Sandy Hook Elementary School became the epicenter of the latest national tragedy Friday, and days later we still are faced with more questions than answers. And much like the other massacres that have occurred this year, including the horrific shooting spree at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek that claimed the lives of six innocent people in August, what took place at that school in that idyllic Connecticut town simply defies logic and reason on all levels.
The questions we are asking may never be answered. What possessed the gunman to break into a school and shoot 20 children multiple times at point-blank range, and kill six adults along the way? The gunman killed his mother to start the murderous spree, and ended his own life in the school that put the small community of Newtown on the national map for all the wrong reasons.
The public outcry by some for gun-control laws was immediate and expected. But stronger gun-control laws alone will not prevent deadly shootings like those that took place at Columbine, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook. A piece of legislation will not solve the deadly violence that too often rocks our world and causes us to feel helpless and fearful for the safety of our own children.
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who gunned down all the innocent children and teachers at Sandy Hook, struggled to interact with others in social settings, and apparently had some form of social or mental disorder. Would Lanza have killed his mother and 26 others if his access to guns was limited? It's impossible to say, but it is safe to say the massacre in Connecticut has given life to the debate on legislation that would ban assault-style weapons in this country.
The question of whether or not this country should have a ban on assault-style, semi-automatic weapons has been a thorny political issue for a long time, and it may not be answered in the wake of this latest tragedy. But the social disconnect, the hatred, the evil, the anger, whatever it was that prompted Lanza to act out and kill dozens of innocent people, that should be just as much a focus of the investigation into this tragedy as is the scrutiny of the weapons he used.
In his speech on Sunday, President Barack Obama said it is time for all of us to change our ways to ensure the safety of children. From our perspective, that change should not be thwarted by political ideologies or focused only on banning a particular type of firearm. That change must begin with all of us accepting that when people struggle to fit into our world, for myriad reasons, we all need to pay attention.
Whether it is a family member, a friend or a neighbor down the street, we should all look for ways to help those who are lost in the fast-paced, violent, attention-starved society that we live in today. If we don't help those who are struggling with life, we are simply creating a more dangerous world where senseless acts of violence will rule the day.