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Newtown: There is no instant answer

December 16. 2012 2:37AM

A man, armed with multiple firearms and wrapped in a bullet-proof vest. A "man," according to the news reports, prepared for suburban combat, but in pursuit of victims incapable of fighting back.

On Friday morning, 20 children went to elementary school and encountered this... person. They never came back. A whole classroom's worth of children, murdered. Words fail. Sadness overwhelms.

In the minutes and hours that passed in agonzing slowness that day, some people found words. They banged away as rapidly as their fingers could find the keys. Though nothing of the shooter was known (his identity was first reported incorrectly), they had answers. Oh, they had answers.

Regurgitated into cyberspace were opinions set in stone long ago. They let everyone know what should be done - immediately - to ensure that nothing like this every happens again.

In times of great tragedy, we all search for answers. We are, or try to be, rational beings. Explanations must be had. This is a nation founded upon the principle that we can settle our differences and solve our problems through rational discourse. Citizens of a great republic, we are predisposed to believe that every problem has a solution, and the solution is political in nature. Some things, though, cannot be explained.

Perhaps there are collective actions we can take to reduce the horrors that too often visit themselves upon innocents. Perhaps some of those actions are political. But we are not so sure.

Technologies cannot be uninvented. Pathologies cannot be fixed. While we seek solutions, let us remember that humanity is complex and its deepest secrets remain incomprehensible, at least for now.

That is not to say that we shrug our shoulders and carry on. It is to say, simply, that it can be hard to tell societal flaws from human ones, especially when we are in a rush to act. Sometimes our afflictions can be only treated, not cured, no matter how deeply they hurt.

Crime, law and justice Education Public Safety Social issues Editorial

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