February 25, 2018

Friends,

How many different ways can we endure terror? The recent annihilation of 17 teenagers and adults at a high school in Parkland, Florida has to once again broadside everyone with a heart. We have seen the video and listened to the interviews. We have read the stories and heard our leaders speak. We have discussed it with our friends and had our hearts broken. Now what do we do? 

We hear it called a gun control issue and a mental health issue. Some will blame the family, while others place the responsibility on the environment. The bottom line for me is that no one can be monitored 24 hours a day unless they are incarcerated. Who and how is that decision made when we are discussing children and teenagers who display violent tendencies? How does that process play out? Most families and support systems, if they are healthy, will work together over years with counseling, medication, therapy, psychiatry, hospitalizations, and special schooling to accommodate a troubled child and protect the greater society.

How traumatic it is for parents and loved ones to realize that even they are no longer able to determine how to keep their child safe from himself/herself. I suppose they hope that each day will bring them closer to a solution or a cure.

It may sound cruel to hear, but this young man’s family is as much a victim of this crime as are the families of those murdered. Elsewhere in this bulletin is the following quote which I believe is necessary for us to realize during such a traumatic time… “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” (Martin Luther King, Jr).

Say what you will about looking at life simplistically, but I am a true believer that we can pass all the laws we want and I do believe that the government has a responsibility in this area. These laws sometimes speak volumes about our direction as a country but cannot put an end to the senseless violence of every individual who chooses to break them. 

So at this point I choose to believe that it is all about family; not only my personal family but the human family as well, because it does take a village to raise a child. 

I cannot imagine, nor do I choose to, how any person traumatized by school violence such as this survives and thrives. There is a book written by Rob Bell, an evangelical minister, titled “Love Wins.”

Enjoy life!
Fr. Coyne

 

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