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There is No Why

The terrible tragedy of Newtown Connecticut rocked our world on Friday.  Other than the initial headlines and President Obama's eloquent and moving address to the nation, I have avoided the mass media coverage.  I haven't even listened to NPR.   All I do is leak.

I am sure it has probably already started. It probably started even before the final body counts and the identity of the shooter were known.  

The question of WHY.  

Here's the thing: we can ask all the questions we want. Journalists and pundits can debate these issues, dissect the facts, and hypothesize until they turn blue in the face. The simple truth is that there is no WHY. 

We can question whether mental illness played a role in Adam Lanza's crime but there is no reason to do so.  Show me a similar incident in history when mental illness was not a factor.  People living in stability don't kill other people. 

We can question whether more security at the school such as armed guards or stricter standards for access could have prevented the tragedy.  It doesn't matter. When someone has set their mind to do harm, they will often seek a loophole and find a way. We saw it in 9/11. We saw it in Oklahoma City. We see it in every act of terrorism. Locks are for honest people. 

We can question whether someone besides the shooter is to blame. Did someone see signs of instability but not warn authorities in a timely manner? Did "the system" fail Mr. Lanza because he didn't have adequate support to manage his mental illness? Did someone provide access to weapons, legally or illegally? Did his parents raise him poorly? Was he bullied as a child? There must be someone to blame.  

We can question whether gun control is stringent enough. It seems that all we do is question it. There is a continual argument regarding the fine line between my liberty and your safety.  

I don't ask these questions. I don't ask WHY because I don't see any value in the process. When a person is murdered, there is no WHY. There is only loss. There is empty space. There is grief. 

On a purely rational level, we can, of course learn from our mistakes. We can change the future by mediating risk.  We can enact laws that lessen our risk for harm. 

We cannot insure our safety under any and all circumstances.  
We cannot bring back the dead. 

On Friday, the phrase "there are no words" rang almost continually like a litany on social media. Like a choral prayer for the bereaved, this refrain sounds louder than anything else. The silence is deafening. 

Instead of asking why, make it a point to search for peace, light, and hope in a world that has been shrouded in darkness.  We must remember the victims, the survivors, and all that is good in the world. That is the only way the world keeps turning.     

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