Chris Rose: Lessons to learn

Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee/AP Photo
Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee/AP Photo

Never mind that thing you've heard about the world ending this Friday – as the Mayan calendar may or may not have predicted.

Many would suggest instead that the last dregs of our civilization expired with those teachers and schoolchildren in Connecticut on Friday and that God is dead – or simply fed up with humans – and all hope is gone.

But a lot of us are going to have to hedge our bets on that point because we have jobs to do and families to feed and protect and, maybe, if we're lucky, lessons to learn from all this.

Ah, but do we?

If you consider the debates and polemics raging across our nation today, it doesn't take but a click of the mouse to see that the body politic is not exactly of one mind about all this.

The American people – though wildly divergent and widespread – have developed in recent decades the very intimate tribal ritual of public grieving.

And at no time in our history has this phenomenon had such an enabling forum as the Internet provides the masses.

There – amid the constant stream of sorrow, anger and blame – are the fault lines on the American landscape.

Depending who or what you are, the real problem with what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was about too many guns or not enough; not enough health care, not enough religion, the breakdown of the traditional family structure or the sensationalist media.

Upon the massacre of innocents, our country bleeds blue and red.

We use the heap of their lifeless bodies as the soapbox from which to exclaim our collective discord, ignorance, intolerance, prejudice, zealotry and obstinacy.

The killings seem like little more than opportunity for the self-righteous to tell everyone else what is wrong with them.

It's about a bunch of families upon whose unfathomable sorrow the rest of us seem determined to make our political and theological gains.

It's about a couple dozen families tonight in Connecticut for whom the national argument is simply so much contemptible noise.

So it's about time the rest of us just shut up, back the hell away from the computer, take a deep breath.

We've become a nation of prognosticators so willing to diagnose the social and moral ailments of other.

Well, for tonight at least: Physicians, heal thyself.