Searching for answers
As a benumbed, bewildered nation continues to grieve over the unspeakable horror that occurred Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, what are the questions we should be asking ourselves today and tomorrow and the day after?
Should we be asking ourselves how we can improve the identification or diagnosis of deeply troubled people who need professional help to keep them from doing harm to others and themselves?
Should we be asking ourselves why, in case after case, we realize the warning signs were there but the follow-through was not?
Should we be asking ourselves what more we can do to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, the deranged and the unstable?
Should we be asking ourselves how we can make our schools, shopping malls, movie theaters and workplaces safer — and how we most effectively allocate resources toward that goal?
Should we be asking ourselves what role popular culture plays in mass shootings, through movies and books where violence and mayhem are presented as a stylized art form, often delivered in the guise of a hero performing a noble mission?
Should we be asking ourselves what role the media plays in its wall-to-wall, invasive coverage of such events?
Should we be asking ourselves to what degree the anger and vitriol so often on display in public life — and especially in social media — may help cultivate seeds of paranoia and murderous rage?
Should we be talking about the importance of nurturing children inside stable family structures, of providing love and assurance?
Should we be talking about the importance of community and caring for one another?
Should we be talking about the process of healing, about binding wounds, drying tears and trying to make sense of the senseless and find solace in this suffering?
Should we be talking, period?
Yes — to all of the above.