the practical buddhist : essentials

a time for grieving

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I still can’t begin to fully comprehend the enormity of the elementary school shooting yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut. Each time my mind returns there, I tear up and weep for the innocence lost.

This is not a post on gun control, mental health access, or violence. It’s a personal response to tragedy.

Perhaps more than any other event in my lifetime that involved mass violence, including 9-11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, both of which claimed many children, this one episode in my nation’s history of needless violence against the innocent bothers me the most.

Targeting the Young is Heinous

It is the basest form of humanity. I cannot watch video reports on television or the Internet about the incident. Doing so only disturbs me further. My 16 year-old asked if we could not watch coverage of the event because he felt so hurt by the loss of the children involved.

Our history with domestic violence creates a hypersensitivity to the pervasive video and news reporting. It’s why, in large part, we don’t watch television news very often.

There Is No Defense

No matter your stance on God, gun control, mental health access, or violence, nothing about the events of December 14, 2012 can be defended.

Already, some are speaking up about the absence of school prayer being to blame for school shootings. It’s only a matter of time before someone points the finger of blame on the tolerance of gay marriage.

It’s not necessary to defend a God who would allow this to happen; neither is it necessary to defend gun laws which, in Connecticut, are already pretty tough and well regulated; there is no need to defend the absence of a national discussion on access to automatic weapons or the lack of perceived warning signs on the part of family and friends of the gunman.

My Only Response

The only response that make any sense for me is to grieve.

Acceptance and Moving Forward

Perhaps the hardest part of the grieving process is acceptance. It comes only after a long while spent traversing the minefield that characterizes the process we all must experience from time to time in this transient existence.

For those of us on the outside of this tragedy, it will arrive much sooner than for those who are left behind.

It is never easy -and I feel pain even now as I type these words- for the families of those left in the wake of this tragedy. But the day will come when breathing is easier and remembering, less painful.

Until then I will choose to think of them daily; I will consciously remember the struggles they face and the losses they endure. This grieving is universal. It is for all of mankind, for all who suffer and for all who are victims of oppression and maltreatment by others.

Will You Also Grieve?

If you feel the best course of action for you right now is to join me in supporting the families of those left behind by sitting in silence, praying, chanting, or whatever action lends significance in your mind to the memory of all affected by this shooting, please lend your support with a simple ‘yes’ in the comment box below…or write anything else that seems appropriate. I choose to think that each comment sends love and support to those who need it most.



2 responses to “a time for grieving”

  1. JanetBeatrice says:

    Yes. I just responded to a comment about defending gun control. Looks like I have just opened up the doors to polarization. That’s not what I want to do right now. Maybe later, after I can think more clearly. But for now, I’ll turn my attention on sending prayers and love to CT. Thanks, Barry.

  2. susanwm says:

    Yes, Perhaps it is because we have just moved on so quickly, and not allowed the time for our hearts to truly grieve, that we keep seeing these horrible mass murders. We see it reported on the news, with questions asked all about it from every possible angle, and then it disappears. It’s all a head exercise. But when we actually let the pain of the violence be felt, we are changed. I grieve for these families, today, and every day. Parents are not supposed to bury their child.

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