Tonawanda News

Columns

December 17, 2012

DUVALL: How many more have to die?

Tonawanda News — Days like Friday defy explanation. Whatever lived inside that young man from Connecticut that caused him to do what he did isn’t understood — can’t be understood — by the rest of us.

All those little children are dead.

So are some of their teachers, several who responded bravely to unthinkable terror and their actions probably prevented more children from being shot.

We will never fully know what caused this person to do what he did. We can, however, discern what enabled him to do it. We owe nothing less than a full, unbiased accounting of the situation. And then we must take action.

We must first acknowledge the obvious: No sane person would take guns into an elementary school and open fire on defenseless 6- and 7-year-old boys and girls.

I’m fed up with the bewilderment that exists on the part of people who know the people who do things like this. “I could never have imagined” isn’t a good enough answer. As a society, we must ask fundamental questions about how we interact.

There isn’t one America anymore. We are a nation of individuals, each in a state of impaired judgment. We surround ourselves with fortresses of social media sold to us as a way to let people in, but that really serves to keep people out. We no longer ask meaningful questions — and if we do, we don’t do it enough.

How could this tragedy have been prevented? By someone, anyone, on perhaps any day, asking a clearly troubled young man “how are you doing?” Maybe if asked enough, he would have answered. Maybe his answers would have led those around him to intervene in a way that would have altered his life’s tragic trajectory. 

We saw it eloquently stated by about the last person in the world I would have guessed, the backup quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, after a teammate killed his girlfriend, then himself and left a 2-year-old girl without any parents.

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