More information about the killer will surface in the days to come, but even if we learn he was psychotic and off his medication, that will not satisfy our communal anger or anguish. It will not explain evil. It will not explain why 26 innocent lives were lost.
The way to deal with evil is to first acknowledge that it exists and that we all possess the potential for it. We don't become evil by what we do, but because of who we are. We are human beings, not God. We are not “basically good,” as some claim. We are imperfect and fall far short of any true standard of perfection.
Important first step
Evil is a “pre-existing condition.” In some it is controlled by an inner compass, or by laws and cultural constraints. When it is not, we get Sandy Hook and tragedies like it. We get what we do not understand and cannot begin to fathom.
There may be no greater expression of evil than the murder of children in their classrooms. In calling for prayers, officials have taken an important first step in combating evil, but a larger question should be asked. Perhaps theologians, pastors, priests and rabbis are the ones to ask it, but permit me a suggestion.
If there is a source of evil, is there also a source of good? And if there is, has that source for good been offended by all of the accumulated evil we are piling up, affording it an upper hand?
As a friend of mine says, “Not a sermon, just a thought.”
TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES