The Unthinkable

Greg Westfall (Creative Commons)


When the unthinkable happened in Newtown, Connecticut, I was asked what I thought.  I gingerly, as diplomatically as possible, tried to tip-toe carefully through the land-mine (pun intended) of the discussion surrounding guns, control, freedoms, mental illness, etc.  When asked what I thought, I hate to say this, my response was, “Am I the only one who saw this coming?”  I couldn’t have been the only one to see this coming.  Of course plenty of pundits have since said the same thing, but I’m sorry we saw this tragic event coming and we were all so neutered.

Dozens of years ago a dear friend of mine would not let her kids play violent video games.  Her kids badgered her. Her husband questioned her. The parents of her children’s friends asked her to lighten up. My friend held firm. The kids could not play video games where they were lured into killing animated people. Period. End of subject. Not gonna happen. Ever.

I loved my friend’s posture and position. Her suspicion was that there would come a day when kids were desensitized to killing – animated or physical. She could see the day and wanted to protect her kids from that desensitization. She’s a good mom. I love her for that and a 1000 other reasons. She is quite often the single flame of light in a dark room  …  the single clear cogent thinker amidst too many murky words.

So, yes, I saw Newtown, Connecticut coming  … from a million miles away. And I hated it. Knew it would come. Didn’t know the when, where or how, but I knew it would come. And I’m sorry. Deeply sorry.


My fear following this shooting was only one thing – that nothing would change. That people would forget. Time would heal. We’d all move on. That politicians would bury this problem under the reams of other pressing problems they have. And so far, I’m not convinced any real change is going to occur, and that’s a shame.  A shame times 28 in Newtown. A shame for every child killed in Chicago last year (please read the attached article to see the reference point here.) A shame any time a child senselessly dies at the other end of a gun. A gun. Honestly. How we abuse our freedoms. Will we ever learn?

Please read this article by Jim Wallis; and as always, you’re free and welcome to let me know what you think.

I’m praying.  I know you are too.

Peace and love,




  • Chuck says:

    Please check out this item from the Episcopal News Service today: “Cathedral dean leads assault-weapons ban press conference in prayer” God bless Rev. Gary Hall ….

  • Janet says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Michelle’s comments and Chuck’s. I grew up in a military family in Alaska and Colorado when both were still “in the sticks”. We had a gun case with a glass front anda lock on it. Dad had various hand guns in hidden places that he told us about. I learned to shoot a .22 when I was in 7th grade, taught by my father.
    I became a deputy sheriff when I was a single parent. I taught my son to respect the power of guns and the dangers of them as did my Father with me.

    Never ever in my wildest dreams did the idea of taking one of the guns and hurting someone with it ever cross my mind, my sibling’s minds, my friends minds. Or my son’s mind.

    Guns may have gotten bigger and faster with more bullets over the hundreds of years we have had them around, but by far the biggest change over the years has been in the breakdown of families, lack of respect by children to parents and teachers and teachers, no more going outside and playing with other children, etc., and in society with video games and movies that depict violence and killing.
    So banning guns of any type will not fix this.
    Hand gun bans exist in DC. Hmm, crime is still way way up there, because now only the criminals have guns and people can’t protect themselves.
    Schools here in Alaska have an armed security guard already, and have had them for quite some time. Banks have guards, the President does, Congress has tight security—why is it we left the kids out unprotected?

    And why can’t we examine what the media and society are teaching and showing our children-and adults-about violence, sex, drugs, etc.?

    Are we that afraid as a society to look at ourselves and what we’ve become and instead will continue to point the finger of blame elsewhere-at inanimate objects??

    Ban all guns, and there are still, other objects/weapons-will we be banning all types of knives, including steak knives next, when that becomes the next weapon of choice and still never look at what makes someone do this kind of violence?!

  • Cary Becker says:

    Please continue to hope and pray for real change. The people of Newtown are committed. See Sandy Hook

  • Michele says:

    I liked the NRA article, and I agree with the author whole-heartedly. I do think there is a place for gun ownership in the home for protection, unfortunately, there are bad people out there with guns. Responsible gun ownership is important…I agree with what you said about the abuse of our freedoms. Unfortunately, this freedom is completely abused. It’s a scary world for children…and teachers!

    I LOVE what you said about violent video games. I do not let my kids play video games. In fact, they are sort of the oddballs that are “deprived” of Xbox and the like. I couldn’t be happier and they truly don’t seem to care. They notice, but they don’t seem to miss it at all. I do let them have very limited time playing games like ‘Mindcraft’ or educational games, but that is about it for simulation games. I am a big outdoors woman, so they get to experience REAL life–and are not confused by simulations that are seemingly real. They are refreshed by reality, not drained by simulations on the screen.

    As an educator, it is very disturbing when you see very young children (preschool, kinders,etc) who are exposed to these games and you can see the impact it is having on them. Many of them mutter violent gun sounds to themselves and seem lost in a fantasy land. They suffer from ADD or ADHD and have poor communication skills with others. It’s sad to think that this is their understanding of how life works. You can spot them in a classroom. It’s very sad.

    I think there needs to be a closer look at these video games and who is able to access them. Parents use them as a way to “babysit” their children and it really is taking its toll on the education of our youth. I would love to see more debate about this in society. We need to start thinking about the impact of these violent games.

    What happened to the days when kids would drop their backpacks at the door and run outside to play? We need to get back to this type of living…parenting. The family….Giving out kids the opportunity to have a childhood with a focus on the outdoors. Luckily, we have this focus going on in our public schools thanks to Richard Louv and the Children and Nature Network. (

    We need to share more about the benefits of outdoor classrooms and natural teachers. I feel the movement is growing and I for one have hope that it will continue to grow and make an impact. I do have faith in the American people!

Leave a Comment