On Friday, we were all shocked and stunned to hear of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. It was an unspeakable crime.
Every time I see a headline of human tragedy, particularly involving large numbers of innocent people, I can’t help putting it in the context of abortion. There’s a noon Mass that I sometimes frequent and one of the attendees, when asked to share additional prayers for the faithful, always reminds us to pray for the 3,000 innocent, unprotected, unborn babies who will be aborted that day and to pray for their mothers. It chokes me up. These children have lives full of promise and hope before them and they are killed in their mother’s womb, what should be the safest place they will ever experience.
Ben Stein has a good piece reflecting on Friday’s tragedy. He asks a provocative question which reinforces my focus on the abortion discussion:
[Why] are these killers always men? What is it that we teach our young men in this world that makes them think it’s a mark of manliness to kill the unarmed and innocent? Whatever it is, it’s disgusting. It’s not manly to kill any unarmed human. It’s miserable, crawling cowardice.
What is it that we teach them? Mo. Teresa answered this very question in 1994 when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. She stood before President Clinton and the First Lady, both outspoken supporters of abortion and she said:
But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?…
By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. [Full text here.]
Almost as soon as the news of the shootings broke, there were calls for increased gun control.
I suggest, instead, that we look at our broader cultural experience. Not only do we, as a nation, protect the so-called right of women to kill their unborn children; but we glorify random violence. The perpetrator of Friday’s massacre was an avid player of violent video games. Surely, his thinking had to have been shaped by countless hours spent in front of a screen where he mindlessly murdered human looking forms.
And then, there’s also the family. I’ve yet to hear of anyone involved in a killing spree like this who didn’t have some serious family dysfunction at home. Yes, having divorced parents is a form of family dysfunction. Sometimes a divorce may be necessary, but the point is that there are hundreds of thousands of children experiencing family breakdown or “incomplete families” as John Paul II put it. I’m not suggesting that we blame the family of Adam Lanza; I’m assuming they did the best they could. I am suggesting that we examine what we can do to strengthen families.
The family is a child’s first experience of reality. If the family cannot offer that foundation, the child is already at a disadvantage, especially if the child is also suffering from a mental illness. Then put the child in a world where he learns at an early age that the most innocent human beings are not protected. Add to that a steady diet of violence, particularly in video games where he himself commits the violence, and you’ve got a recipe for destruction and dysfunction that has little to do with guns. It’s about evil. And evil will use whatever means necessary to accomplish its goal.
For the record, the internet abounds with all sorts of instructions on how to wage mass destruction without guns. Are we going to call for a ban on the internet?
Abortion has created a society with multiple personality disorder. On the one hand, we proclaim that every person is created equal and has equal rights under the law, unless of course that person has not been birthed and is not wanted. However, if that person’s mother wants him, then many states will protect the right of that person to be free from harm even before birth.
We are a society that places our hope in its youth, as long as we allow them to be born, meeting some arbitrary standard.
If one doesn’t have a strong personal grounding, things can become very confusing and that’s all that evil needs to take root: confusion.
It is my hope and prayer that the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary will at least teach us to better love and protect innocent human life. However, it’s a lesson that comes at a dear, dear price.