If you count the area most of us consider to be Ada, our community is roughly the same size as Newtown, Conn. where a deranged 20-year-old snuffed out the lives of 26 innocents, including 20 children.
Just a shade over a week before this unspeakable tragedy, our community suffered its own inexplicable, nonsensical episode of murderous violence when a young perpetrator shot an innocent classmate, by his own admission, because he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.
And though it could not be worse for the victim’s family, it could presumably have been worse for our community. Instead of singling out one individual, he might have targeted dozens in a crowded building.
We are stunned by such news, particularly if it happens where we live. We wonder how someone could get to the point that committing such a heinous act could seem like a good idea. We feel helpless in attempting to piece together how and why it happened. In an abnormal situation, it is normal to ask such questions. We want answers.
In the case of Newtown, Conn., we can multiply that sense of frustration, anger and helplessness by a factor of 26. An Associated Press story said children and adults there were understandably asking aloud, “How could a merciful and just God allow something like (this) massacre...?”
It is easy to be glib when it isn’t our children who were murdered. But as the rabbi pointed out in that same AP story, “This is not an act of God. This is the act of a crazy man.”
It was not God’s will for someone to murder innocent people. Far from it. Much of what happens in this world has nothing at all to do with God’s will. It is the result of sin, itself a misuse of the great and terrible gift God granted us called free will.
Nor is this the first time something so heinous has happened. The Bible says shortly after Jesus was born, all babies 2 and under in Bethlehem were slain as a result of Herod’s maniacally misguided desire to eliminate any possible competition from this newborn king. We can rest assured those parents and villagers were equally at a sense of grief and loss.
In fact, the manger scene finds its tragic fulfillment in the Easter story in which God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him over to man’s free will, allowing Him to be sacrificed by way of the most brutal manner invented by the ancients — crucifixion.
The Good News is His story had a happy ending that so motivated His disciples, they counted it a joy to buck the culture of that day to tell of His resurrection and saving grace. It is a story still being “bucked” to this day.
Particularly after horrific crimes such as we have seen recently, our culture cries out for the peace first offered by the baby lying in a manger. Therein is the answer.
Lone' Beasley is publisher of The Ada News.