As the news of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. unfolded Friday, there was this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Like many Americans, I was stunned and mortified that this could happen in our nation.
I wanted to do something, not only to help, but to keep something like this from ever happening again. I suspect many felt this way.
As the weekend went on, my sense of shock turned to anger. The emotion was not aimed at the gunman who stole the lives of so many, but of those in the media and politics who were quick to draw conclusions and make assertions.
The culmination of my anger came when I posted the following on Facebook, "I understand the need for people to follow the story of the shooting all weekend. As someone in the news biz, I get it. However, I don't get why Good Morning America was broadcasting their anchor desk live from Newtown, Conn. like they were ESPN College Gameday or something. Even I think that is a bit much. If I saw it wrong, I apologize in advance."
The post brought many "likes" and positive comments. However, there is this nagging sense of wanting to assign blame, for our failure to prevent such a tragedy. This, too, is a universal feeling.
As I began to think about all the "wrongs" involved in this tragedy, from mental illness to gun control, I thought of Dave Ramsey.
Ramsey, a financial matters radio talk show host, often speaks with family members following the death of a loved one. They turn to him for advice on the financial matters of those who have suffered the loss.
Each time, Ramsey offers the same advice: Do nothing for a period of 6-12 months.
People tend to make poor choices when affected by the emotion of loss. They are also easy prey to those who would take advantage.
As we move forward from this terrible tragedy, let us not rush to enact legislation. Through our pain, we are likely to make poor decisions — regardless of our good intentions.
Foolish reactions will not bring back the lives of those lost in Newtown. Nor will it prevent future tragedies.
We need to mourn. Our nation needs to mourn.
Only after a time of mourning can we adequately evaluate this tragedy. Then, and only then should we even consider any changes or legislation.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(New International Version)
David Specht Jr. is Vice President of Specht Newspapers, Inc. and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. View his blog at www.DavidASpecht.com