Commonwealth Journal

December 14, 2012

The lingering questions will haunt us

By JEFF NEAL, CJ News Editor
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

How do you make sense of the senseless? How do you comment on the unspeakable?
The tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. yesterday is one that has affected us all — especially those of us with children or grandchildren in school. Or with loved ones who work as teachers or school administrators.
The sad fact is that incidents like the Newtown massacre are happening more often. Since 1996, nearly 80 school shootings have occurred worldwide.
People like Michael Carneal, who killed three classmates while they were praying at Heath High School in western Kentucky, are now infamous.
Everyone knows what happened at Columbine.
But I really can’t imagine anything so heinous as to slaughter innocent elementary school students — ages 5 through 10. The monsters who could kill small children are possessed by a whole special kind of evil. They are afflicted by a heightened level of crazy.
And one can not stick his head in the sand. This isn’t an inner-city gangland tragedy where one could be so flippant as to think, “It could not happen here.”
Newtown, by most accounts, was Nirvana.
“We always thought (Newtown) was the safest place in America,” said one parent.
We have talked to local school officials about the incident. We are convinced that our schools in Pulaski County, Somerset and Science Hill are as safe as possible — short of positioning armed guards in the hallways.
Undoubtedly, the lingering questions will haunt us.
Have we done enough? Can we do anything else to help prevent this type of tragedy?
President Obama yesterday promised “action” to aid in preventing these horrible incidents. He didn’t say what those actions might be — I’m anxious to hear his ideas.
Would stricter gun-control laws help? Or would the evil and the insane simply find a way to work around them?
Perhaps media has become too violent. Too visceral. Would more responsibility there help?
Or will these horrible incidents just happen — in all their inexplicable randomness — from time to time, no matter what we do?
I fear all the legislation and safeguards in the world will not completely prevent random, senseless acts of violence.
Perhaps it’s our values as a society we need to change, and our priorities as individuals.
One thing is for certain ... I will be holding my kids a little bit tighter tonight.