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Jesus Wept – Sandy Hook Elementary School

December 15, 2012


I offer here an image for reflection, a painting by artist Daniel Bonnell titled “Jesus Wept.” I have published it before, with permission, on the occasion of the death of my mother-in-law and of a former student in a car crash. The painting is still weekly sought out on this blog for comfort and companionship. It captures much of what I believe God offers us in this initial moment of tears, grief and supplication.



First, On Gun Control:

We need national restrictions, regulations, and controls over guns. We are an ill society addicted to violence and weapons. Here are two ways to inform your advocacy: The Presbyterian Policy Statement Gun Violence and Gospel Values and these resources from the Presbyterian Mission Agency called Trigger: Understanding the Ripple Effect of Gun Violence. Reinhold Niebuhr once said that humanity’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but humanity’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. The same may be said about the control and regulation of guns.


Second, On Mental Illness and Mental Health:

We also need to address our national failure to address mental illness. Mother Jones has collected an astounding database of information on mass killings in the United States and the relation to mental illness, including this Guide to Mass Shootings in the United States. But I could not put it better than this facebook post by Brian Lynn of Chicago, sent from his phone earlier today:

There are a lot of comments about gun control in the wake of this morning’s horribly tragic shooting in Connecticut. And while I’m in support of those gun laws being reexamined, frankly, I think a much more important topic to discuss is the lack of appropriate and quality mental health care.

I’m typing on a cell phone, so I’ll keep my opinion short. But there are many more people in America with mental health issues that are left untreated (no insurance, social taboo, misdiagnosis, etc) than there are people with access to weapons and a will to do harm.

Should there be more effective gun laws? Absolutely. Should the Supreme Court stop arbitrary redefinition of the 2nd Amendment in order to justify the continued accessibility of high power and semi-automatic weapons to under qualified people? Of course.

Should the American people demand from their Senators and Representatives new, better and more complete laws to take into account the millions of Americans suffering from PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (and the list goes on…), to provide for them better and more accessible care, and to discourage our communities from thinking that therapy and psychiatric evaluation/treatment is something to be embarrassed about? A RESOUNDING YES!!! It’s about time!!!

My heart is broken today. As a parent, as a supporter of education, as an American and as someone who values psychological therapy.

Here are resources from the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network.


Act I: Cry. Grieve. Pray.

Act II: Get Angry. Act.

More to come ….

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carole Marsden permalink
    December 15, 2012 9:58 am

    I am torn,I am in tears,I am a nurse,I am not a mom-God understood my life so that did not happen but my tears flow for those families and for our country. I don’t understand our country and our laws.Sandy Hook is like the WhitePlains I grew up in the 50s and 60s. I am ANGRY and thankful we have a God that understands this anger. Childhood is supposed to be a magical,loving,time and our nation’s children have lost that and it is beyond tragic. We need to handle this NOW. what are other countries doing that we are not? why are we so dang politically correct? Why do we publicize these earthly satans? How many others must die for this horror to stop? I have seen psyche patients. I had a nurse friend killed by a psyche patient. Why do we let these people out because we don’t have money to fund them-how do we fund all these tragedies? You cannot put a price on the lives that have been shattered. I am going to hug my nieces now-they may be grown but they will always have my heartstrings. I fear for our country and I am praying for it and the generations behind me.


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