After the Connecticut school massacre: A time to love and a time to hate

People will want to know motivation, extenuating circumstances. As for me, I don’t care. To understand is to justify.
Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, DC, December 17, 2012 ― For everything, there is a season.

King David in his Psalms put it profoundly but simply: “Love the good. Hate evil.” In other words, or rather in my words, let there be no search for “root causes,” no accommodation, no patience, no commiseration for sociopaths who perform their villainous deeds. Let there be no understanding.

Abraham was stopped short from sacrificing the son that he loved, Isaac, to advertise to the world that our children must not be harmed.

Yet here we are, once again, reeling from the tragedy of a psychopath who killed children. 

Last Friday, a shooter went into an elementary school and killed 26 people, including 20 small children. Is there an answer for the criminally insane who walk among us?

Just like post-911, nothing is the same and perhaps nothing will ever be the same after the Newtown killings. We will laugh but without joy. We will dance but move a beat slower. We will sing but without harmony. Christmas and Chanukah will be occasions for anticipation and happiness but will also be times for reflection and remembrance. All that because of what one man did.

Laws from one state to another today support the rights of such demonic individuals over public safety. This, above everything, has to change! First this!

Until then we can only lock our doors tighter and embrace our children more snugly.

People will want to know motivation, extenuating circumstances. This monster, was he mistreated as a child? Was he denied? Was he overindulged? Experts will find that his mother didn’t love him enough or maybe she loved him too much. As for me, I don’t care. To understand is to justify.

Others will say that we have to examine ourselves. What did we do wrong? At Sandy Hook we did nothing wrong. This was a bad man. Period.

How could we have stopped this? Is it a flaw in our culture? Are the movies to blame…TV…radio…music…the Internet?

Yes, some or all of that can light the flame. But in a heart that is heartless and in a mind that is mindless, no spur is needed to spark a rampage of murder – although that joke about “killing all the white people” from Jamie Foxx on Saturday Night Live, only days before the shooting, suddenly has a different ring.

The wicked find a way.

We should be careful against knowing them too well and turn this event into pop culture. We will never know them and when we begin to examine them we run the risk of identifying with them. This can happen, and it did happen to Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, who wrote books about killers and began to forget the victims as they began to glorify the killers … under the notion that they “are human, too.”

They are not human. Humans have a soul. The killer at Newtown, Connecticut had no soul. 

Chaos happens when we bestow our tender mercies upon the depraved.

To know what makes these people “tick” never clarifies, only confounds. They know how to manipulate and how to win our trust, and trick by trick they deceive doctors, lawyers, judges, juries. The same Norman Mailer vouched for an imprisoned killer, got him out of prison, and the killer killed again.

If we fail to distinguish between the bitter and the sweet, we’re asking to be deluged with the bitter because God and the devil can’t co-exist.

Others will say that even criminals merit a second chance. Some, of course, yes. But sociopaths like the murderer of 20 children? Never.

Even in the grave he deserves no second thought.

As for me, at the moment neither in my Jewish soul nor in my Christian fellowship can I find the means to extend forgiveness. I cannot find the reflex.

We have it from tradition that those who are merciful to the wicked will one day be wicked to the righteous. From King Solomon we have it that everything has its season. Our doctors of divinity will have to teach us at what season we can begin the healing. As for a time to love, we can do this right now, first by praising, by loving, by blessing the people of Newtown, Connecticut.

People will want to know motivation, extenuating circumstances. This monster, was he mistreated as a child? Was he denied? Was he overindulged? Experts will find that his mother didn’t love him enough or maybe she loved him too much. As for me, I don’t care. To understand is to justify.

 

Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba DeadlineThe Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and  Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.


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Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard enjoys international fame as a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, which was turned into film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir Escape From Mount Moriah has been acclaimed for excellence and a movie version was an official selection at CANNES. Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer. Engelhard’s journalism covers all topics, with special focus on  the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe. He can be contacted at www.jackengelhard.com

 

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