Sunday, December 29, 2013

Newtown, Connecticut: Mass Murder, Assumptions, and Judgment


(Andrew O'Reilly, via Fox News Latino, used w/o permission.)
"The grave of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene at the Newtown Village Cemetery. Ana Grace's parents began the Ana Grace Project shortly after he[r] death to help communities identify children with mental problems and works to prevent similar tragedies to the Sandy Hook shooting. (Photo: Andrew O'Reilly)"

Sandy Hood Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, is in the news again.

Someone killed about two dozen people there last December, most of them children. He then killed himself.

Authorities have released documents which give a bit more information about the killer than we had last year. He was a young man, and apparently not a particularly happy one.

I am sorry that he is dead, for several reasons: and very sorry indeed that so many innocent people stopped living that day.

Assumptions

I don't think more than a few crackpots will assume that elementary schools should be closed because they cause mass murders, or that automobiles should be banned because they make people kill children.

Given some of today's largely-unconsidered assumptions, though, other goofy ideas may get seriously discussed.

It's possible that the young man had Asperger's syndrome. It's not associated with violent behavior, but it's a "syndrome," and many folks are nervous about 'crazy people.'

The killer was home schooled: for reasons that are obvious, given what we're learning about his behavior.

I don't think folks with Asperger's syndrome should be locked up, or that home schooling leads to mass murder: but my kids have been home schooled, and I've been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome — and you know what those people are like.

Judgment, Good and Otherwise

Adam Lanza was 20 when he killed his mother, 20 first-graders, another six adults, and finally himself. As I said before, I'm sorry that all those folks are dead: including Adam Lanza.

Families and friends of the victims have suffered a great personal loss, and we have all lost whatever those 28 people might have contributed to our world. That's not the only reason for sorrow over their deaths, though.

Human life is sacred, and murder is wrong: even when the victim is oneself. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258, 2259-2262, 2268-2270, 2280-2283)

I think what Adam Lanza did was very wrong. There is no reasonable excuse for murder or suicide. Don't expect a rant about 'that sinner over there' going to Hell, though. I've read about the fellow who prayed to himself, and the one who had some sense. (Luke 18, 10-14)

I'm a Catholic, and although I'm expected to notice whether behavior is good or evil — judging the spiritual state of others is strictly against the rules. It's also a profoundly bad idea.

I've got this one life, followed by a performance review. (Matthew 7:5, Romans 2:1-11, Hebrews 9:27, Catechism, 1021-1022, 1749-1756, 1777-1782, 18612283)

After that there's creation's closing ceremony, and that's another topic. (May 21, 2011)


(From Hieronymus Bosch, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

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