Murder of the Innocents — What's Happening to Us?

Join the national conversation in the top stories of the week.

This column is designed to offer a platform to discuss national stories on a local level. Share your opinion in the comment section.


The most significant story of the week is clearly the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that took place on Friday. As journalists, we never expect to cover something like this, nor are we ever adequately prepared, even if it's just to write a short summation. All I will say is that my thoughts, prayers and tears are with the families. For in-depth coverage, visit our sister site, Newtown Patch.

Find out how to help families affected by the tragedy here. 


Did you know that something similar happened in China yesterday, but with a knife? There were no deaths, but the horror is the same. 

The man attacked an adult, then 22 children in the early morning hours. 

There was a string of similar assaults in 2010, when a total of 20 schoolchildren were killed, and an additional 50 were injured. According to CBC News, most of the attackers were "mentally disturbed men involved in personal disputes or unable to adjust to the rapid pace of social change in China."

Is that the case here? In the media and in personal conversations, people have blamed violent video games and movies, a lack of empathy due to the constant "plugged in" nature of our society, and lack of gun control laws. 

Do you have a theory as to why we're seeing an escalation in mass shootings? 

Good Grief Y'all December 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Anger, hatred, intolerance, social disconnect despite all the digital media, weak or lacking values, mental illness that goes without treatment or proper treatment, drug culture, bullying, greed, materialism, violence as entertainment, etc., etc., etc.
Ugh. December 16, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Could this piece please be deleted? It is in REALLY poor taste, especially the title, which just completely turns my stomach. The author is basically sensationalizing this terrible tragedy,and trying to drum up site traffic based on someone's else's pain. Poor taste, Patch, and Crystal.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Not at all. Not much traffic on a Saturday night, that wasn't the purpose. It's the topic of discussion for everyone right now, in real life and online. I would like to know why this is happening so much. I have two kids myself, and have been in tears over this all day. I apologize if it comes off in poor taste, that wasn't the intent.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 04:15 AM
The title was meant literal, not flippant. There were shootings here, stabbings in China.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 04:15 AM
From what I can tell, mass shootings in this style didn't happen until the '80s. I think that violence as entertainment has a lot to do with it, like you said.
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Actually, Crystal, similar tragedies go back to the 1920s- a bombing, and there was the shooter in 1966 at a University. Those pre-date the internet, video games and 24/7 news cycles, but human rage and evil are timeless. Austin, Texas, August 1, 1966: A University of Texas student and former Marine killed 16 people and wounded 32 others in and around the campus. He was shot dead by a police officer. Bath Township, Mich., May 18, 1927: Forty-five people were killed, including 38 elementary students, and 58 injured in three bombings by a school board treasurer enraged by higher taxes in the deadliest act of violence at a U.S. school
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Ugh. Crystal is not sensationalizing this horror. She's doing her job and exploring ways to have a rational conversation about a subject that only gets attention when something tragic happens. I am sure she has joined the most of the rest of us in expressing her grief.
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 01:18 PM
There was a deadly massacre of Americans in Guyana. It's where we got the over-used "drank the Kool-Aid" phrase. The weapon was cyanide-laced grape Flavor-Aid, but he did have a large inventory of Kool-Aid brand. Jim Jones, founder and leader of The People's Temple relocated his "church" from California to Guyana to escape legal scrutiny. He was a religious fanatic and a communist. In 1978, 909 people including 303 children, were the victims of a mass murder-suicide, and the only US Congressman in history to be killed in the line of duty, along with his contingent when they went there to investigate. Congressman Leo Ryan, reporters and cameramen were gun-downed on the airstrip by Jones' armed guards. " . . . though most likely it involved forced suicide and/or murder, and was the single greatest loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001. Among the dead was Leo Ryan, who remains the only Congressman assassinated in the line of duty in U.S. history."
Hank Reid December 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Kudos Crystal for being brave enough to do the work. I can't go to Connecticut to hung these people but I will not turn from their pains expressed through the media. I'm willing to absorb as much pain as I can by listening, reading and commenting to post such as this that will offer any insight that will prevent this type of tragedy. So crystal don't you dare feel guilty for doing the one thing that could possibly lead to some results in correcting our failings as a country. We can't keep turning our backs on the horrible things we've experienced in our past and not expect them to continue to repeat themselves.
Tammy Osier December 16, 2012 at 06:07 PM
As horrifying as this subject is, I think we need to see the reality of what can occur when we numb ourselves as a society as to what we see in movies etc... we need a reality check, and hopefully, makes us check our own lifestyle, thoughts etc.. On another news outlet, they showed the pictures of those darling little babies. I simply couldn't look; I had to look away and click off of it. But, it makes me think. If that's what these stories make us do, then bring on the stories. I don't think PAtch will tolerate anything that evolves into poor taste.
David Brown December 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
This is approximately the fifth time Patch has contained a discussion about guns recently. The sad part is that we have to keep having these discussions because we keep having these gun tragedies occur. What happened in Connecticut Friday is the worst gun incident yet, because it involved 20 innocent children.
Crystal Huskey (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Thanks for all that info GGY. I guess the ugly truth of it is that there is evil in the world, and it will show itself through whatever means are available at the time. I wish there was something to blame; it would be easy to blame guns. It would make us feel safer, if we could just pinpoint the culprit. But it goes back to what my father, a preacher, always preached: we're a fallen world, in need of a savior.
Tammy Osier December 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Crystal Huskey- couldn't agree more. it is a sign of our times to be sure. When I used to read in Revelation (as a teenager in youth group), that..."in the last days satan comes down in a great fury for he knows his time is short", for some reason, I always felt that his fury would be against children. I don't know why, just did. In the OT, evil kings always tried to wipe out groups of people by killing their children. Evil shows its hand, doesn't it?
Tammy Osier December 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
GGy - when you look at the time span between the tragedies, you have to think, thank God that they are rare! But as society changes, and we become more sendendary (less work and responsibility, more entertainment), they will become closer together. I don't see how we can NOT see the correlation between the two. If we can't change hollywood, we can still be responsible parents. My kids were allowed so much tv time and I was the decider on what was watched. My original blogs were on parenting, and I've thought about starting that back up. I'm sure you and I will find a lot of agreement there. For instance, justthis past week, on 3 ocasions, I have almost been knocked down by a child pushing their way in front of me and the parent stands there watching. No "excuse me", no nothing. God help my kids if they ever did that.
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 09:08 PM
True, Tammy. We can't know how many tragedies have been averted between these horrors. School shootings seem to have increased more than at other places. Maybe it is because there would be less resistance from the innocents. Evil has a long history and so does mental derangement. Rage, too. Society is going to have to become more intensely focused on mental health, clearing the path to acceptance and treatment, insurance and support. There's going to have to be a culture shift to make any big difference that lasts. Personally, I think tolerance and acceptance, kindness and caring are attitudes and actions we all can do in everyday life. You just never know what might set someone off.
David Brown December 16, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I pray to God I never get to the place where I become so callous in my heart that my right to own a gun takes precedence over 20 childen being massacred in a school. I just had to vent.
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Crystal, it's just that I'm old enough to have remembered, but not to 1927 ;) I found that story because I had the Texas shooting in my memory (I was a mere child), and the Jim Jones tragedy came to mind, then there's Waco. I don't know that religion is the answer because some religions are cults - Waco and Jones - led by deranged and evil leaders. They probably thought in their delusions that they are God. They were very charismatic. The world has a savior in Christ and the other great world religions are based on peace and love, but those tenets don't get through to the insane or the viciously evil. Society has to find ways to minimize the horror.
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 09:33 PM
I know, David. I know how you feel. My husband and I are not into guns, so it's hard for us to understand the defensive stance and denial by so many people that guns are too often at the center of these tragedies. Guns don't kill, but people with guns kill. Yes, there are other ways this evil can be accomplished, but we shouldn't make it so easy and so quick to do so much damage. Everyone who loves guns should be willing and eager to help all sides come together to find solutions.
Tammy Osier December 16, 2012 at 09:37 PM
DB, you make it sound as if the people on here are callous. They are not. They are not being prideful, but attempting to help others understand that what they desire is for protection of innocent people, not to hurt them. I think your assessment is very unfair. However, I do stand by the fact that you have a conviction about it, and I respect that, but you need to be respectful of the convictions of others. As a Christian, I feel as you do. I prayed over my children every morning before they left for school (even to the point of missing the bus if I felt especially led-lol). I prayed over and anointed my house. But I tried to keep a balanced approach to it as I searched scripture. Jesus told the diciples to take their cloaks, AND THEIR SWORDS... He knew that even though they had divine protection, they also lived in this fallen world and men with evil intent were intent on taking their lives. If you put this current situation in another light, you might see it differently. What if someone in the office had a weapon in his/her car and ran out there and got it, shot the guy before he killed more? He might have taken one or two in the time it took to run to the car, but if stopped at the office level, those babies would still be alive. That is the heart of the people posting on here. Just wanted to help you understand where they are coming from. Reply
Good Grief Y'all December 16, 2012 at 09:38 PM
There is no single or quick solution to a multi-faceted societal failing. I came across this comment yesterday: "We must have a national discussion about killing. This country has, for a long time now, politicized, romanticized, glamorized,and glorified killing. It has in fact, set about lately, an attempt to politicize, and neutralize the raping of women, and likely will, at some time soon, commence an attempt to do the same with underage female children. The nation is fed this horrendous diet of warped perversity almost constantly through It's myriad of media, and entertainment outlets, along with ancillary retail outlets. We are in fact, becoming a nation of rationalized killers, from adolescence through the remainder of our lives. Is it any wonder the insane, the dimwitted, the easily swayed, find it an act of sociable prestige to go out and kill someone? We are all deep in this. We have indeed lost our way. Any correction must begin through the will of the people, and not through any political or religious induced dictum. The lives of many innocents await the awakening of our conscience. The innocents, the dependent, the physically weak, are the closest we are all likely ever to be to ANGELS. We must alter this madness."
David Brown December 16, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Tammy, my sister, as usual, we will have to agree to disagree here. I think your reasoning is faulty and irrational. Especially faulty is your exegesis of Scripture. Context is the key to correctly interpreting Scripture. Luke 22:36 to 38 cannot be taken to mean Jesus endorsed His disciples using weapons. Remember this is the same Jesus who: (1) advised that those who live by the sword will die by the sword and (2) who immediately put a stop to Peter’s violence against Malchus, and reversed its effects by healing Malchus's ear.
David Brown December 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Tammy, my sister, as usual, we will have to agree to disagree here. I find your reasoning faulty and irrational. Especially faulty is your exegesis of Scripture. The Bible should always be read in context. That's the most important way to correctly interpret the Bible. For example, Luke 22:36-38 is not an endorsement by Jesus of His followers using swords or weapons. In context, remember this is the same Jesus who: (1) advised that those who live by the sword will die by the sword and (2) who immediately put a stop to Peter’s violence against Malchus, and indeed reversed its effects by healing Malchus's ear. God bless you.
Karsten Torch December 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
It's probably time we as a nation have these discussions. Instead of just throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks (gun control, more government intervention, armed personnel at schools, stricter consequences, whatever is being tossed around currently) we should have the conversation to see what the root causes for these tragedies really are. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that these things don't happen isn't going to help anybody. Kudos for tackling this topic, Crystal....
Karsten Torch December 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Right to own a gun has nothing to do with 20 children being massacred in a school. I really don't understand your comment. We all turn in our guns, the evil and corrupt still have guns. If there would have been one person in the school with a gun, there might be a lot less dead people. Of course, it may not have made much of a difference, but what made zero difference was having nobody there that could offer any resistance. Is anybody under the misguided impression that turning everybody into unarmed victims will somehow alleviate any of these occurrences?
Good Grief Y'all December 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Actually, Karsten, it does. The killing was done with guns, in quick automatic fashion. And they were legal firearms. The killer's mother's right to own guns was not hampered. Too bad. Maybe there wouldn't be so many to mourn otherwise. How many guns and bullets does a person need for self-protection or for sport? Collectors, that's a different issue - they should be licensed as such and theirs should be stored in a locked, out of sight cabinet or safe. I would be in favor of law officers being stationed in every public or private school - at the front door and patrolmen in the parking lot and campus perimeter with every door locked and bullet proof, every window locked and bullet proof, on college and university campuses. Instead of fighting wars in far-away lands where the people hate us, bring our military onto school campuses, station them in malls, theatres, public buildings. They're already well trained and screened (well, some do have PTSD, so not them). Yes! That would solve some unemployment problems. Of course, you would probably need to have special uniforms so that they don't look like we're in a war zone all over America, even though we are, apparently.
Karsten Torch December 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I agree a lot with this last post from GGY. We have lost our way. I heard somebody the other day say it quite succinctly - "Evil is not the opposite of good. Evil is the absence of good, the absence of God." The further we stray from a moral society (don't even worry about religious) the more we're going to see such occurences. We are creating a society where not only do we sensationalize this kind of stuff, on many levels we embrace it. Now, I would have to say that this particular occurence, involving children, was horrendous enough that nobody would embrace it, but in other cases, yeah, in many cultures in this country, we do. We fail to equip people to handle life. Ribbons for last place, a feeling that we are all 'owed' self esteem rather than having to earn it, lack of real consequences for our actions, take your pick. We are producing a nation of dependant, unable to care for themselves children, and then we're surprised when they snap and kill random people.
Good Grief Y'all December 17, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Karsten, have I just received another Christmas miracle? ;) Just kidding. I don't think all is lost. The first step is recognizing the problem, which is happening, but at a very high price. There is hope, always. My hope is that conversations will continue and force ideas and actions be taken. We can't just continue to fuss about this matter.
Karsten Torch December 17, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Why am I not overly surprised that you advocate turning our country over to the government standing in every business and building in the US, armed and watching? Yeah, cuz that's not Gestappo-esque at all....
Karsten Torch December 17, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I pray to God I never get to the place where I become so callous in my heart that my mistrust of people and my hatred for firearms takes precedence over 20 childen being massacred in a school. I just had to vent.
Good Grief Y'all December 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I'm not Karsten. I think trained law enforcement and military protecting and guarding our children is a better option than untrained, unscreened vigilantes. (George Zimmerman was a vigilante.) Lawmen and military are Americans, parents and people, too. Probably most of them are Christians. We guard our money, our courts, our celebs, but not our most precious treasures . . . our children?


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