The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, last week spread grief and turmoil across the country, including to towns and neighborhoods throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
Many of Patch's contributors have responded with thoughtful and thought-provoking posts to continue the local conversation about what the mass murder of children and their teachers means, and how we should respond.
Here is a glimpse at some of their blogs and opinion pieces, in case you missed them:
Michael Tanner on asking the "tough questions" of God:
Here's a thought. If you truly want to know where God was on the morning of the Newtown, CT school shooting; why don't you just ask Him? Why don't you just dust off your Bible, humble yourself to your knees, bow your head and ask God? I'm certain He will answer your question if you earnestly ask Him. But, be forewarned, you may not like His answer. I'm sure I'm not the only person to whom God has answered; "why do you care now, you've never cared before.
Bill Thrasher on keeping our kids safe:
There is some evil confluence of time and space that must come together in the sickened and warped minds of those who would perpetrate such an act, and we as a society must do what it takes to see that it doesn't happen in our community. Possibly the simplest solution is to place trained and armed police officers in every school in our community, along with the necessary resources to carry out their duties. Safety and security must be the first consideration with zero thought to how much it may cost.
Mike Holzknecht on hunters and preserving gun rights:
In 2000, at the NRA convention, and again in 2003, when Charlton Heston held that iconic musket over his head and said, "From my cold dead hands," he was more right than most folks realize.
Heston held the weapon of choice for real hunters. It was a rifle that could hit a buck at 500 yards but not a room full of children. He held a weapon that looked at home over a fireplace and could be used to defend a home without putting it at increased risk. Muskets are notoriously poor weapons when it comes to drive by shootings, mass murders, suicide and domestic violence.
Temple Kol Emeth Rabbi Erin Boxt on loving your neighbor as yourself:
Because you know what? Gun control is not the problem. Mental health is not the problem. The root of the problem is our inability as human beings to “V’ahavtah lereiacha kamocha”: Love your neighbor as yourself.
We are ALL created equal. This is absolutely true. However, what we are not able to recognize, realize and understand is that while we are all created equal, we are not all the same. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Each of us has things we need to work on. Our realization of this will eventually lead us to developing the abilities to work with all humans equally.
Erin Ahrens on the Newtown tragedy and Christianity:
We don't have control of everyone around us. We can't stop the mentally ill. We can be in prayer, but I think that it really is ALL of our responsibility to try to help identify people who are mentally ill. What happened Friday was a sad case of a mentally unstable person doing something that had this horrible and tragic ending. Does it mean that G-d wasn't there? No. He was. He was there in the teacher that pulled a child from gun fire, in the closet they barricaded themselves in, the police, firemen, ambulance workers, and other public responders that arrived shortly after it all began. G-d is there, and we need to stop placing blame, and instead, pray for those who are mentally ill, and pray for that community.
Jason Books on losing a child:
You never get used to standing over your child's grave. Not when it's open, waiting on the coffin to be lowered. Not when the first shovel full of dirt hits the top of the vault. Not when the last shovel full of dirt gets patted into place and the flowers get draped over the mound. Not even when, eight years later, you stand there to just remember that she existed.
on supporting children after Sandy Hook:
It is important that parents, teachers, school counselors, mental health professionals, government officials and other community members work together to communicate about how we can best support our community's children in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Open dialogue is key. Don't hesitate to reach out for help in knowing how best to support yourself and your children through this difficult time.
Joe Dennis with a call to ban semiautomatic weapons:
Doing the math, over the past 18 years, mass shootings involving legally purchased assault weapons resulted in 160 innocent deaths, while mass shootings involving illegally purchased assault weapons resulted in 20 deaths. Obviously, assault weapons and the ease of purchasing them is not the sole reason 160 people have lost their lives. However, one cannot deny the link between the spike in mass killings and the expiration of the assault weapons ban.
What are your thoughts on the Newtown shootings? Share them in the comments below.