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Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Crime, Featured, Mental Health, Religion, Society | 24 comments

Why Newtown Children Lost the Right to Life

How can a God who values embryos in the womb deliver 20 innocent young lives to the twitch of a trigger finger?

One unblessed by guidance from a Higher Power but respectful of those who are asks with acute anguish: In shock and mourning, can we reach out to one another?

Those who defend prenatal Right to Life surely can’t believe it stops at birth. Yet, as Barack Obama once indiscreetly observed, so many Americans in bitterness “cling to guns and religion.” How can assault weapons be compatible with Life?

Now, the aftermath of Newtown torments us with how much harder it is to save lives than take them, to cherish rather than destroy human beings. Momentary pressure of a wanton finger undoes years of love, care, training and hard work that went into nurturing young lives in homes, schools and hospitals, leaving those with reverence for them bereft and helpless.

In awe we are all stunned by a sense of human frailty at what we can’t understand or control. As the numbness begins to wear off, apostles of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace,” profession of piety without paying the personal price it demands, are slithering out with rationalizations: more religion, more guns in schools will ease our pain.

Yet most of us, believers or not, surely know better. Celebrating human goodness this season, we can start with what we share, a deep sense that we live in a world of unfathomable shadows beyond what we can explain in words.

For those of faith, Gary Wills offers a reminder…


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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • zephyr

    Something needs to be done. Allowing the NRA, the gun lobby, it’s minions, and pawns to run roughshod over reasoned and mature approaches to gun control needs to end.

  • ShannonLeee

    It is not about the right to life. It is about the protection of religion. Fetuses become future church members and they need guns to protect their church from the state.

    This is why they believe that abortion should be illegal, but dropping bombs on Muslim babies is collateral damage.

    Again, this will be one of those issues that Americans will look back upon in 50 years and wonder how we could be so ignorant. We have always been a little behind the curve on humanity. It would be nice if we could catch up, but we are too young as a nation and still quite naive.

  • KP

    It looks like we may get serious discussion in Washington about gun safety, the purchasing of weapons, assualt rifles, ammunition and mental health. Lets hope that results in helpful legislation.

    I don’t think it is accurate to lump Right to Life with gun issues. As well, I fail to see the correlation between religion and guns. You may be able to point out the connection between religion and Right to Life, but even then, there are plenty of people who self identify as Cathloic or Christian who favor abortion.

    As far as the quote above that was uttered by Obama; not one of my favorites by a man who has made some very thoughtful and compassionate comments in the last few days.

  • zephyr

    Well, count me among those who DO think it’s fair to lump right to life with gun issues – add hawkish ideologies as well. It goes to credibility. If the same folks who want to give “rights” to embryos can only react to this shooting with either silence or the usual NRA talking points then we are talking hypocrisy at the very least. This also holds true for those who claim to be “pro-life” (as if everyone isn’t) but blithely ignore civilian collateral damage in drone strikes as well. IMO the deep divisions in our society are mostly bewtween the reasoned and the immature, those who are concerned with realities and those who settle for BS. How long can we get away with this dynamic? How long do we want to?

  • rudi

    This was an isolated incident done by a sociopath and/or a person mentally ill. This pales in comparison to the terror brought to the world during WWII. The Japanese and Germans were a greater evil perpetuated by nations, not just a lone gunman. How many 5 t0 10 year old children died during WWII?

    • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

      many would say, including myself, that war is not waged by nations, but “done by a sociopath and/or a person mentally ill” at the top, evoking other sociopaths and/or mentally ill persons to do their bidding and intimidating others to show support for the psychopathic. Lack of restraint with regard to human life is at the core of pre-planned murder. It doesnt matter where it takes place. In time, now, ever.

      For many years, I was the sole surviving child of my refugee family. In no way would I equate what happened in Newtown with what happened in Eu during WWII. They are distinctly different for many factual reasons. All are tragedies. There is no usefullness other than the maudlin in comparing them. Just my .02 from direct experience.

  • Of everything I have read about the carnage, this NYTimes article

    is the most devastating: Modest efforts in Newtown to curb unlicensed gun ranges, where assault rifle blasts and explosions have replaced the sounds of hunting rifles, have been met with stiff resistance. For too many residents, hugging an assault rifle is more important than hugging a child.

  • KP

    Hi Z — As far as your comments go “if the same folks who” I agree with you. My point was that because a person is religious doesn’t mean they own guns, are pro gun or would oppose gun legislation. Likewise, because an individual is against abortion does not mean he is advocating assault weapons in homes, anymore than a person who feels abortion is proper and appropriate would necessarily be against gun ownership. Are there people who blithely ignore civilian death, are immature and who settle for BS? Yes there are. I am not defending them. I was hoping to draw a distinction between the issues.

  • KP

    Shaun, I think and hope we are going to see that change. I think the majority of Americans have reached a tipping point on attitudes toward unregulated weapons and that lawmakers and other politicians understand that.

  • ShannonLeee

    KP— I believe Obama was talking about those people that are both religious and anti gun reform.

    and that is a very large group of people that predominately vote Republican.

  • dduck

    What KP said. I hate it when different issued get mixed together, especially if there is a partisan tang to it.
    Rudi, how many kids got killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    The Nazis were all about efficiency of killing and we trumped them in japan.

  • ChiRon

    We most certainly did not trump the Nazis (or the Soviets) in Japan.

  • KP

    Thanks ShannonLeee, I was trying to sort out the article here. I may have missed the President’s comments; but everything I have heard from President Obama so far following the tragedy has been top shelf.

    You said: “…people that are both religious and anti gun reform. and that is a very large group of people that predominately vote Republican.”

    I don’t believe there is a very large group of Americans who are religious and against gun reform. I think that is a very small group that thinks like that. Most Americans do not agree that guns should be banned. However, the majority do believe gun purchases should be legally supervised in a way that is fair, even acceptable. Perhaps we propose to ban assault rifles, license hand guns, increase waiting times, limit who can sell firearms and make brain disease a factor that disqualifies gun ownership the way narcolepsy or repeated DUI takes away one’s legal right to drive.

    If we bring come up with specific, realistic solutions that might actually survive Congress we might avoid the gun issues equivalent of the fiscal cliff ideological standoff (a farce).

    We could begin discussions using pragmatism. The result? You would find that the far left and far right have a lot more in common than not. 1) Simple solutions are no solutions. 2) what happened to the victims and families of those lost could happen to any us. Those are good starting points for discussion. Next, what can we realistically get through Congress to address a combination of mental health and responsible gun supervision.

  • KP

    Thanks for sharing that Dr E. I am glad that you are safe today.

  • sheknows

    The United States is one of the most violent countries in the world, for ALL our political freedoms and advanced technology. But we are only one of them.
    The truth is we humans are just not evolved enough yet as a species.

    The most fearful among us might be called religious fanatics, or cling to weapons to protect themselves from the seen and unseen dangers they believe lurk in every corner. The less fearful are a tiny bit more rational.
    We are still rock throwing and waring tribes. We just have more advanced and deadlier rocks now.

    Those who oppose the use of deadly weapons are the rational among us.

  • ShannonLeee

    KP, I’ll find some legit polling on that for you.

  • ShannonLeee

    it is a year old, but I doubt much has changed between now and then…. outside of a couple thousand dead bodies.

  • KP

    The poll is from September 2010.

    Since then we have had the Gabrielle Gifford shooting in January of 2011 // Just recently we had the Aurora, CO shooting in a theater, July 20th // the Sikh temple in Wisconsin August 5th // the Minneapolis manufacturing plant September 27th // and the horrible Connecticut shooting days ago.

    When that poll was taken Dems had just been hammered at the election booth by the Tea Party, the same Tea Party and Republican party so many are saying is now irrelevant.

    Perhaps we can work together instead of reverting to partisam arguments. I know it’s tempting but for those of us who are centrist it is a tired song and we would like to start encouraging common ground so we can get things done. There is a poll for everything and one to satisfy everyone. It will be 2013 in a few days. Lets work together.

    I do appreciate your time and effort to supply readers with the poll.

  • yoopermoose

    I certainly hope it is not just empty rhetoric coming from Washington about the need for some common sense gun control. The easiest way to start is banning the use of high capacity clips and close the gun show loophole for background checks. I believe the majority of Americans would agree with these small measures that can be accomplished quickly. Perhaps then it would then be easier to work on a more comprehensive gun policy.

  • KP

    SL, the question in the poll never asks whether a responder is anti-gun control. More accurately, it asks if the responder thinks the right to own a gun is important to them.

    Here is the type of poll question that would more accurately support the issue:

    “Do you think Congress should pass legilation that would fairly and reasonably control the sale and registration of firearms?”

    That question, asked today, of the same respondents, would generatet an overwhelmingly affirmative answer. Most people are in favor of fair and reasonable solutions to our problems today.

  • dduck

    Questions about polls: Do you think polls slant the questions to achieve the outcome they are pushing.
    Do you think polls pose questions that are not accurate because the questions are ambiguous, debatable or simply silly.
    Do you think the questions go to the people most likely to be biased in the direction the pollster wants to be the outcome.

  • petew

    I am amazed by what appears to be common paranoia driving the ideologies of the NRA and many others, over the fear that the government itself appears to be scheming against the natural “rights” of all of us to defend our ourselves and our castles.

    The government does not desire to destroy the availability of weapons for those who prefer to have some lethal power to defend themselves against the attacks of others. Instead, those who want “common sense” (a term that although becoming a common cliche is still full of truth) and reasonable gun regulations, merely desire to end the violent deaths of so many innocent people due to the careless use of our handguns. We can be guaranteed that the government is not intent on storming into our homes to confiscate our handguns in some totalitarian effort to control citizens. But, just as other comenters have made mention of, that, even having a drivers license and a registration for our automobiles is just a practical solution which effectively prevents many people from irresponsibly driving their vehicles and gives the police a reasonable data base to aid them in solving crimes.

    This being said, I don’t believe it is fair to accuse people who defend their “right” to have guns (as another commenter said in so many words) of preferring to own a riffle over having, and caring for a child, I think the truth is that (rightly or wrongly) gun advocates are coming from a different understanding of human welfare which includes a individual’s right to defend him or her self and their families from sudden threats in the environment. Accusing others of not caring for human life is not going to convince anyone to change their minds.

    Even those of us who are not religious, or whose faith does not generally involve the ruggedly individualistic ethic of believing that God would want us to be self-reliant and able to adequately defend ourselves, can consider this tragedy a wake up call that asserts human concern for others, which must involve all of us. I’m not sure how as human beings, we can all come together about how to resolve this problem, but, angrily throwing stones at the perceived illogical and fearful attitudes of others is not going to get us anywhere.

    We all want to protect our children, so I would think that, the best way to advance the need for reasonable legislation limiting the rounds delivered by one clip, or closing the loopholes that enable gun shows to sell weapons that we don’t really need, will call for persuading others that this is primarily a practical concern, and not some morally charged conflict about who has the “good” solution versus who has the “bad, or evil one.” I agree that as humans we have hardly progressed beyond the level of throwing rocks and spears at one another, but the mere fact that we value many ways to achieve peace, indicates that all of us have a higher nature, which needs to be acknowledged as being present in all of us—if we are ever able to truly compromise! At least this is my observation and the best way I can express it.

  • KP

    @petew Here him, here him!

    @dduck As you say, the first step when viewing a poll is to apply your questions. Number two would be to question one’s own understanding of the issue or personal motives. My view; the last step in the process is accepting a poll’s results as meaningful relative to a specific issue.

  • dduck

    My first experience with, with a poll-like silly question, was “well if Johnny jumped off the roof, would you?”
    I have a low opinion of them and when I get a telephone call that is a survey or a poll, I listen for a while and if the questions make sense and are answerable with a yes or no, or have a reasonable choice of answers, I will continue the call. Very often though, they are rhetorical and/or debatable and really don’t qualify for a yes or no; that rates a goodbye. Some are so long, that I think smarter people just quit and that may leave a skewed sampling. Just sayin.

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