Reactions to shooting scattered

This is more rambling than most of my ramblings, so please forgive me. But Friday's shootings in Newtown have left me unable to keep a straight thought. I can't imagine how it is for parents, and I'm glad I only have to imagine at this point.

I've heard a lot of reactions to the shootings, and some I just want to dismiss as quickly as possible, so here goes.

n Trust me, we ARE blaming the shooter. We don't want to enable another one.

n If we wait for the people pushing a status-quo agenda to say today's the right day to discuss an issue, we'll never discuss an issue.

n We want to arm teachers to keep kids safe, but we've had election cycles where teachers like the ones who saved children in Newtown were called lazy union thugs who didn't care about kids. So we'll arm them, but we won't let them unionize for hazard pay or additional training?

n We do need to look at mental health, and make sure it isn't cost-prohibitive. We also need to remove stigmas surrounding mental health and evaluate an industry where for-profit prescription drugs now kill more people than street drugs.

One common phrase, though, I can't summarize in a paragraph — the notion that God's turned his back on us, because we've turned our backs on him. It's such a cafeteria mentality: You take what sounds good that day, and leave everything else where it is.

n If you imply that bad things happen because there's no public prayer, then what of the bad things that existed right next to public prayer? There were times where there was prayer in school, but no African-American children. Why was God absent or idle then, or when "separate but equal" was the wink-nod way to discriminate?

n A friend of mine shared a thought, which I'm paraphrasing below:

"Everybody was disgusted when they found out the Westboro Baptist Church would be picketing funerals of little children in Connecticut, with their hateful belief that the deaths are God's judgment for our tolerance of homosexuality. I'd love to tell non-Christians that 99 percent of Christians don't feel this way, but what do I tell them when they see their Christian friends vocalizing that God doesn't stop these shootings because we don't allow public prayer in schools? Do we really believe that God allowed or caused such a horrible tragedy because we "kicked him out of schools," and does that sound all that different from the Westboro Baptists?

"We're not more upset that public prayer isn't allowed in schools than we are about kids being killed, are we? Do we believe public prayers would have stopped this? We can be sure that one, many, or maybe even all of those parents prayed daily in their homes for their kids, and teachers and children were crying out to God during the shooting … but our all-knowing, all-powerful and majestic God had his hands tied, all because a teacher didn't lead a prayer in public? There's nothing wrong with people asking where God was, or questioning his love and power in hard times. It's part of the grieving process, and the scripture is full of examples."

So that's how I feel. Sorry if it didn't make sense; I'll try to do better the next time.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email:

kwilson@cnjonline.com

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