Unopened Presents

Today there are any number of already purchased Christmas presents that will never be unwrapped by tiny hands. Today there are parents who have tell their kids a little brother or sister will never be coming home, and parents who have to try to make sense of scenes of horrific violence for children who hours earlier had been stacking blocks or dressing dolls.

People are looking for explanations, but there is nothing, nothing that can adequately explain what would cause a person to interrupt lessons on adding 2 + 2 and spelling words like H-O-M-E and A-P-P-L-E with deadly gunfire.

You can’t explain such depravity. My goodness, you can hardly imagine it.

There may be no place in America where this type of tragedy is more out of place than an elementary school. There is just no way that such ignorance and evil should ever visit a place of education and innocence like Sandy Hook.

TearfullyAnd yet, in some awful way this seems almost inevitable.

At a movie theater, patrons are seeking to escape life for a while, only to have their lives taken. A Sikh temple, where people have come to peacefully worship, is covered in blood. A mall full of Christmas shoppers looking for holiday gifts becomes the very antithesis of the peace on earth and goodwill toward man that we celebrate this time of year.

Mass shootings always repulse us, as they should. However, this year there has been a grotesque inappropriateness to the killing fields that just boggles the mind.

Now this. Now terrifyingly, dreadfully this.

“Responding police officers helped evacuate the children, telling them to hold hands and keep their eyes closed to the carnage as they exited the building.” -CNN report

Not so long ago, kids would dive under their desk, practicing what they would do in case of a Russian bomb. These days, they do lockdown drills for an enemy much, much closer to home.

We don’t know which of our neighbors are capable of such an abomination, because we don’t know our neighbors.

There’s a coarseness to our public discourse in which we’ve become capable of branding someone, anyone with a different opinion as an “enemy.” We think it’s ok to treat people as something less than human, and yet are shocked by others’ inhumanity.

If what happened today in Newtown, CT isn’t a rallying cry; if these victims, who had so very many years stolen, aren’t our wake-up call, God help us.

God help us all.


5 thoughts on “Unopened Presents”

  1. I agree. We don’t know our neighbors anymore. Used to be that we had block parties and people showed up to invite the new neighbors to the neighborhood. We’ve stopped caring who lives next door and then miss an opportunity to help someone, report someone, or simply get to know someone. We used to be able to say, this wouldn’t happen in ‘my’ neighborhood, because we knew our neighbors. Instead of focusing on gun control, we should be focusing on getting our humanity back. Go out, meet your neighbors, show you care and that you are human too.

  2. Lori, this piece should be published in every newspaper, on every website, on every blog in the world and read on every radio and tv station in America. I don’t cry easily, but you have brought a tear to my eye.

  3. I have commented several times over the past year or so about what a talent you have of entertaining with wit and humor. This horror that took place has the nation heartsick and speechless. You have captured what is in all of our hearts and put voice to the pain we all feel.
    Sadly this will not be the last time we as a nation mourn the lose of innocent lives. You hit on several of the ways our society has changed , there are many more that separate , alienate , and dehumanize us. There is so much more I want to say, but the emotions around this tragedy are too raw. I can only pray, and my prayer is that God steps in and fixes what is wrong, because it is now beyond our ability to control.

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