Be horrified, but then act
The Kansas City Star
Two major tragedies occurred last Friday:
In Newtown, Conn., at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, six teachers and 20 children were murdered by a lone gunman.
Twenty-six families bereaved. Twenty-six souls destroyed from the face of the earth.
Hundreds of lives directly touched by tragedy.
Here’s the second tragedy: Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan started his statement on the tragedy with these words:
“School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies. ..”
School shootings are always horrific tragedies?! They have become so commonplace, that we can say, “School shootings are always … .”
We should engage in soul-searching, wearing sackcloth and ashes, in honest contemplation for a day before we speak; then ask ourselves:
How did we get to this place?
What is the matter with us, that we allow this to continue?
What does it mean that we will just go on, in a day or two, and most of us won’t even interrupt our schedules for an hour?
We are horrified: but we don’t even stop what we are doing? What is the matter with us? Have we become so robotic, so glib, that all we can do is watch a television screen and mutter “tut tut?” Has life become so cheap?
We need to ask God for forgiveness that we are horrified but do nothing.
“School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies…,” please pass the chicken.
The second tragedy exceeds the first, because this will happen again, and the reaction will be even less dramatic. We need to ask ourselves, “Who we are?”
And we need to pray for forgiveness, for creating a nation in which people can murder little children with semi-automatic weapons, and nothing changes.
Rabbi Mark H. Levin serves at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park.