Guns don’t kill, people do

Rubens, The Massacre of the Innocents

Rubens, The Massacre of the Innocents

The latest massacre of the innocents has hit home, not only in Sandy Hook, and not only in the USA. This savagery is not unique; it isn’t the first time nor, tragically, the last that young children are violently slaughtered for no justifiable cause.

That doesn’t make this act any the less atrocious, and it is right that the world should be horrified by it. It is right that we should feel appalled and find it inconceivable that anyone could do this. Let us hate the crime, let us grieve sincerely and feel the pain, but let us also recognise how this can happen, how our human nature and our human civilisations can produce people capable of murdering little children in cold blood, because then we can begin to take steps to change. To change ourselves. Because these slaughters have been happening for thousands of years. Only now we have media to bring the horror right up close to us.

It is a blessing that we still have the capacity to be shocked by it, since – given certain circumstances – each of us has the potential to be that killer. It’s up to each of us. Do we have the courage to face the depths within and admit: There, but for the grace of God, go I? If so, perhaps what was meant for evil may yet produce some good.

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