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President Obama in Newtown: “We Must Change” . . . . . Sense on Cents: Here’s How

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 17, 2012 9:05 AM |

“Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation…We cannot tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change”
~~President Obama

As I think about what to write this morning and how to write it, I keep thinking of the names and faces of the precious little children and courageous teachers and administrators who lost their lives at The Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday morning. Prior to my writing any further, I would like to honor them and their families by posting their names here.

I would ask you to stop as you read this and offer a prayer in their name so that their loved ones can find peace.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Rachel D’Avino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47
Jesse Lewis, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Daniel Barden, 7
Josephine Gay, 7
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Nancy Lanza, 52 …thank you to the reader who pointed out this oversight…
James Mattioli, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

(I should also offer prayers for Adam Lanza 20 and his family. .  thank you to a reader named Quentin for highlighting this oversight on my part. LD)

Now what?

Does anybody doubt that our nation has failed these little children and courageous adults just as our nation failed those who lost their lives in the senseless massacres that unfolded at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, Oak Creek, and elsewhere? Some may think there is nothing that can be done to stop madmen hell bent on destruction. Others may try to make political hay from the most recent tragedy.

I repeat my point from the other day that I see no reason for the public to have access to semi-automatic weapons. I respect the impassioned and often well informed pleas of many who have written indicating that outlawing guns is not the answer or part of the answer to stopping these senseless tragedies. My response: I believe outlawing semi-automatic weapons may help, BUT (and this is a BIG BUT) outlawing these weapons is a tactic. What does our nation really need?

Our nation needs a strategy. What should our strategy be?

I firmly believe it is staring us right in the face and was on display last evening at the interfaith service in Newtown. The strategy is the implementation of faith principles in the daily life of this nation. Why do we call on faith to help us through a tragedy after the fact, but we deny the principles and public practice of faith in our society at so many other times?

I could write at length about the effects of disallowing the principles of faith to occupy a prominent position in our society. I will abbreviate those remarks by merely highlighting the knock on effects of the breakdown of the nuclear family. For those interested in the exceptionally high correlations between single parent families and poverty, emotional and behavioral problems, maternal and child health, incarceration, crime, teen pregnancy and sexual activity, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, childhood obesity, and high school dropouts, I strongly encourage you to bookmark this page for the National Fatherhood Initiative.

What are we to do about attacking these issues? Yes, we need to attack and fight back. Really? Yes, really. The presence of evil and immorality in our society can only be beaten by fighting back with an even greater force promoting peace, love, and hope. (I can already hear some in the audience say “Stop right there.” For those who would tell me to stop or would deny my strategy, before you leave this post, I encourage you to scroll back up and take a look at the names and ages of the lives lost in Newtown.)

Are we to embrace peace, love, and hope at interfaith services such as that held last evening in Newtown but then leave those virtues at the door upon leaving the service? To do so merely invites — if not guarantees — the reality that another town and more families will suffer the same tragic fate as those in Newtown.

So, Mr. President and those who will read this, will you accept that we need a strategy and not mere tactics?

A strategy of faith compels us to accept and embrace the following rules of the road. Not to do so puts the blood of these little ones on our hands knowing full well that we would not have done everything possible to promote the strategy that will give us the best chance that a situation like Newtown never occurs again.

These rules may not be easily implemented in a society that has utilized freedoms to allow the devil’s workshop to grow by leaps and bounds. I firmly believe the rewards of living by the commandments laid out below are truly immeasurable. What are the rules and how many are there? Many may remember the ten rules that are simply stated and encompass the following:

1. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the one true God; We shall have no other God before Him

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord our God in vain

3. Keep the Lord’s Day holy

4. Honor your father and mother

5. You shall not kill

6. You shall not commit adultery

7. You shall not steal

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods

There you go. Juxtapose these Ten Commandments against the elevated cesspool that is the American society currently and ask yourself, “How are we doing?” Have we allowed a bevy of products and practices that make a mockery of these rules of the road to set up shop in our nation? Are you kidding me? Of course we have.

Will you sit idly by and allow the cesspool to rise even higher and smother those people and practices that advance our social welfare and not overwhelm it for selfish purposes? Make no mistake, people and practices corrupting the moral fibre in America cover every corner of our nation. I remain convinced their numbers are dramatically fewer than those who would and do embrace the strategy laid out here. We need the great but silent majority to hold those in positions of power accountable.

You can help make that happen. Share this commentary. Speak up more loudly for this strategy. Stand up more proudly for this strategy.

Let your conscience be your guide.

Navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

Isn’t it time or overtime to subscribe to all my work via e-mail, an RSS feed, on Twitter or Facebook.

I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • FredB

    Can we somehow do better with the violent mentally ill before Another Columbine or Aurora or Newtown. All the young men involved gave ample warning that intervention was required.

    • LD


      Yes, clearly we do need to do much better on this front as well. But how? We need to look out and embrace those who may have some form of mental illness and promote very early intervention in the process. I view that as part and parcel of a social fabric that embraces the virtues of peace, hope, and love. Parents are often hard pressed to address children with some form of mental illness. Imagine trying to do so as a single parent without the emotional support of a partner.

      Thanks for raising this point. I think it is clearly plays a factor in some of the mass killings. Beyond that though, how is it and why is it that we seem to dismiss the overwhelming numbers of individual killings — very often in urban settings — in which there is no sign or indication of mental illness.

      This topic of killing in America is a many-sided coin. We must do better on addressing — dare I say, attacking — all sides.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Quentin

    Mr Doyle,

    Although, I agree with everything you’ve said on this issue, I feel my opinion may not be popular.

    I can’t help but notice that the killer is not numbered among the dead nor is it a surprise that he was not counted as either employed or unemployed in the most recently released unemployment rate.

    In honesty, my own extended family includes more than a few nephews that might loosley fit the killers ‘profile’; adult children who live among us but seem to exist only on the periphery of gainful society.

    I once read that the most dangerous period in a young persons life is the time after graduation. A time when great hope can quickly turn to hopelessness.

    Maybe we need to give our recent grads more than just access to a couch, a game controller, and a netflix account.

    • LD


      Your point is well taken.

      I love feedback from readers because I learn so much in the process.

      Adam Lanza’s name should be added and I just did. We will let others in a different realm pass the appropriate judgment on him.

      In regard to your other comments. Also well said. We need “engagement” which comes from personal relationships that are the extension of a society and culture that elevates the principles I believe I reference here. Regrettably all too often the 18-25 age group is simply viewed as those who spend so let’s feed them a bevy of products that promote an unhealthy approach to life.

      I thank you.

  • Steve

    Let me say I don’t have the super automatic rifle. I have a true hunting rifle that I have used for over 45 years. However ,I understand the individuals who have invested in the super automatic rifles. They are afraid of the US Government and they feel they have some control over the Government if they have these types of guns.

    My question would be when are we going to outlaw the violent video games?

    When are we going to spend the money needed to take care of our mentally ill brothers and sisters. That should be the question we are asking today along with allowing some individuals in the schools to have pistols for protection.

    • LD


      I would think that a high powered shotgun might do the job in terms of personal protection.

      On the other points all of which are well taken, I think they would all fall under the purview of the broad cultural embracing of the Ten Rules referenced in my post. How so specifically in regard to those with mental illness? They should be embraced much as those with mental handicaps along the lines of Down Syndrome are embraced. This is all part and parcel of “loving one another” as God has loved us.

      Regrettably these Ten Rules have largely been relegated to oblivion.

      • Gary Haycox

        LD says:
        I would think that a high powered shotgun might do the job in terms of personal protection.

        Blaming the instrument or tool is misplaced. It is the people who use these tools as weapons against other people.

        Your positon on semi-auto firearms is your right, but it will not solve the problem of psychopathic or sociopathic people killing others.

        A high powered shotgun, with a 6+ shot chamber, loaded with buck shot and easily reloaded would cause as much damage, death as any other …

        remember 600,000 americans were killed in the Civil War with single shot pistols and rifles.

  • Always Learning


    I respect and agree with much of your viewpoint, but must admit I think you take a very oversimplified approach. I also think you are conflating two very different circumstances. We certainly have a problem with gun violence in our country, but the tragedy that occurred on Friday morning in Newtown is very different than the daily violence we see happening in cities and towns across the country.

    You fail to highlight the very real problem of severe mental illness in our country. I’m not referring to individuals suffering from mild forms of anxiety or depression, rather those who are or may become a danger to society. How are these individuals identified? How does a family deal with a family member who is suffering from severe mental illness? How can one tell whether this individual is merely a social misfit, such as a “loner” or “tech geek” (as articles described the Newtown shooter), or someone who would/could carry out a horrific slaughtering? Are families being counseled properly on how to care for these individuals? There still remains a very real stigma in regard to mental illness, one which may prevent an individual (or his/her caretakers) from seeking necessary help.

    I do not disagree with you that by promoting and living the Ten Commandments the world would be a better place, but it does not answer the question as to how we address the extreme cases of violent, mental illness in our society.

    • Quentin

      Dear Always,

      I believe that the vast majority of nonaccidental civilian deaths by gunfire, are not due to the existence of long term diagnosable mental illness but by momentary “fits of passion”. People snap!

      A lethal decision can be made “spur of the moment”, but as is often the case among persons with high intelligence and/or active immaginations, a failed logic, or “momentary mental illness” takes control of a persons thought processes and some amount of premeditation may occur.

      Among isolated, impressionible youth, this failed logic is often facilitated by strong identification with TV, movie and video game heroes wearing bullet proof vests and brandishing automatic weapons.

      Realistically, when people snap, conscience may be the only hope. How does a society or an individual develop conscience? By definition, government has no answer, religion preaches faith, hope and love.

      I don’t have supporting data, but I feel comfortable in saying that the active life practice of the virtues contained within the Ten Commandments may be vastly more effective than either gun control or social service initiatives in stopping these atrocities from happening in the future.

  • Peter Scannell

    Our nation long ago abandoned the mentally ill.

    How has that worked out?

    They now are housed in our prisons.

  • LD


    Oversimplified? Is that possible when we are talking about a cultural cesspool the size of the United States?

    I personally think there is very real overlap in the specific situation that occurred in Newtown and the wanton gun violence in America. Is it total overlap? Of course not. When entering mental illness — which correct me if I am wrong but I do not know that we know the mental state of Adam Lanza — into the equation we clearly need to view that situation through a different scope but in so doing are we to dismiss that Mr. Lanza is not influenced by the cesspool that includes wanton gun violence and much more.

    As a previous reader commented, an early intervention program when even thinking that mental illness might be an issue can only help. Having strong parental support in place can only help.

    Again, there are a wide variety of grays involved in this situation. The world is not strictly black and white but who can say that we fully welcome and embrace the Ten Rules as much as we could or i say …should.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Ed


    Sometimes simple works. After reviewing the commentary on the past two posts, I’d like to suggest something I’ve always strongly believed in. Dinner with the family. And that means no tablets or smartphones. Studies time and time again have shown that a low weekly frequency of dinners with the family are associated with higher chances of drug use and violence.

    • LD


      That’s right up our alley!! Thanks for sharing that insight. We definitely need more of that and similar sorts of intimate engagement.

  • LD

    In response to the tragedy in Newtown, I would like to highlight these two releases today:

    Statement from University of Notre Dame President, Fr. John Jenkins:

    “The senseless slaughter of innocent children, coming as it does in this Christmas season, is an unspeakable tragedy. Such acts of violence – whether in schools, malls, theaters or street corners – are becoming far too common, and our nation must take all reasonable steps to end these horrors. We at Notre Dame pray for the victims, their families and for all who were touched by this terrible killing. Our profound condolences go to all who are grieving.”

    And then also this as well, Obama To Seek Stricter Gun Laws,

    Mr. Obama has spoken broadly about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, saying that weapons that were designed for soldiers at war do not belong on the streets. But beyond signaling support for the assault-weapons ban, the president has offered few specifics on the issue of gun control.

    Mr. Carney said that the administration has taken steps to improve background checks but said the scourge of gun violence is a problem that has not sufficiently been addressed.

  • John

    One of the most reasoned statements I have heard, I am sending to all my email contacts, even the agnostics.

  • DV

    Usually when Obama speaks I just get angry. When he read the names of those kids last night, I cried. So so sad.
    Nice piece today.
    Thank you.

  • Russ

    A “strategy” is not in Obama’s vocabulary. Soft socialism is.

  • Earl

    Hi Larry,

    Very nice post remembering those we have lost to this “senseless massacre”! I would just add two thoughts:

    1) Quentin only had it half right when he reminded you to include prayer for Adam and his family. The way I understand scripture, praying for the dead are prayers sent too late and never to be answered, but praying for his family is absolutely right on!

    2) How can we expect God to protect our schools when we threw Him out decades ago (prayer, bible reading, ten commandments), and if the liberals have their way He will only be a memory in America as well!

    Still shedding tears for those little ones,

    • Quentin


      If “Quentin only had it half right”, Mr. Doyle had it all wrong.

      Every name Mr. Doyle listed in this post was killed in the massacre, therefore according to your scriptural interpretation of the power of prayer, beyond hope.

      Prayer for the dead is one of the greatest acts of charity one can perform, as Mr. Doyle stated so eloquently, “Adam Lanza will be judged by others in a different realm”.

      “Do not look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?”

  • Hawk


    i respect your opinion but you obviously don’t know the difference between automatic and semi automatic eapons.

    there is a huge difference. Automatic think machine guns rapid fire

    semi automatic think self loading upon pulling the trigger one at a time

    the problem is mental health #1
    high capacity magazines #2
    lack of armed safety personnel in schools or public places# 3
    an administration which has been running AUTOMATIC weapons to Mexican drug dealers/murderers #1A

    Love Your commentary but get your facts straight

  • Vince

    You and I may disagree on the gun issue because I am a true believer of freedom and feel that someday we may be forced to defend it against others who would take it away, even from within.

    But your point about our society effectively losing its way is on point. I watched the news story about this horrific crime and found tears rolling down my face.

    I have three children and three grandchildren and can’t even imagine the pain those parents are going through..

    You should send todays column to O’Reilly and tell him to add it to the defend Christmas pile and stop the anti religous ferver in this country.

    Remember , freedom isn’t free…

  • Richard

    Teach the principles of upright behavior and respect. Love is fine, but without respect, for human life and tolerance, we are left with hollow rules and guides to how an ethical society exists.

    The ten commandments are fine, but in a more practical sense, removing the tools of evil (semi-automatic weapons?) by regulating and defining acceptable behavior so that we all can understand each other and live peacefully is more to the point.

    Lunatics will always exist. Let’s not be blinded by so-called freedom without restrictions to deal with catastrophic events.

    In modern society, one does not have to be limited to one firearm per month. One should make a case everytime he wants to purchase a weapon of human destruction (like guns) and one should be required to pass written and practical tests before being allowed to buy any firearm. That will limit the distribution of weapons that only belong in the hands of purposeful human beings, the armed forces and the police.

    • Gary Haycox

      Please review the writings of the founding fathers on the Why of the 2nd amendment. The most important, since they just fought the Revolutionary War against the tyranny of Gov’t (King George); Remember the revolutionist were We the People not law enforcement or military.

      The argument that the founding fathers would have never envisioned a semi-automatic firearm is spurious, in that they would have never envisioned the gov’t having these types of firearms either. I am sure no one can support a theory that the founding fathers supported an asymmetric situation between gov’t and the people.

      One only has to watch the current events of Syria and Mexico to understand why We the People need to have sufficient strength in arms to thwart any tyranny of Gov’t.

  • Rick

    the culture in place is too strong and is exemplified byt the guy in the white house ( who just hosted an interesting antiamerican north/south korean flamer) and the party in power…it must be displaced for another to take its place.

    too bad we can’t just reset to the operating systems of some past time..but we can’t….one parent families….free contraception….medical for all. sandra fluke…these are all still ascending trends

  • Tom

    Reflections from the Fordham Preparatory School

    This past Friday, as we were starting a B-day looking forward to the weekend and to moving a day closer to Christmas break, a horrible tragedy was unfolding 65 miles away in Newtown, Connecticut. 28 people died violently, including 20 little children and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Today, three days later, we are still in shock, sick with grief, enraged at the senselessness of it all, and desperate for answers to questions both factual and existential.
    Many of those questions cannot be answered, such as “How could such evil befall such innocence?” Our faith offers us no easy explanations, but instead an image and a promise. The image of the cross reveals to us a God who as Son knows first-hand what it is to die and a God who as Father knows what it is to lose a child. That same God promises us that suffering never has the last word, that our true end is Resurrection.

    Today we pray hard for the slow miracle of healing—for the beautiful little children who were killed; for the staff members who joyfully dedicated their lives to and willingly gave them up for their students; for the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends who can’t imagine how their lives will go on. We pray for those who survived the tragedy and the first responders as they work through their trauma; for counselors and for religious leaders as they search for the right words and ways to bring about healing; for us as a nation as we seek to fashion policies that will prevent such loss in the future. And, as unnatural as it seems now, we ask for the supernatural grace to someday be able to pray for the troubled young man who perpetrated this terrible act, for his mother, and for his family, because as Christians we know we are called to love as Christ does—without exceptions, without exclusions, and without end. For we know that it is only by the power of that Love that we can move toward our beloved City of God, where light dispels darkness, where joy displaces grief, where life triumphs over death, and where the laughter of children fills the air.

    Please stand to pray during a moment of silence.
    In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. (Pause)

    St. John the Baptist: Pray for us.

    St Ignatius: Pray for us.

    Children of Sandy Hook: Pray for us. Amen.

    In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • LD

    A friends of mine wrote the following commentary for the school newspaper at Saint Joseph’s Regional Prep in Montvale, New Jersey.

    People across the country are trying to comprehend the horrific tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. In a nation where over 26 people die from gunshots every day, why are these deaths causing such particular pain and analysis? It is because 20 of the 26 dead were small children, 1st graders with their lives ahead of them.

    In the time of King Herod, the murder of first-born males in Bethlehem became known as the slaughter of the “Holy Innocents.” The murder of a child is such an evil act that it is almost incomprehensible. The innate innocence of a young one is why society holds violence against them to a different standard. It is said that criminals in prison will strike out against prisoners who are there for violations of a child. Similarly, violence against children is the bridge too far even for Hollywood and video game producers.

    Many articles have already been written about the tragedy as a call for more gun control. I have seen a few more that are looking at mental illness, medication or the absence thereof. Others talk about the influence of video games, where seven of the top 10 sellers are extremely violent. What I have not seen is an analysis of the role of evil in the world, and what happens to a society that turns from God, its Christian roots, and its moral responsibilities.

    In 1946, Pope Pius XII wrote, “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” In 1962, the Supreme Court effectively outlawed prayer in public schools. A few years later, Joseph Fletcher introduced his sweeping theory on Situational Ethics that basically removed God from the moral calculus. By 1973, we had legalized abortion, and over 55 million babies have been killed in the US ever since.

    We have become a God-less and immoral culture at our own peril. When that 1962 ruling was passed, only 2% of the population was self-identified atheists, and about a similar percent of children were born out of wedlock. Today, 20% profess no belief in God and 40% of children are born to single mothers. Neither development has been good for society. As we have turned from God, we have replaced the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance (the very same virtues that informed and influenced our founding fathers) with the secular bromides of “tolerance” and “empathy.”

    Sin and evil are in the world, and their manifestation in Newtown was particularly heinous. The United States has a problem in that we are the only country that gave all the personal freedoms and rights directly to the people. But our founding fathers, who built their Constitution on the moral laws of God above all other sources, warned repeatedly that this experiment in self-government could only work for a “moral and religious people.” Would you give the right to bear arms to people who were not governed by a common moral code, or who were ignorant or dismissive of the cardinal virtues?

    So we will wrestle with which genie to try and put back in the bottle. The trend has been towards accepting our immoral and irreligious progression, and thus rights and liberties have been slowly confiscated. The problem with this capitulation to secularism is that it does not put Satan back in the bottle; it emboldens him. As a nation, we need to recognize that we have turned our back on God and his moral law. We need to put the genie of secularism back in the bottle. We need to turn our back on evil and the things of this world that lead us astray and into sin, and turn back to God for our guidance, just as our founders did when they conceived this nation in liberty.

    On Sunday, President Obama led a prayer service for the victims, families and community of Newtown. He invoked scripture, faith and remarked, “We will have to change.” In Mass on Sunday, we heard the words of Saint Paul, a man who murdered and persecuted Christians before having a conversion of the heart. He reminds us, “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

    I pray we change our hearts back to God and that the people of Newtown find peace in God.

  • Evelyn

    Please leave religion OUT of your discussion on this or any other prescription for how we are to live.

    There are good reasons why religion or its absence is NOT part of our country’s area of control and, at least about this issue our Founders were, in every way, right.

    • Hawk


      I thought you may find Ben Stein’s comments to be of interest.

      The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

      My confession:

      I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat…

      Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

      In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

      In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school… The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

      Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.. And we said okay..

      Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

      Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

      Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

      Are you laughing yet?

      Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

      Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

      Pass it on if you think it has merit.

      If not, then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

      My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

      Ben Stein

    • fred


      I happen to disagree with you, I believe religion, not necessarily organized religion, is the answer. Whether you choose to develop and practice your moral beliefs as an individually or as part of an organized group is your own personal choice.

      The last two posts above were very powerful for me and nearly brought me to tears, not because of any internal personalization of the atrocity in Newtown but because of their innate sense of “clarity of virtue”. Thanks to Tom and LD for sharing.

      But for you Evelyn, let’s vear away from any religious context; the event in Newtown was clearly an act of disorganized domestic terrorism. History teaches, you cannot defeat terrorism with a “standing army” or by placing a “lock on the gun closet”. To win the war on terror it takes more than a committment of money, it takes a committment of time and focused attention.

      The most effective way to defeat terrorism is to live among the terrorists and attempt to understand both their methods and their “madness”. At the same time you must reach out to potential future terrorists and give them hope for a better future. Because every terrorist is someones child, let’s start the healing by reaching out to our own children.

      As an example, I love to watch good movies with family and friends because of the universal power of good drama and good acting. The movie with the most appropriate message to this situation, Good Will Hunting. I watched it recently with my oldest son,(take note hollywood we both enjoyed it and it didn’t contain excessive violence).

      How many “good” pychiatrists did Will see before Robin Williams? Why was Mr Williams able to achieve success with Will? What is the true measure of success?

      The most powerful scenes for me in the movie was when 1)Will’s best friend told him that the part of his day he looked forward to the most was the singular moment before he reached Will’s doorbell because he held out hope that Will would not answer and 2)when Robin Williams reached out and hugged him Will and told him it was not his fault, over and over.

      Practice what you preach, I watched this movie recently with my oldest son, half jokingly, after the movie, I reenacted this last scene with him; it turned into a very powerful personel moment for me. I consider myself a good parent, I could feel the weight of all the times I could have done better. As we hugged I began to hope (and pray) that my failings don’t become his.

      Coming full circle Evelyn, I don’t care if you ever GET organized religion, but never underestimate the power of prayer and love.

      • fred

        Let me just add…

        1)prayer is anything you wish, want, or hope and communicate to yourself or others with emotional energy.

        2)love is an action not an emotion.

    • Always Learning


      Considering this is Larry Doyle’s blog, he can bring religion INTO the discussion if he pleases . . . and I, for one, am glad he does. No matter what issues we are dealing with — whether it be physical health, emotional, mental, professional — spiritual guidance and faith can provide untold strength.

      Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

    • GreenKnight

      Sorry Evelyn, we were founded as a Christian nation. Not as a Christian theocracy, but as a nation founded in the moral laws of God and Jesus. God’s law and supreme role is laid out in the first two lines of the Declaration of Independence, our mission statement. The Constitution has the bible as its largest source document, by far (34%). If you will not believe me or our our documents, how about the views of these guys:

      James Madison: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”

      “the belief in a God A;;Powerful, wise, and good, is so essential to the moral order of the World, and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources.”

      Benjamin Franklin: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

      “A virtuous and laborious people may be cheaply governed,”

      “ I think (Jesus”) system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

      Patrick Henry: “No free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue.”

      George Washington: “Virtue or morality is the necessary spring of popular government.”

      “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable..Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

      John Adams: Commenting on the difference between France’s and the Netherlands revolution vs. the US.: “It is a want of honesty; and if the common people in America lose their integrity, they will soon set up tyrants of their own.”

      “The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families…How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the sacred obligation of morality and religion if from their earliest infancy they learn their mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers and their fathers in a constant Infidelity to their mothers.”

      “Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

      “Unlike the reform agenda of the Third Great Awakening, that of the Fourth emphasizes the spiritual needs of life in a country where even the poor are materially rich by the standards prevailing a century ago and where many of those who are materially rich are spiritually poor.”

      “life can have transcendent meaning if it is spent doing important things- raising a family, supporting yourself, being a good friend and a good neighbor, learning what you do well and then doing it as well as you possibly can.”

      And from the old agnostic author himself:
      Thomas Jefferson: “Of all systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.”

      Evelyn, you need to brush up on your history and get a better understanding of what this nation is all about.

  • Sons of Vaval

    Take the three minutes and watch Huckabee’s thoughts on “Where was God?”

    • LD


      Thanks for sharing that link. That clip should be aprt of the national discussion.

      This topic may make a LOT of people uncomfortable in our nation. I ask those how comfortable does the incessant violence across our nation make you? What are we all doing about it?

      I hate to admit it but given the fact that our society has increasingly disallowed this topic to be discussed and utilized “freedoms” to promote and perpetuate practices that could only be defined as vices, “things in America are likely to get worse” if they ever have a chance to get better.

      Stand proud my friends. Time to draw the line and say “ENOUGH!!”

  • J K Milam III


  • Obsvr-1

    I want to first say that the tragedy at Sandyhook is very sad and I pray for the families and friends to be able to find peace in their heart and lives as they work through their grief.

    Now, I really wish the MSM and others would put these senseless and tragic events into perspective. I don’t know the number of schools or students that we have in the US, I would imagine approx 200,000 schools wth avg 500 children to get to a 100M student number … but I stand corrected by anyone with factual numbers.

    So, it would have been nice to see someone say, “indeed our nation suffered a tragedy today, but 199,999 other schools and 100M students were safe and returned home safely today … maybe the reflexive, knee jerk reactions based on emotional and hysterical attitudes would have been lessened.

    But, then again, these are politicians waiting to “Not let any crisis go to waste” to forward political agendas.

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