Photographs of their young, cheerful, innocent faces fill our minds. Photos that could just as easily come from any page of any yearbook of any school of any town in the entire country.
Twenty first graders have been senselessly slaughtered in Newtown, Connecticut. Perishing with them were six faculty members at their school, Sandy Hook Elementary. And the killer’s mother.
What grief. What sorrow. We are emotionally drained. And we ask: why?
Was it really only a few months ago when we awoke to the horrific news of the midnight shootings and mass murders in an Aurora, CO movie theatre?
And the shootings at a Sikh Temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin? And the mall shootings in Oregon. Eighteen people, including a congresswomen in Tucson, Arizona, when six died. We can never forget the school shootings at Virginia Tech, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. Paducah, Kentucky.
Already the Left and Right are out to score points. This will abate, eventually. Hopefully. But will we return to business as usual?
In very difficult times, I often set down the things I know for sure. Here are a few.
1. The Left will scream for more “gun control”, righteous and arrogant that anyone could argue against it.
2. The Right will scream for less “gun control”, righteous and arrogant that anyone could argue against it.
3. They are both wrong. For the left, consider that the same day as the Sandy Hook massacre, a crazed maniac stabbed 22 people in China, where gun control is total. 9-11 was carried out with box cutters and airliners. Oklahoma City required a few tons of fertilizer and fuel oil. For the right consider that killers now wear body armor, attack at night and hit very soft, crowded targets.
4. When I was very young, my dad gave me a penny to play with to distract me as he changed my diapers. Bad idea. I put it in my mouth and swallowed it. For the next few days it was his job to go through my excrement and find the penny. For the righteous left and right, we need to do the same thing. Keep talking, combing through each others’ crap, looking for the gems that can get us forward. As a mantra, ask yourself the question: “Why would a reasonable, rational, intelligent person hold that idea?” Ask it until you can answer it. Respectfully.
5. The world always has had, and always will have, inexplicable pain and evil.
6. Life is an unbelievable miracle. Miracles are not to be understood, but rather appreciated. Enjoy the miracles while you can. The magic spell can end at any moment. Don’t be shy about showing appreciation for all the miracles in your life – i.e. other people, whether family, friends, acquaintances or co-workers.
7. There is a pattern here. Tucson: Jared Laughner. Aurora: James Holmes. Sandy Hook: Adam Lanza. See the pattern? Then let’s go on. … Oregon mall: Jacob Roberts. Virginia Tech: Seung-Hui Cho. Jonesboro, Arkansas: Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden. Columbine, Colorado: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Yes, there you have it. All boys or young men. Very disturbed young men.
Can we finally admit that society is doing our young boys a disservice? I don’t understand it yet, but it’s definitely there. All of this behavior I submit as evidence. And look around a little more: boys are much more likely to drop out of school. End up in juvenile detention or prison. Experiment with drug and alcohol abuse. Five times more likely to have autism.  Four times more likely to have a “successful” suicide attempt.  And much more likely to end up disaffected and unconnected.
My challenge to society is this: take your attention off your preferences for or against guns, and what you think you know. And then ask yourselves, your fellow parents, teachers and counseleors: why are boys becoming so disconnected and disaffected that they take violent action? Talk, listen. Share.
With a heavy heart I wish you peace.
Joe Girard © 2012
 Boys’ Autism rates. http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/04/health/mental-health/autism-sex-differences/index.html
 Suicide rates: http://www.teensuicidestatistics.com/statistics-facts.html