After Tragedy: Reflecting on Newtown and Henan

“I have heard all this before.
What miserable comforters you are!
Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air?
What makes you keep on talking?
I could say the same things if you were in my place.
I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.
But if it were me, I would encourage you.
I would try to take away your grief.” (Job 16:2-5 | NLT)

I don’t have much to say that others have not said.  What I would like to do is to direct you to some articles and blogs that I hope will help you, as they helped me, make sense of the tragedies at Sandy Hook and Chengpeng and remember what I should direct my mind and heart toward after it has passed.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

Rachel Weeping for Her Children by Albert Mohler

We Affirm the Sinfulness of Sin, and the Full Reality of Human Evil
We Affirm the Cross of Christ as the Only Adequate Remedy for Evil
We Acknowledge the Necessity of Justice, Knowing that Perfect Justice Awaits the Day of the Lord
We Grieve with Those Who Grieve
Rachel Wept for Her Children


Dealing with Grief: Five Things NOT To Say and Five Things to Say In a Trauma Involving Children
by Emily Heath

What NOT to say:
1. “God just needed another angel.”
2. “Thank God you have other children” or “You can have more children.”
3. “They were just on loan to you from God.”
4. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
5. “I’m sure it was God’s will.”

What to say:
1. “God does not want this.”
2. “It’s okay to be angry, and I’m a safe person for you to express that anger to if you need it.”
3. “This was not okay.”
4. “I don’t have an easy explanation for this.”
5. “I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I am here to support you.”

Responding to Newtown with Nonviolent Rhetoric by Charles Camosy

“People are responding to the violence of Newtown with a violence of their own: directed against people with whom they disagree and the positions they hold.”

The relationship between gun regulation and crime is complex and messy[…] If we are to have an authentic response to Newtown—and especially if we want to actually get something productive done—we will need to acknowledge and wrestle with this complexity and messiness and try to find a way through it. We will need to respectfully engage and—using nonviolent rhetoric—argue with our public policy opponents. This requires that we move beyond our pro-gun/anti-gun, liberal/conservative binary world view in which part of our identity comes from opposing those “others” who disagree with us. Yes, we should argue for our point of view—but we must at the same time reserve the right to change our mind if we encounter new facts and/or better arguments.”

“Though it is not a reason to avoid policy solutions, I also suspect that gun regulation will not be the ultimate answer to gun violence. These horrifically violent events have their grounding in complicated cultural problems – including problems related to mental illness, gender, and the connection between men’s mental illness and violence more generally.”

Are Israeli Teacher’s Armed?” by Ron Cantor

A response to the inaccurate memes that have over 7,000 likes on Facebook, which suggest that teachers in Israel carry around rifles while school is in session.  Gun laws are actually very strict in Israel, and Israelis are actually a peaceful people when they are not in situations that call them to be up against “existential adversaries” (i.e. when not engaged in armed conflict with Palesine).

I am Adam Lanza’s Mother: A Mother’s Perspective on the Mental Illness Conversation in America” by Liza Long

Gun control, no matter how you feel about it, isn’t the conversation we should be having.  The conversation is about how our society deals with intellectual and emotional disabilities.

Also, the media has the task of letting us know about these events.  However, the American press should be ashamed of itself in the way it presents these events, seeking to get good ratings at the cost of integrity.  Here is what I mean:

And before I close I have another thought for us to consider.  I’ve heard some people proclaim they know for certain that this event and events like it happened because “God is not allowed in schools”.  I’m not sure what they mean by this, considering that children can pray to God and discuss him in their free discussion time.  Some people have clarified that it is because the ten commandments are banned from schools.  Yet this does not explain why a similar tragedy happened at the West Nickel Mines Amish school, so that theory must also go to Hell.  This tragedy certainly happened because someone acted without the spirit of God, either because they consciously submitted to evil in their hearts, and/or an emotional/intellectual disability (perhaps combined with emotional trauma) led them to commit such a deed.  Such things as this are part of a world separated from God, certainly and this has always been so.  But such a truth is beyond politicized lenses can even begin to see.

Now here is a resource for educators with great advice, compliments of Maureen Costello

“A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope,” from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Talking to Children About Violence, National Association of School Psychologists
Listen, Protect and Connect: Psychological First Aid for Teachers and Schools,

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