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SHOOTING/ A wound that nails down our misery

RIRO MANISCALCO comments on the terrible tragedy that struck Newton, Connecticut, where a 20 year old killed 26 people, including 20 children at an elementary school.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

I'm listening to the police briefing: Another shooting, a large number of victims, this time in an elementary school. Children. How do you kill children? What kind of disaster-struck heart and mind must you have to kill children in cold blood?

Sandy Hook Elementary School, a building nestled in the woods of Connecticut, a stone's throw from a “sleepy, little town”, as they say on TV, one of those places where it seems that a mild and serene life will be spent almost by inertia and where nothing bad could happen. It was half-past nine in the morning. We can imagine how the day would have gone with Christmas around the corner, everyone busy preparing something special to take home in a few days. For many children there will never be another day, not on this earth.

"Why? Why? "Why?! I am not the one asking, but the parents of the children who were killed shout it while they wander, lost in disbelief, around the site of the tragedy. It seems like yesterday when I wrote in these pages about Denver and the massacre in a movie theater. From where can we start again? True things are always true, and we should not be ashamed to repeat them. Above all, we should have the desire to live them.

We need mothers and fathers. I had taken the words of Don Luigi Giussani, especially and above all, for myself, a person who has had and have, by the grace of God and no merit of mine, a father and a mother. We, who have never killed anyone, we who are fathers and mothers because someone was a father and a mother to us, we who have received so much, are called to leave the shell of our lives that are seemingly quiet like the woods of Connecticut. Because we cannot build our lives and the lives of our children, and we cannot become real men without having a big heart, a heart that wants to embrace everything and everyone because it knows that it is wanted and loved. We who have never killed, more than being innocent, too often are lazy. The misery of the hearts of others does not concern us. Until that misery rips us out of the false peace that we always pursue.

We do not know and may never know what prompted two young men in their twenties to steal the lives of so many little children. The cry, “Why?!” would continue to haunt us even if we were to find a “technical” response. "Why," Life really is a mystery. Life belongs to the Mystery. Life comes and goes like this, as the one who gave it to us designed it.

To us, we who are still alive, to us, we who did not kill, the real question remains: “You, who brought those children into the world and who then took them back to you so soon, what do you want from me?”

(translation by Maria Bond)

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