Saturday, December 22, 2012

National Review's Newtown Symposium

For some reason NRO's editors thought it smart to put Charlotte Allen's not-enough-men essay first in its recent symposium on the massacre. I don't know. As the father of a husky 11-year-old boy, I doubt I'm the best advocate for a bunch of husky (11 or) 12-year-old boys "gang rushing" a grown man wielding a semi-automatic rifle shooting fragmenting bullets. Megan McArdle made the "gang rush" argument as well (about which here). There may be some circumstances during a mass shooting that such virtual human sacrifice defense methods succeed in dragging down the shooter, or bowling him over, or whatever, but it defies common sense for a rational-thinking child to summon up that much foolish bravado. If anything, I suspect someone would sooner jump between the line of fire to save a dear friend, as what happened during the Aurora shooting. That "gang rush" thing sounds more like a bum rush at this point.

That said, this was actually an excellent symposium: "Newtown Answers."

A couple I like especially, for example, from Jim Daly:
As parents, we must help our children navigate a corrosive culture. We can do this by encouraging and championing a strong moral foundation. Morals help to maintain order in the culture. It’s become en vogue in some circles to consider that morality is relative, that good and bad are subjective. But as we were reminded this past Friday, nothing could be further from the truth.

The best news in the darkest of times is that God has not given up on us. He is in the middle of the mayhem. He now holds these precious little children in His arms. And as we mourn we must hold tightly to the hope and promises of His Word, that He truly is “Our Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”
From David French:
Thousands of years ago, a man named Job faced the horrible, violent death of his children. He begged God for reasons for his calamity. He pled his case at great length and with great eloquence. Yet when God finally answered, the response was not what Job hoped. The God of the universe answered Job by essentially declaring that He was God, and Job was not. So Job literally placed his hand over his mouth and trusted in the God who he could not fully understand.

Our lives are full of the inexplicable — virtuous men die at evil hands, good men fail while bad men succeed, and justice is forever elusive — but like Job, we must trust our Creator, the God who gave us life and loved us enough to send a Savior. When all words fail, we trust, we pray, and we rely on a promise:

“Blessed are those who mourn; for they shall be comforted.”

May God fulfill that promise for the victims and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
From Father Gerald Murray:
The Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28 is a reminder that violence and mass murder have been part of the human condition since the Fall of Man. Innocent boys were slaughtered by the evil Herod. The senseless act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a shocking instance of the ever-present possibility that a man will choose to do unimaginable crimes. We are stunned by such murderous hatred, which is diabolical in nature and gravely offends our natural instincts and our religious convictions. What can console us and reassure us?

Sympathy and kindness towards the grieving are important and necessary, but man cannot restore what has been destroyed. The only true and lasting consolation that the Church can offer to those who mourn the untimely death of their loved ones is the Divinely revealed truth that this life is but a preparation for life eternal in Heaven. Those who die are in the hands of a Good God.

May the knowledge of God’s goodness console those who now live in such great sorrow, yet are sustained by the hope of being reunited one day with their loved ones in Heaven.
And the essay by Emily Stimson stands alone, so I'd rather not block quote it. Go read it all at the symposium.

And again, why the editors placed Charlotte Allen's up front is a mystery. She's written response to her critics, for what it's worth: "Newtown & My Critics." (via Memeorandum).