A Believer’s Response To The Connecticut Shooting

We all Suffer
By Simran Jeet Singh

The second deadliest school shooting in U.S. historyThe second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history sent crying children spilling into the school parking lot as frightened parents waited for word on their loved ones. – Michelle Mcloughlin / Reuters

The mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut raises serious questions about the health of our society and collective humanity. People around the globe today wonder how anyone could possibly justify killing innocent school children and school employees.

More than any of the other mass shootings our country has witnessed over the past decades, this tragedy forces me to ask the same question that Guru Nanak asked in response to atrocities committed against innocent civilians – "eti mar pai karlane tai ki dard na aaiaa (O God! Didn’t you feel pain upon witnessing such a slaughter?)."

One young mother whose daughter survived the violence in Connecticut described that her "heart is shattered in a million pieces." In his emotional statement following the shooting, President Obama expressed that "our hearts are broken today."

Heartbreak and suffering is a part of the human experience, a reality that we all know far too intimately. Countless leaders and thinkers have devised countless systems to help people transcend suffering, and these leaders include religious prophets, secular philosophers, political leaders, and self-help authors. One of the better known efforts among these is the Buddha’s system of the "Four Noble Truths," an approach that recognizes the existence of human suffering (dukkha) and offers a method for going beyond it.

As a shared human condition, suffering serves to bind us all together. Tragedies such as the shooting of schoolchildren in Connecticut strip away the distinctions we make among ourselves (e.g., race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender) and remind us of core aspects of our shared humanity. In moments like these, we forget our differences and come together to mourn and heal as one. We all identify with the suffering of the affected families, and we all collectively grieve the loss of these young, innocent lives.

Mourners wait outside the Saint Rosa of Lima in Newtown
Mourners wait outside the Saint Rosa of Lima in Newtown Friday night for a prayer service for the shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School – Aaron Flaum/NorwichBulletin.com

Over the past four months, I have experienced the power of collective mourning following the hate-inspired shooting of Sikhs in Oak Creek. Despite the deep suffering inflicted by this violence, the tragedy brought the nation together in a collective healing process and therefore allowed us to realize our shared humanity.

I would like to respond to the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut as I did with the mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin four months ago – I still refuse a life driven by fear and negativity, and I still retain my faith that humans are not hateful and malicious.

With this said, I think we can all agree with President Obama that as we hug our children tighter in the days to come, we must also commit to addressing the gaping holes in our society. While many of us might differ in our approaches, we can all agree on the importance of reducing our collective suffering.

The rash of mass shootings in America requires our immediate and serious attention. This is the only way for us to move forward and "heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)."

Follow Simran Jeet Singh on Twitter

 

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Raj Sharma says:

    Don’t hurt others S Y 142

    Our words must remain simple and pure
    Of our intension we must be sure
    Happiness and encouragement to others we must convey
    We should always be careful of what we write and say
    Words cut deeper than the knife
    Forever the pain would thrive
    Eating living being is worse than eating dead meat
    It is a higher crime indeed
    Our thoughts and vibrations must remain pure
    Of our final destination we remain sure
    We must pacify the mind first
    For peace and harmony there must be a thirst
    Accumulation of negative and dark energy brings about disease
    It takes away our harmony and peace
    Unresolved issues blocks path to the Lord
    His Name is the salvation word
    Sanjivini Shakti can dissolve our dark past
    All sanchit karm away we cast

    Telk Raj Sharma
    2207009

    hurting others