Saturday Mourning

Published on December 17th, 2012

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

I woke up the day after the Connecticut elementary school massacre with literal tears in my eyes.  I had dreamt of the shootings, and my grief was palpable.

I peeked in on my one “baby,” asleep in his bed, safely home from college for Christmas break. I called the second one, who lives away from home, just to hear his voice.

For a full day I had listened to the journalists, politicians and talking heads analyze, scrutinize and pick apart every little detail of the destruction, (despite the fact that so many details were unknown.) I heard one CNN reporter argue fiercely for action on gun control measures so that she wouldn’t be “standing in front of a camera three weeks from now at another tragedy.”

Did she really think it was that simple? That one or two public policy changes would be the magic potion to prevent future horrors? Would it be lesser access to guns? Greater access to treatment for mental illness? Would a reduction in violence on video games be the quick fix?

While we surely need to look at all of these important issues, I suspect that the changes needed are much bigger than the passage of a new law; it’s a cultural change that we need.  I hate to be a one-note Kathy, but what our society is lacking is fundamental respect for human life. We need to model the virtues of respect, love, generosity, and selflessness. We need standards, ethics, family, and God…in the home, in the workplace, and in the classroom.

I pondered these thoughts as I continued my Saturday morning errands. Perhaps it was my imagination, but parents seemed to be holding their children closer, check-out cashiers seemed friendlier, drivers more courteous.

I think that’s a good start.

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