By Kevin Howell
I had to turn off the TV…
I had to close the web page…
I logged off facebook…
I couldn’t look at the image on the front page of the paper.
I don’t know how to even label what happened in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 14, but I couldn’t read about, listen to, or look at any images of it any more. It was too much for my soul handle.
Starting with Columbine, I’ve seen too much of this in my lifetime. Each incident just seems worse than the previous one. How do we, as a nation, as a community, as people of God respond to this?
We can talk about gun-control legislation and beefed-up security at schools, but that won’t solve the issue. It may prevent some incidents, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.
Before any person gets to the state of being able to commit such a heinous act, he is just a kid who desperately needs love, needs attention, and needs someone to care about him.
I know there may be serious mental and psychological issues involved in cases like these, but I believe those are just contributing factors to the larger problem.
We need love.
Today, there are people around us who may show no signs of depression, disturbance, or instability, but they may be battling demons within. They could be pushed to the edge and commit evil acts. We’re not detectives, so we can’t probe to see who’s a potential threat. But we can do something. We can simply love.
In fact, it is our responsibility to love. It is our responsibility to care about those around us. Our neighbors, our co-workers, those we run into while shopping, and particularly, the teens and young adults we encounter. We MUST show them that they matter. We MUST show them that someone cares. We MUST show them they are worth our time and attention.
If we are truly fed up with these mass shootings. If we are truly heartbroken by the latest tragedy in Newtown. And if we truly want to see a change in our society, then we wouldn’t just post our disdain on our facebook timelines and twitter feeds, but we would actually take responsibility upon ourselves. We’d take the time, effort, and affection to reach out to love and care about everyone we encounter.
We can’t prevent these tragedies with gun laws, security, or even “bringing back prayer to schools.” But we can go a long way in sparing lives if we each just do our part in loving our community. We’re responsible.
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