[Like GRRM I'm going to talk about something completely unrelated here. Just have to get some things off my chest. It's not often that I use this blog for political/religious commentary but I feel it's warranted this time. Really don't feel like geeking out today anyway.]
The tragedy at Sandy Hook has me a bit out of the loop - the vile actions against the innocent, the unimaginable loss and sorrow - and also how various factions in America are (ab)using the massacre to put forth their political or religious views which sickens and frightens me. Watching it from the other side of the Atlantic I cannot help but think that, for all the great things America stands for, there's a whole lot of people over the sea who behave as if they lived in an underdeveloped desert nation.
Especially eyebrow-raising are the religious commentators who link the school shooting to their ideas that there should be more god in schools (their particular version of god I can only assume). And here I thought their deity was omnipotent and all-present. To me, reading stuff like this is just like reading "American politicians claim that if kids had been a bit nicer, Santa Claus wouldn't have had to make an example at Sandy Hook". Yes, that silly. But the Santa and god's absence from this tragic event - and other tragic events - is one big huge honking signal that they do in fact not exist. Not that it really matters - it's about people, and in this case people willing to use a terrible unfathomable tragedy to further their own causes and agendas. It's a sick world, all right.
What about the availability of fricking firearms? Surely there is a correlation between the number of shootings and the number of shooters? When the obvious is so obvious why do people go around it and invent bizarre, nonsensical suggestions?
Keeping god in schools would prevent such things? Then I wonder just how many cases of child molestation god has prevented in churches and other religious places over the years. The rise of secularization and atheism causes such a tragedy? You don't need gods to have morals. I'm a moral person, and I have never ever believed in the existence of Odin, Zeus, or Huitzilopochtli. What makes a person commit such terrible crimes (and I am obviously reminded of the tragedy in Norway last year where seventy people were brutally murdered) is that these murderers are having complex and disturbing mental problems and these weren't discovered - or bothered with - before it was too late.
When someone says "How can such a thing happen?" it has become a kind of knee-jerk reaction, because it is so tragic you don't know what to say, but I hope most people really do know that there's a variety of complex factors involved in developing a sick mind to the point that it results in a tragedy. Saying "It's god's plan" is a cop-out that goes against all morality and logic, because there is so obviously no fricking plan beyond the deluded criminal's ill-made decisions. If, according to some speakers in the public sphere, god did have a plan and that plan was to have twenty young children brutally killed to tell us there's too little of him in school, it makes no sense. First of all, these children were innocent; they never decided how much god there should be in their school. Second, it makes god just as vile and vengeful and spiteful as he is portrayed in the bible, which for all purposes can be discounted as a reliable source. Third, and hey I've come full circle, it's just an excuse to further certain people's own agendas and that is what is so frightening about America as I see it (from a distance).
Facebook, Twitter, blogs...they are full of people who devote their prayers to the victims of Sandy Hook. It is well meant, I am sure, but prayers are notorious for not, you know, actually working, and it doesn't help anyway. Instead of prayers how about sending a card to one of the bereft families? They can hear your empathy, while the sky wizard remains undeniably silent.
To quote an Internet person and to round off this little post:
"Religion has absolutely nothing to do with this. Morality, kindness, tenderness, charity, forgiveness, courage, bravery; these traits are not in any way the sole province of religion. All of these things can and should be taught to children regardless of whether or not their parents believe in an all-powerful, omniscient super-being."
The murdered children are getting the best Christmas present ever. Put this guy away, please. Wake up. Smell the fricking coffee.