    Unfortunately, not all of the mentally ill can be cured with the proper medication or mainstreamed or function in group homes. Some do need to be institutionalised for long periods of time. Those facilities do not exist anymore, yet there is desperate need of them.

  158. @ Wendy:

    “She didn’t feel the school could handle him and didn’t feel his needs were being met, so she pulled him out of high school during his 10th grade year to homeschool.”

    I just found out about this this morning. This makes the Newtown shooting the second heinous crime in CT to be committed by someone who was partially homeschooled. Joshua Komisarjevsky, one of the perpetrators of the Cheshire home invasion, was homeschooled using Gothard/ATI materials. Very few people heard about Komisarjevsky but Lanza’s homeschooling has already been reported by two national news outlets.

    Is it fair to say that homeschooling caused these tragedies? Of course not, and that’s not what I’m implying. But that is how it could be portrayed. Also CT has some of the most relaxed homeschool laws in the country so it will be interesting to see if that changes after this incident.

  159. @ Lin

    That is all too true! Add to that the fact that treatment of mental illness can be lengthy and expensive with uncertain outcomes, so that insurance companies and governments limit the coverage for it, with the result that many don’t get the treatment they need.

  160. Stormy – All I was trying to say is that lack of empathy is a trait that some people on the autism spectrum exhibit.

    That’s not the same thing as saying there is no evil, let alone that there are no sociopaths.

  161. Retha,

    Yes, we’ve had church shootings and Christian school shootings here in America. I love your question and posed something similar to a fairly well-known pastor’s wife in our area who is a facebook friend. She regularly posts Mike Huckabee quotes, and of course she quoted his statement on the Newtown massacre. 35 people liked the quote, and I was the lone person who respectfully challenged it. She and a couple of her other friends defended Huckabee, and they all “liked” each other’s comments (like giving each other high fives). She deleted my three comments (the last two within minutes of being posted) and left all the rest of comments and high fives in the thread.

  162. @Jeff
    Yes definitely expensive! Not just in the monetary aspects either. It depletes the family of emotional reources too. And there are no parameters, no guarantees treatment will ever be effective. It is to some degree understandable why finances are the bottom line because in some cases it is like pouring money down a bottomless pit.
    Mental health issues have taken twit toll in my family. My aunt had schizophrenia. Came on when she was about tawny two. This was many years ago, back in the early fourties. In and out of mental hospitals. My gmother couldn’t stand her being in those wretched facilities and would bring her home but that wasn’t always a safe choice either as the aunt tried to smother a crying niece one time. Long story short the family (including my mother) had years of anxiety, turmoil dealing with her care. In the early 70’s the state institution she
    was in closed and she was placed into a nursing home, she was barely 50 but no other facility for her to be placed in…….on and on it went until she died in 1996.
    As a child/teenager I dreaded family things at my grandparents when Auntie was home….it was a volitile environment, everyone walking around on eggshells and great fear Auntie would hurt her aging parents. Of course back then it was a great stigma to have a family member who was mentally unbalanced and my parents were immigrants and that further complicated matters.
    Anyway, there are seriously mentally ill people walking among us and society thinks pills or therapy is all they require to be made well. It is a myth that needs dispelling.

  163. Lin,

    I’m sorry to hear about the turmoil your family has experienced as a result of mental illness. There has been quite a bit of mental illness in my family as well. Having seen the ravages up close and personal and being part of the mental health community, I agree that we need more resources and more services to treat the mentally ill. Instead of going into a good institution that actually treats the mentally ill and improves their quality of life (and the quality of life of their families and the safety of the community at large), the mentally ill are on the streets, in prisons, and in nursing homes (if they’re lucky).

  164. Wendy

    Rachel Held Evans blog simply put the issue into its proper light.
    God cannot be removed only ignored,we have to many bible idiots claiming to be christian leaders and this is disturbing.

  165. @ Wendy……..thank you. Sadly there are people who are afraid to acknowledge mental illness is a part of their family.
    As a society we need to acknowledge real mental illness exists. It is not the same as behavior issues and it should not be confused with lack of emotional disciplines.
    Having a mental illness is not unlike having a cancer or a severe physical disability. People don’t ask to have it and cant cure themselves of it.

  166. “I wonder-did he deal with the very real stats that indicate that lots of kids who are homeschooled and/ or in Christian schools, alos rebel and leave the faith?”

    Dee,

    No, not at all. That is a good point though. Not one that will ever be talked about, at least not in the circles I’m familiar with. When homeschool kids rebel, the assumption is always that the parents didn’t do it right. “They didn’t have their children’s hearts…” and they shrug it off.

  167. My son sent me a chart which shows that the increase in autism diagnoses in the U.S. nearly perfectly parallels the increase in the purchase of organic foods.

    Another example that correlation does not speak to causation.

  168. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM said:
    Did anyone else hear the President’s remarks in Newtown last evening. I was impressed with his use of the scripture and his passion over the failure of this country to find a way to prevent such incidents.

    Yes. My wife wanted to watch the football game, so she sat and stewed in her fungelical (is that the correct spelling) hatred of him. A rough evening followed. Her feelings were that she had completely mis-understood the president previously and wondered about what she understood about christianity. She was very moved by him, and is now dealing with some serious faith issues – in a good way I think.

  169. Dear TWW community:

    Thank you for being a rational community where people can openly talk about controversial issues and not descend into emotional hysteria; and where people can (usually, at least) distinguish fact from opinion, and offense from disagreement. Thank you for using logic. Basically, thank you for not being stupid.

  170. I just want to chime in (carefully) and say that we have to be careful when equating mental illness to cancer. Some people with mental issues can use this as an excuse to justify hurtful behavior and demand that those they lash out at accept it. I can’t count the number of times I heard the that depression is like cancer from my ex as a means to excuse some very hurtful this she did.

    There are no easy answers dealing with mental illness, and the church makes it even worse by often even ignoring that it exists (often where Nouthetic Counseling goes). I tried my best to walk the line between being understanding and compassionate, while also protecting myself. I do know that there is a big difference between a person who works at treatment and one who uses their condition as an excuse to injure others. This line probably becomes very fuzzy on the severe end of the spectrum, where people are incable of taking any responsibility at all. I don’t have any experience with those kinds of conditions, but I know they exist.

  171. Hester,

    “Thank you for using logic. Basically, thank you for not being stupid.”

    This gave me a chuckle. I’ve learned a lot from you and many others here. You have great insights and information to offer. I like this place too.

  172. @ Wendy:

    The gratitude arose out of an encounter with an IFB type on FB. Here’s how it went:

    1. IFB posts T-shirt picture about God not being allowed in schools.
    2. I request that she not make the shooting into a political football.
    3. IFB’s sister jumps on the thread and says that I should stop telling her sister what she can and cannot post on her FB. (I never said that anywhere)
    4. I post a defense of my position from several different angles.
    5. The IFB literally says “WHATEVER” in response to my defense. (stellar debate skills, I know)
    6. IFB’s sister yells at me and repeats her assertion that I am telling her sister what to post. She then tells me that I should “keep my opinion off her sister’s FB” and that I am “part of the problem” because I am being “petty.” (or, in layman’s terms: SHUT UP YER MAKIN US UNCUMFTERBLE)

    You see now why I am so thankful for TWW.

  173. And now, Rush…

    Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says attempts to blame the Sandy Hook school massacre on lax gun laws reflect a political agenda by the “media, Democrats and leftists” to attack “Republicans, conservatives or conservative values.”

    He noted that many in the media and political world did not want to acknowledge that many mass killings were carried out with knives or dynamite, and not by firearms.

    Yes, you read that correctly
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/17/rush-limbaugh-guns-shooting-connecticut-sandy-hook-violence-liberals-agenda/1775251/

  174. Addendum @ Wendy:

    Of course, I also have a vivid memory of the IFB’s daughter telling me (when we were about 12) that dinosaurs were “just big dog bones,” and this same person just graduated from Bob Jones, soooo…

  175. @ Fendrel:

    Rush Limbaugh claimed that Democrats, leftists and the media were making the shooting into a political football?!?!?!?!

    This is my shocked face : O

  176. “Mental health hospitals were closed in the 70s and 80s as better drugs and outpatient treatment made it possible for many of the mentally ill to be tended to outside of institutions. Warehousing patients was an inhumane treatment, well past it’s expiration date…..many facilities were a disgrace and needed to be closed down.”

    There was a huge one outside our city that was a turn of the century tb sanitorium turned into a mental institution for the elderly later on and closed in the early 80’s. It was horrid. Something right out of Dickins.

    I was in a timely conference this morning that included some folks from the state who handle services for the mentally and physically disabled. There were telling us about changes coming in the new year to some programs across the state for helping the mentally ill. One program funded by the feds that some states (I only know this to be happening in our state but the funding is federal so I cannot speak whether it is coming to other states) participate in in through mental health services and it’s goal is to get the mentally disabled on correct meds and get them functioning in some sort of job if possible. A long term commitment that took years. The changes to this program are that no longer are they required to make sure they are on proper meds or even to test them for illegal drugs (which has been a problem) but to get them in any job as soon as possible. If they only work one day it is reported as a success. Of course, the people who have been doing this for ages from the state are very upset about the lack of requirements and basic care and feel they will be responsible if something horrible happens.

    They also said that Aspbergers (sp) will no longer be in the DSM (whatever that is) but considered just Autism.

  177. @ Jeff S
    Agree comparing to cancer is dicey. I was expressing my thoughts over an aunt who was a schizophrenic and unable to help herself. She was on the severe end of the spectrum.

  178. Re. mental illness… this is such a broad spectrum, covering everything from anxiety disorders and differing kinds/causes of depression to very severe and disabling illnesses.

    I think it’s important for there to be more education – for the general public (all ages)- on mental illnesses and the help that is available.

    So very many elderly people suffer from undiagnosed depression – just one example of the need for good mental health screening in our communities and medical practices.

    Lin, I’m truly sorry to hear of the pain your family suffered.

  179. Jesus, gentle Shepherd,
    Bless the children in the schools today,
    And keep them from every harmful way,
    Keep them in thy footsteps,
    Marking thy path, ever sure!

    Keep the children in the schools today,
    Never let them stray;
    Guard them through the day-time, every hour I pray,
    And keep their feet from evil,
    from straying from your narrow way!

    Keep the children in the schools today,
    Lord, make your face to shine upon them,
    Let them experience your peace,
    Help each lit’l one know thee by and by,
    And let them not forget all thy great benefits!  Amen!

    Lord Jesus, 
    We can always be thankful, we can always pray, 
    We can always pursue the things of God each day, 
    No matter what evil may come,
    Deliver us from tyranny what ever form it takes,
    And let us not faint where Satan makes his seat,
    But pray and praise you and await your glorious help,
    Ever, always, in our hour of need!

    The Lord taught us to pray:

    Our Father Who Art In Heaven…

    Blessings during this holiday season!

    IHS

    Sopy

  180. My son sent me a chart which shows that the increase in autism diagnoses in the U.S. nearly perfectly parallels the increase in the purchase of organic foods.

    Another example that correlation does not speak to causation.
    ~ Arce ~

    Torture the data long enough and it will confess to anything.

  181. Hester,

    You’re on a roll today. You make me laugh!

    I have seen that t-shirt picture about God not being allowed in schools over and over on my facebook. I commented on one man’s t-shirt post and got jumped on by him and another person. (He’s a Baptist music minister.) By that point, I didn’t want to follow through with my arguments and bowed out of the conversation. Sometimes (or most of the time), it seems so pointless to encourage these folks to use logic.

  182. Our mental health care system needs a overhaul without a doubt.Yet we need to understand this one issue,mental illness is not an excuse to committ murder and other forms of mayham in our local communities.Men and women and children have a fallen nature and are inclined to sin.When the heart is evil and full of murder bad things are going to happen,meds or no meds.America needs another great awakening and soon.

  183. Yeah,the mental health services here in the UK are a mess too, especially for children & teenagers.

    I’d like to point out though that autism/aspergers are developmental disorders, not mental illnesses, although the possible social issues, isolation & so on, may very well contribute to such individuals also having mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety problems. This is where it all becomes very complicated…in things such as personality disorders which are called mental conditions, a sufferer may have had such poor nurturing during the first months of life that they are neurologically impaired when it comes to attaching to other people, feeling empathy & so on. This is not their fault, but may result in behaviour towards others that is considered ethically wrong, cruel or harmful…unless somehow their ability to feel for others is strengthened, or their poor behaviour replaced with better behaviour for compelling (to them) reasons other than fellow-feeling. Very very confusing.

  184. Beakerj, over here, the American Psychiatric Association (the governing body) has autism listed in its DSM, which you probably already know.

    I think one of the reasons that’s so has to do with insurance; also because it can be occurring along with other problems that aren’t developmental disorders.

    But there is so much confusion about that – and the APA hasn’t been exempt from its share of prejudice, infighting, etc. over diagnoses and possible treatment.

    although general public awareness of mental health issues is better than it was 40-50 years ago, there’s still a ton of misunderstanding of both diagnoses – and of individuals with problems.

  185. fwiw, I was not intending to equate autism/Aspergers with either evil or sociopathic behavior in any of my earlier comments!

    As beakerj said, it’s very complex – and often extremely difficult – to figure out what’s going on, let alone where one thing begins and another ends…

  186. @ Wendy:

    “I commented on one man’s t-shirt post and got jumped on by him and another person. … By that point, I didn’t want to follow through with my arguments and bowed out of the conversation. Sometimes (or most of the time), it seems so pointless to encourage these folks to use logic.”

    Exactly my experience. I decided to drop out too – not because it wouldn’t have been fun to press them into a corner and make them think through their own arguments, but because it would have just been mean and pointless. They wouldn’t have learned anything in any case, just gotten madder and madder. Plus I think people have this notion that FB is not public (it is), and that their wall is their personal “territory” where they can just spout without pushback/accountability/dissent, and woe betide the person who dares express a contrary opinion on the hallowed ground (i.e., Mr. T’s “I pity the fool”). Personally I try not to post/link to anything on my FB that I’m not prepared to defend.

    Logic is very foreign to many of these folks. Take, for instance, their views on music and art. There was no music before Bach; all music from Bach to Beethoven is inherently good and righteous; music from Beethoven to 1900 differs in quality depending on the personal life of the composer (except Tchaikovsky, who is always good because of the Nutcracker and we’ll just forget the fact that he was gay); and all music after 1900 was written by Satan (except for CCM and any movie soundtracks we like). I’m exaggerating a little, but only a little.

    The principle I’ve usually heard to justify this timeline is “art is supposed to be beautiful” (sometimes “beautiful and useful”) and modern art/music clearly is NOT beautiful. Of course this is a ridiculously simplistic view of “modern music,” which they think is all atonal, but more importantly where do they get their standard of beauty? Usually they pull out Philippians 4:8 but this doesn’t answer the question at all when it comes to instrumental music. How are we to decide if a certain collection of tones is “pure” or “praiseworthy” or “lovely”? In practice, based on what WE like. So if we don’t like or don’t understand modern music, it fails the Philippians test and is therefore evil, and when other people disagree with our tastes, they are clearly not following the Bible.

    Same with modern art – what is inherently bad or sinful about abstract art? Nothing, of course. But for some reason the representational tradition is held up as the ONLY acceptable art form because it represents “order” and abstract art represents “confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33). Of course a more extreme version of this thinking in the 1600s led to people calling the Alps ugly, because “order” was defined as strict geometry and the natural world was “disordered” because it was not geometric. But now “order” = exact reproductions of what you see outside your window.

    They also apply this rule inconsistently (of course) – Alexander Calder and Jackson Pollock are evil, but abstract art in quilting and other textiles is not. Why? No reason ever given. Though I’m sure the thought of calling Grandma Edith’s log cabin quilt, which she slaved over for her Baptist church in 1902, Satanic is pretty unappealing.

    Seriously, I should post excerpts from D. James Kennedy’s book What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? on here sometime. His art/music chapter was PAINFUL. He actually claimed that we have no surviving music from Greece and Rome (patent falsehood, we have plenty thanks to archaeology) because those cultures were so ungodly that God did not allow their music to survive.

  187. Pingback: A National Tragedy and a Call to Prayer | The Wartburg Watch 2012 | Nail It To The Cross UNITED STATES

  188. I thought this was a comforting response from the Gospel Coalition, posted on the 16th.

    Posted: 16 Dec 2012 08:00 PM PST

    Where shall it go, all this grief? We do not have the depths in us to hold it. Any death is grievous. Any senseless murder is more than we can take in. But children. Many children. I love the moments just after recess when schoolchildren are all kind of flushed and sweaty and a little disheveled and lively, bordering on rowdy. The classroom pulses and smells earthy and alive! There’s not a place more overflowing with life and hope than an elementary classroom. The grief of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, is as large as all that bursting life and hope. It has no boundaries. Where shall we put a grief so large? We do not have the depths in us to hold it. We must not pretend we do.

    Tears cannot help us hold it. Tears are the overflow as grief pushes in and finds not nearly enough room. Tears are grief’s edges turned liquid, but there are never enough of them to lessen the weight or make room for the grief to fit with any comfort. But still we weep. For ages we have wept. Jeremiah knew this weeping, this deep kind, for children. His weeping became part of the first Christmas story, when wicked Herod (afraid of a child) killed all the male children in Bethlehem two years old or younger. Matthew recognizes this weeping:

    A voice was heard in Ramah,

    weeping and loud lamentation,

    Rachel weeping for her children;

    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.

    (Matthew 2:18, quoted from Jeremiah 31:15)

    Anger cannot help us hold it. Anger strikes up a fist-fight with the grief, pummeling it and making tiny splashes in a hurricane-size wave. The comfort of anger is temporary, lasting only as long as the passion of our pummeling. And then the grief multiplies, like a tsunami pulled up by a rising tide that sends it the next moment crashing into shore.

    We could give up the effort to find a place for this grief, letting it loose and watching it seep into every light-filled crevice, finally leaving us surrounded by the dark and either despairing or perhaps just oblivious, forgetting about the light. When grief takes over, it grows, allowing and inviting more deeds that can be done only in the dark. Perhaps the grievous deed of 12/14 reflects a culture that is darker than we think. Many of our younger generation suffer from fatal oblivion, desperately needing to be reminded of the light.

    There Is a Place

    There is a place for this grief. The only place large and deep and strong enough to hold it is the heart of God. He is eternal; his being reaches from eternity past to eternity future. Everything that exists came from him, made by the breath of his mouth. He is other than and larger than all of it. He can hold our grief.

    God can not only hold our grief. God can heal our grief. Not in a little quick way, but in a huge, eternal way—a way that matches the extent of it. God sent his Son that first Christmas to take on the darkness, to invite into himself the whole universe-sized wave of sin and pain and brokenness and grief. Jesus the Son of God held it all, on the cross, suffered it all for us, with an eternal capacity for suffering that we cannot imagine. Jesus paid it all, with his death. Because he is God, he could suffer so, and he could pay perfectly, and he could rise victorious. “The light shines in the darkness,” John writes, “and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). I will speak those words, even in the darkness.

    Where shall it go, all this grief? It is here, and we must find (and we must share) a way to hold it today, on the way to eternity. It is a large grief, and we do not have the depths in us to hold it ourselves. God does. God has, in Jesus his Son. Such grief as grows in the darkness can be held and healed only in the heart of God—the eternal God who made us and who offers eternal life to us in his Son. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4).

    Havin

  189. Hester,

    I agree with you about Facebook. Our Facebook profiles aren’t owned by us; they’re owned by Facebook, Inc. Facebook is a public forum with limited privacy features. If you post something on your wall, you are (or should be) inviting dialogue. If someone disagrees in a respectful tone to a quote, link or meme, there is no reason to attack the person. Why do folks believe all their “friends” should agree with everything they post? Can’t/shouldn’t friends disagree and discuss, or even debate, things respectfully?

    In the past few days, I’ve had two “friends”, one of whom is a pastor’s wife, delete my comments on their posts that discussed Huckabee’s school “carnage” statements. I wasn’t sarcastic or rude or mean, but I respectfully challenged Huckabee’s statements. Those were the only two “friends” whose Huckabee posts/links I chose to comment on. (The Huckabee love has been rampant on my facebook the past few days.) They left their original post and the entire thread, minus my comments.

    Deleting respectful comments that challenge something you’ve posted is like saying to me, “I don’t care what you have to say. I don’t value your input. I’m ignoring everything you’ve said and turning my back on you unless you agree with me.”

    This is not real friendship. They are not being my “friend”. Thus, I believe they should unfriend me from their account. Since neither did but clearly wanted me to butt out of the conversation and make a point by leaving up the entire thread, I unfriended them.

    That’s my new facebook policy. If I’m not really your friend, as evidenced by your deleting my comments and not valuing me or what I have to say despite my respectful tone, we can’t be facebook friends. It’s inauthentic. (I need to add here that these two women don’t interact with me much, if ever, on Facebook. On the other hand, I have liked and commented on pictures of children and grandchildren and a few status updates here and there.)

    I will, of course, be very pleasant if I happen to see them in person (which is unlikely). But the reality is that these two women don’t truly view me as their friend, or they would value my thoughts and perspective, even if it’s different from theirs.

  190. Hester, Wendy:

    Wasn’t Huckabee a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination the past two elections? Including the “God’s Choice of the Week — NOT THE MORMON!” circus you saw earlier this year?

  191. fwiw, I was not intending to equate autism/Aspergers with either evil or sociopathic behavior in any of my earlier comments! — Numo

    Others have done so. A lot.

    I asked my informant for details on that altercation with a schoolteacher years ago. According to him, the schoolteacher’s exact words were that Aspies, loners, and other (unspecified) “behavioral problems” had to be sealed off from the other schoolkids “So they don’t Infect them”.

    I’m probably an undiagnosed borderline Aspie. Of my two main writing partners, one shows definite Aspie symptoms (and has been all but destroyed as a functioning human being by high school and family) and the other does under-the-table counselling on Aspies and “problem types” in the various fandoms we’re involved with. Guess that makes all of us “infectious diseases” that need to be “quarantined”.

    Come to think of it, weren’t these “Christians” an infectious disease to the society of the Roman Empire?

  192. 8) Democrats, Media, and Leftists (Rush Limbaugh)

    I’m just waiting for someone to blame the massacre on Global Warming…

  193. Things have gotten weirder since yesterday:

    Morning drive-time radio reported a body-armor manufacturer in Salt Lake City (why Salt Lake City?) has been selling out of child-sized body armor (including ballistic-cloth Disney Princess backpacks) faster than they can make them.

    In the Los Angeles area, a couple kids got busted packing toy guns to school. No further details. (Sounds as strange as the guy who got busted in NYC years ago packing a dozen pipe bombs “for self-defense”.)

    VP “Slow Joe” Biden, number-one fanboy of Gun Control, has been appointed head of the Federal response to the schollyard massacre. (Reminds me of Al Gore appointing Daley of Chicago as head of the 2000 Florida recount. “First the Verdict, Then the Trial!” — The Queen of Hearts)

    Oh, and remember Rush Limbaugh blaming the massacre on “Democrats, Media, and Leftists”? When I mentioned that to one freind this morning, the respnse I got was “RUSH IS RIGHT! IT WAS THE DEMOCRATS, MEDIA, AND LIBERALS!”

    THIS IS SOUTH PARK! I’M LIVING IN F’ING SOUTH PARK! WE’RE ALL LIVING IN F’ING SOUTH PARK! NO WONDER I BRONIED — PONYVILLE’S GOT TO BE BETTER THAN SOUTH PARK!

  194. I pray that a Holy God will bring Justice to all responsible for these heinous acts of violence,  past, present, future. I pray that a Holy God will continue to bring His support for our United States Constitution and our Bill Of Rights. I pray that those in authority will do the right, and proper thing.  I pray that those who dwell in these United States will do the right, and proper thing. I pray that a Holy God would protect the public here in this nation from all those that would do them harm. I pray that those authorities who abuse their sacred trust be replaced by those more worthy of that trust. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

  195. @ dee:

    Dee, that was a cry from the heart. I’m having a hard time telling South Park from CNN. About once a week I have to call up my main writing partner (the burned-out country preacher) and ask him “Did we go Bats**t Crazy, or did everybody else?”

    And he always answers me with a quote from one of the Desert Fathers:

    “There will come a time when men will go Mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying ‘You are not like Us! You Must Be Mad!'”

  196. Guy Behind the Curtain

    Where do the avatars on this site pull from. Doesn’t seem to be wordpress or gravitar …yet some people have them.

    Thanks

  197. I actually finally defriended someone on Facebook, partially over this, but also a lot of other wacky extremist stuff over the years. The final straw was three things: one argument on a mutual friends’ post about violence and gun control, two was a conspiracy-theory link that the shooting was a ruse by the NWO/UN/government/anti-gun lobby to disarm America and enslave the populace, three was a photo with two TIME man of the year covers – 1938 (Hitler) and 2012 (Obama) – calling them both ‘heroes of the leftist media’. So I told him on that link (which a couple of people had mildly suggested was maybe a little bit too far) was abhorrent and extremist and that, while he’s welcome to believe moronic conspiracy theories, this was the end of the line for me. I have a feeling he already considers me a heretic and this is probably just confirmation to him, but I simply couldn’t take seeing it any more.

  198. Fendrel wrote:

    Here’s a sad twist I wasn’t expecting…
    “Feminism, caused the Sandy Hook Shooting”

    What we’re seeing is a funhouse mirror. Every Kyle’s Mom looks at Sandy Hook and sees their pet agenda and pet fears reflected right back at them along with absolute proof of their pet conspiracy theories.

    And that’s the involuntary angle. There’s also the voluntary angle of “Never let an Opportunity to Advance Your Agenda Go To Waste” you find on Righteous Activists everywhere.

  199. @ Wendy & Pam:

    I really try to reserve unfriending somebody for bad, bad stuff…though this particular IFB’s posts have really been grating on me after the WHATEVER incident. Yesterday she posted a gun control picture which claimed Obama isn’t the only one who wants to “take your guns” – so do Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot. (Because that’s not inflammatory at all.)

    I guess I kind of see FB “friendship” as a completely different social construct from actual friendship, for which we don’t yet have a word – though of course that doesn’t give people license to be rude and censor, and Wendy’s point above was well-taken. The only time I even considered unfriending someone was when a homeschool dad I know posted a Truther article. I decided to give him one more shot and unfriend him if he posts another one.

    What irked me more about the WHATEVER exchange (aside from the complete lack of intelligent thought) was that the IFB (who knows me personally) was letting her sister (who has never met me) go ballistic all over me, and then she agreed with her. Why would you let someone be so rude to someone you (allegedly) care about enough to label your “friend”? I hope I wouldn’t let somebody yell at my friend like that. I certainly hope I wouldn’t then proceed to AGREE with the content of the yelling!

    And these are the same people who will, five minutes later, decry the loss of “civility” in our society. So let me pose this question: which is less “civil” – to not say “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” after every request issued by your parent; or to do the FB equivalent of shouting down a dissenting opinion with emotionally/politically charged language?

  200. @ Pam:

    “two was a conspiracy-theory link that the shooting was a ruse by the NWO/UN/government/anti-gun lobby to disarm America and enslave the populace”

    This just HAD to be from InfoWars. Only InfoWars could come up with something that ridiculously far-fetched and stupid.

  201. Hester wrote:

    @ Pam:
    “two was a conspiracy-theory link that the shooting was a ruse by the NWO/UN/government/anti-gun lobby to disarm America and enslave the populace”
    This just HAD to be from InfoWars. Only InfoWars could come up with something that ridiculously far-fetched and stupid.

    It wasn’t from InfoWars, actually, although he did post some InfoWars links as well. This was just a random conspiracy theorist’s blog post (here’s the link if you want to subject yourself to it, but be warned, it’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read http://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/urgent-update-on-connecticut-shooting/). She opens by complaining that the reporters weren’t asking detailed questions of the surviving children – the fact that they’re in shock and need to be seen by trained counsellors doesn’t seem to occur to the writer – and it goes downhill from there.

    This now-unfriended guy also frequently talks about how Hitler and Pol Pot also took away guns. And of course every source you refer to that isn’t one of his pet sites is part of the ‘lamestream media’, so yep, every opposing view is simply shouted down. I’d argued with him on things previously, then just tried to ignore it, but simply decided I was over it. I almost unfriended him after he made similar comments after Aurora, Colorado (I’d actually flown out of Denver 16 hours earlier, so that one felt way too close to home) but decided to give him another chance, but seeing every post of his was just making me upset.