Candles for the Broken-Hearted


Another angry young man with high-powered weapons, killing indiscriminately, this time little children. Yes, he was undoubtedly disturbed; there may have been signals of mayhem to come, and then the signals ebbed. People close to him may have hoped that whatever storms went on in his head may randomly clear. But they raged yesterday.

Now the arguments will come again: why are these semi-automatic weapons, designed for artful, effective killing—killing of people—so readily available? And those arguments countered by ones saying that the teachers should have been armed, we all should be armed, ready to take out those that threaten us. Our neighbors might snap at any time. Bang, bang.

More guns the answer, in our gun culture, so riddled with guns already? I have no argument with the sportsman, the collectors who appreciate the craftsmanship of weapons, those who truly feel that they need to protect themselves in their homes. But to not closely regulate the availability of these engines of death, not to keep them out of the hands of the damaged and the dangerous—it’s madness.

Five Candles of Caring

A candle for the children whose lives were snuffed in an instant, never again to run, jump and play, never to bring their kid-innocent dreams to life, never again to feel the touch of their parents’ love.

A candle for the parents whose children are forever lost to them, holes in their hearts that will never truly heal.

A candle for the parents whose children survived, knowing the fragility of life, the blindness of luck and loss, and an enduring fear.

A candle for the teachers and school workers, there to give guidance to the young, to shepherd them toward the good lives we all should be given a chance to have, their own lives cut needlessly short.

A candle for all of us, myself included, my own heart ringing with bitterness at the stupid, numbing, foul idiocy of this, the what-ifs, the whys, the will-it-ever-change.

A candle for everyone, even the lunatic killer. Maybe, just maybe, maybe this outrage will spur some common sense.

11 thoughts on “Candles for the Broken-Hearted

  1. There aren’t enough candles to give to people for what happened. I don’t think we will ever make sense of why young men – who mostly do these kind of tragic shootings -are so sad or angry or bitter or confused or whatever; at least I don’t think I will ever understand…I hope someone – or all of us – will or can help the next potential shooter. Rest in peace, children, and wishing all parents and friends the will to carry on…

  2. “Now the arguments will come again: why are these semi-automatic weapons, designed for artful,

    effective killing—killing of people—so readily available?”

    Because WE as the American public may one day soon need to rise up and artfully and effectively kill our lead……oh wait a minute. Why let them know ahead of time? My guess is you don’t have the spine to raise up when the time comes so you willing forgo your right to own weapons. But you DON’T speak for me. Or any of my friends who are familiar with gunsmithing and the constitution. Let’s just say the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Someone else before me said that too.

  3. Can ANYONE post condolences to the victims without getting political? This author apparently can’t. I wish I could simply say that my heart goes out to the parents who lost children and leave it at that. But the author chose to malign gun owners and culture for something one evil deranged sub-human did. Therefore, I MUST respond as I feel is my duty as an American patriot. I NEED my guns because the world is a dangerous place. Schools need to make themselves harder targets. Even once guns are banned which I know you knee-jerks will get to happen eventually, If anyone can just enter a school then we got bigger problems. Look at Japan’s schools; they have banned guns but they STILL keep their school doors LOCKED for some reason. Huh; wonder why?

  4. “But to not closely regulate the availability of these engines of death, not to keep them out of the hands of the damaged and the dangerous—it’s madness.”

    You mean engines of FREEDOM. Preventing tyranny is key. I hope you like watching your wife and children get raped by U.N. soldiers after the American public is disarmed. It’s horrible that those children lost their lives due to an insecure school campus where anybody can apparently walk onto unchallenged. But restricting gun purchases might only keep them from getting shot, not abducted or any other number to sick things someone who wanders in through an unlocked school door could do to them.

  5. It’s hard to imagine how terrifying those last minutes were for those beautiful, innocent kids.

    It’s also hard (for me, anyway) to imagine how, in light of these recent massacres, that anyone would STILL oppose (1) banning assault weapons, (2) banning the sale of rapid-fire ammunition, and (3) having mandatory background checks for people buying weapons at gun shows.

    And I don’t why, but I’m surprised by how libertarian, limited gun-control your post sounds, Tom. Interesting, that. Not that this is the place for us to discuss the finer points of the gun control vs. gun ownership rights debate. (We can do that over coffee and apple strudel. Your treat.) I’m simply noticing/appreciating what it means when a writer writes from his heart, and allows his readers a peek into some of his fundamental beliefs.

  6. Muffin, thank you for putting forward your points of view. You and I have greatly different interpretations of the world, so there’s no real point in pitting them against one another. It’s Sunday—I don’t want to pointlessly argue.

    Two things though: I am not anti-gun ownership, as I prominently said in my post. I have fond memories of my father taking me to the range with the bolt-operated rifle he gave me, and us letting go some rounds. What I am against is how easily people, some dangerous or disturbed, can get high-powered weapons without a reasonable period of time to check out their background.

    And I am against easy private ownership of automatic weapons that employ giant ammo magazines that can rapidly discharge a hail of bullets—these guns are used to kill people, not for hunting purposes. There should be some ample reason why people own these weapons, and their access should require some effort.

    There’s no reason why, in many states, people can go to gun shows and buy such pieces without a sustained background check. That’s not an infringement on freedom—that’s common sense.

    The second point is that our two freedoms, or perceptions of them, are radical different: to me, wanting to surround yourself with guns is not an expression of freedom. To me, that’s fear-based paranoia. I have enough trouble in my life without basing my decisions on fear.

    Oh, and thanks for your concern about my spine. I do have a little arthritis there, and it kicks up now and then. I appreciate your concern.

  7. Annie, it all seems reasonable to me, on the matter of making simple checks on buying guns. But as you can see in the comments, one person’s version of reasonable is another’s prison state. There are many divides in our troubled country.

  8. Colleen B, I can’t understand what goes on in those kinds of minds either, to slaughter little kids—what could ever bring yourself to it, and how could the doing of it relieve any of your pain? Such a miserable, wrenching thing. I hope the guns are silent today.

  9. -The sadness of this tragedy even at a distance is so great. What are the families of the teachers and children experiencing right now? The mind and esspecially the heart reels with the force of it.

    -Our 2nd Amendment clearly states “a well regulated militia.” Well regulated. This must mean something reasonable about the guns themselves. There’s sort of a Goldilocks Problem there- not too destructive, not having none at all. But well regulated is even more about mental health issues, and keeping people with deep levels of sickness away from deadly weapons of any sort.

    -The U.N.? Seriously? Luzon? The U.N.? The United Nations is the most bureaucratic, hidebound, addicted-to-the-status-quo, ossified organization ever created on a large scale by human beings. Further, it has no teeth. It doesn’t even have gums. I’m far more worried about an attack on the U.S. by Lichtenstein or the Motor Vehicle Buteau than I am about one by the United Nations.
    The U.N.? Really?

  10. Rick, damn the rawness of that loss, even from far away, as you say. Imagine its actuality, as one of the town’s parents, as a surviving child. God.

    But you truly cracked me up with invasion of the US by Lichtenstein or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. They will attack us with multi-page regulations on tail-light height, or on the number of bumper bolts. The horror!

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