In the nights since the shootings in Connecticut last week I’ve been losing a lot of sleep. I lie awake in bed, but I don’t worry about gun control, school safety or even the safety of my own children. No, I’ve been losing sleep over us, the American public, who seem duplicitous in our grief over the tragic deaths in Sandy Hook.
Children are killed in our country every day through neglect and violence. In the state of Connecticut alone over 13,000 abortions were performed in 2010; that works out to about 35 children killed every day. Thousands of children around the world die on a weekly basis for reasons ranging from malnutrition to open war. Thousands of children around the world are sexually abused on a daily basis.
What is it about the Sandy Hook violence that is different?
Do we feel a poignant sense of loss because these are the children the world wanted? What does that say about us?
Is it because they were white kids from an affluent neighborhood? What if they had been Hispanic kids from El Paso?
Do we see them as our own children and fear for the safety of our own families? Are we THAT selfish?
How can we, on one hand, hear about ten year-old girls working as prostitutes in Thailand and only shed a tear or two (and maybe write a check), then turn around and act outraged at the shooting of ten-year-olds in our own country?
How can we keep ourselves comfortably ignorant of the fact that for every three live births in Connecticut one child is aborted, then turn around and decry gun violence when 20 school-aged children are murdered?
I am in no way trying to detract from the loss and tragic waste this shooting entailed.
I am trying to understand why people think the murder of these children is ‘worse’ than the thousands of acts of violence that affect children around the world every day, as evidenced by the highly emotional reactions involved.
I don’t want our vision to be limited by our press and politicians to a single issue; I want us to think bigger. I want us to embrace the primacy of all human life and consider what we can do today to protect and defend that most valuable commodity.