Nothing strikes deeper to the heart than the loss of children. It's one more reason why the horror in Newtown, Conn., has hurt our nation so badly.
I do not believe there is any human suffering like the suffering of a parent who loses a child.
I know it from personal experience. I lost a beautiful, young teenage daughter almost 10 years ago, and the pain never goes away.
When tragedy strikes, we want to do something. It is a natural human instinct that when we suffer, we conclude it is because something is broken and to want to fix it.
But in order to fix it, we need to understand what's broken.
Debate about access to guns and assault weapons is reasonable at this time. But it would layer tragedy on top of tragedy if the only thing we walk away from this incident with is that what may be broken in our nation is our gun laws.
We ought to be asking what connection there might be between the state of mind and behavior of the young man who committed this crime and the home and society in which he lived.
We should use Christmas this year to think about this. Nothing could be more in the spirit of the holiday.
Our popular idea about freedom is that it is about individuals being able to do what they want as long as they don't hurt others.
But the limitation we have in thinking about whether we hurt others is whether there is immediate and obvious physical damage. Hence, the first political reaction to the Newtown tragedy has been how can we better prevent the mentally ill from injuring others.
But what about damage done to others that may not be immediately obvious in the form of physical injury?
What responsibility do we bear for those we call "mentally ill?" How might their mental state and behavior reflect and result from our behavior toward them?
The theme, which seems to have defined this tragic young man's reality, is isolation.
The descriptions we read convey that he was a "nerd," "socially awkward."
I think we all can agree that isolation, certainly of a child, is unhealthy. But if we agree that isolation is unhealthy -- damaging -- how is this reconciled in a society that rejects the idea that there are truths that transcend individuals and connect us all to each other, that there are social truths as well as individual truths?
If a free society is just a collection of individuals who choose to live together because it is useful to do so, then those whom we do not view as useful we push aside and isolate.
The most vulnerable to this emotional brutality are children -- and often the most sensitive and talented.
We ought to be thinking about the falsehoods we commonly accept so we can wake up and improve.
If we really believe that in a free society pursuit of self-interest does not include behavior that harms others, we should appreciate that a society that equates freedom to moral relativism and meaninglessness does harm others and reject it.
The collateral damage of embracing the half truths and outright lies of moral relativism creates too many problems to sweep under the rug. The damage that is done to the elderly, the unattractive and unskilled, the "socially awkward" and the unborn cannot be fixed by Band-Aid laws that pretend to fix it all.
There is no Band-Aid for the damage caused by not seeing and respecting each individual as unique and sacred, made in the image of their Creator.
The isolation and alienation that results in a society fueled by use rather than unconditional love leads inevitably to tragedy like what we have just witnessed.
This should be this year's Christmas message from Newtown.
Life is not about you, but about others. (comments)
Hate, destructiveness and envy do not make this world a better place. Work, creativity and personal responsibility do. (comments)
It sounds so compassionate that a politician proposes to use the power of government to mandate what salary a business owner must pay. (comments)
The issue of black poverty, and black children in poverty, has not suffered from lack of attention. (comments)
Secularists relate to government, not as a protector, but as a tool of aggression to force others to accept and live with values they reject. (comments)
A leader in a diverse country is to keep things going in generally the right direction -- compromise is always part of the game. (comments)
The idea of the Olympics as a platform for promoting peace and goodwill among nations is particularly weak today. (comments)
Militant left wing blacks like Jesse Williams only care when tragedy serves their message of victimhood and oppression. (comments)
The culture wars that Thiel calls "fake" were not fake to Reagan. (comments)
Today the NAACP is part of the status quo and, despite its rhetoric, now fights to protect special interests. (comments)
When we don't take law seriously at the highest levels of power in the nation, the message reverberates throughout the land. (comments)
Without taking action, Social Security benefits will be substantially cut in just 13 years. (comments)
It is a total perversion of the purpose of society. (comments)
Why can't the Black Caucus stand up uniformly for free enterprise? (comments)
We will not be victorious over terrorism with might alone. (comments)
After new regulation, as much of 80 percent of the loan volume could be curtailed. (comments)
Why should our education system be shielded from capitalism, the competitive forces that produce excellence? (comments)
The civil rights movement became unmoored from the religious and moral values that drove it to begin with. (comments)
Many with great political power in Washington, who control so much of our money, cannot distinguish between a fact and an opinion. (comments)
Republicans have not stood ground and provided a real conservative alternative to the party of the left. (comments)