Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Maybe There Is No Answer


With the recent tragedies and shootings around the nation, I find myself like most of you wondering "Why?".

I do not wonder why it happens, because most of the time there is no good reason or even a reason that will in any way soothe the pain inflicted or make enough sense so that we can point to it and say "Oh, that's why." I wonder why we blame the people who we blame for the act itself.

Take the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut for example. Residents of Newtown were quick to offer sympathy to the families that had lost their loved ones, and we as a nation offered up our sympathy and condolences too.

However, there was one victim that very few were able to bring themselves to pity. That person being the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza, the first victim of the shooting. Many could not bring themselves to think of her as a victim, but rather as somehow almost an accomplice in the carnage. She had to do have done something wrong. She had to have not taught her son something that would have kept him from committing such a horrible act.

But is this really true? What if she did everything exactly right as a parent, and yet there was still no way to stop the incident from happening? What if things just happen no matter how we try to prevent them or do our best to point children in a different direction than one of violence?

I understand that this is a very unsettling thought. And I do not have clear answers to any of those questions. But shouldn't we ask these questions before pointing our fingers at the parents?

It is my belief that when tragedy strikes most people just look for something to blame. We need that one thing that can serve as the face of it so that we can direct our anger at it in order to move forward, in order to grieve. We make our own devils and our own beasts of burden to carry the weight of the fears such tragedy inspires within us.

We try to put bandages on the problem. We make it seem like a big effort will be made, and, with such and such solution, the problem will go away. Gun control legislation gets waived in our faces to give the public some semblance of a solution and that something can be done. We say we'll start screening for mental health completely ignoring the fact that in most cases the guns were just there anyway.

I would love to be able to think the problem will be solved some day. I would love to look at the newspaper or turn on the television confident that I'll never see or hear again about how a classroom of children met their end leaving parents with only memories and unfulfilled dreams for their children that can never reach their conclusion to cling to.

However, I can't. I don't know that there ever will be a solution. I don't know that there ever will be an end, or if we'll ever know or be able to pinpoint a real reason for these tragedies. Unfortunately, if there's anything I've learned in my short time on this earth, it is that some times things just happen.


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