Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Spirit of Herod in Connecticut

When a tragedy like what happened in the school in Connecticut hits, it is wise to withhold words long enough to think.

Think carefully. Think carefully before writing.

It is not time, while parents are still numb with shock, to begin the political debate about anything.  It is not time to divide among party lines. Guns, abortion, amendments, medications, mental illness, security,  autism, blame and so much else...can wait.  It can all be discussed, but it can wait, just a bit.

                                                         It is Christmas.

It's is a terrible season to now be plagued with memories of death. It's unimaginable.  Yet, Christmas, itself, is associated with the shedding of the blood of children.

Christmas cannot be understood without including Herod.

Herod, envy inflamed beyond all reason, gave an order that has echoed its evil shrill for many centuries.  It is a shame that Nativity sets do not include the mercenary soldiers that were willing to do the unthinkable, just to satisfy a politician's whimsical emotion to wipe out any future threat to his rule.

Herod reminds me, somewhat, of Joseph Stalin.

Stalin, at times, made the murderous killer, Hitler look good.

His purges left his military weak and befuddled, even while his theft of grain "for the people" made for the slow, painful starvation deaths of millions "of the people" of the Ukraine.  The numbers are all too much to grasp to seem real.  How could anyone simply draw a line on a map, and declare all the food to be confiscated, year after year, leaving only enough to allow the farmers to stay alive a bit longer in order to farm?  How could anyone deliberately bring slow, painful, cruel death, to millions of civilians in this manner?

I don't know any more than I know how Hitler could grant orders to systematically exterminate a single people.

But it was Stalin's penchant for envy that stood out to me, recently, while reading a biography of him.

He sent off one of his "courtiers" (advisers) on a trip, had the secret police interrogate the courtier's wife, get her "confession", only to have his courtier return being invited to dinner.  He would then watch the newly widowed courtier squirm under painful silence, and be forced to toast Stalin in an after-dinner drunken sing-song.

It sent quite a message. It was up close and personal killing which Stalin took perverse pleasure in it.  He did it whenever it suited his emotional desire, to whomever

Herod's envy caused him to issue a personal and up close order which, I imagine, took a certain type of guard to carry out.  These guards would have to be Nazi-like, in our language, cruel and inhumane, who would have to go through the land and kill all male children, 2 years of age and under; not with an assault rifle from a distance, but with a sword, along with a fighting, screaming, clinging mother, and a father who could also lose his life fighting for his son.

I wonder how the soldiers, themselves, survived the massacre.  In Connecticut, the killer took his own life.

I have read of the suicides of the Nazi rank and file who were forced to shoot to death Jews in the "holocaust by bullets" period of time; which was up close and personal.

The slain children of Herod?  Perhaps in the thousands.  It is unimaginable, yet it is part of Christmas as much as the story of the Incarnation in the lowest of locations, with those, of the lowest of vocations, privileged and honored to have a role in.

No, it is not time for politicians to fall over each other in demanding this or demanding that.  It is not time to seek political gain or to divide people.

It is time to hurt.

The reporting has been shameful, even as I review the 'facts' of the case, I am glad I did not write about it, lest I repeat things such as "the mother, teaching in school, was shot..." and so on.  Shameful rush to be 'the first' was quickly replaced by assigning blame

Even those who watched football as a distraction were hit with political rants.  Gladly, I was not one of them.

It is a time to hurt, and allow the parents to hurt.

There is another time, later, when the politicians can begin to seek personal gain, or political advantage over their rivals, but not today; not now.

Those who turn to the government for their answers are often sorely disappointed.

If they only knew.

If they only knew in whom they put their trust for answers where, perhaps, answers cannot be found.

The killer targeted children, specifically, and used means he had been familiar with, to accomplish his hatred.  Like others who hate children, he took away their lives, and all the promise that died with them. He took with him the very heartbeat of the parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and all those who loved their children.

He did it at Christmas time as well.

He left many bereft of all comfort.  Let them be.

"In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

They would not be comforted in their pain, anguish, and sorrow. 

The spirit of Herod is the hatred of children; irrational, flaming hatred against the most innocent of mankind. 

It raged 2,000 years ago, and it raged recently, again, in Connecticut.  

Perhaps our politicians can let things be, even if only for a short time.  

They don't have all the answers.

Perhaps, as suggested, we can talk about the heroes in the school.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very wise words Peter. I have been guilty of speaking of my own views. You are right. Now is NOT the time to speak of who/what/where is to blame.

Now is the time to grieve. Out hearts ache and our human side wants to understand why and make sure this NEVER happens again. I guess that might us want to question the who/what/where is the blame.

Your words did not fall on deaf ears.

You're right, Now is the time to grieve.



Anonymous said...

He took away the heartbeat of so many.

His act of hatred was far reaching. He has forever affected many.

Trigger said...

I agree, we need to grieve for these victims and the ones who love them. They need comfort and compassion for their great personal losses.

The media is so cold and uncaring to turn this time of mourning into a political agenda.




Skeptical said...

Thank you.

rob said...

Evil is alive and well in this world. Always has been, always will be.

Apple said...

My heart breaks for these families. Every day i remind myself how blessed i am to have my son and to remember what is important in this life. Each of the child victims i have read about over the years has done this for me. They have changed my life and therefore affected those around me.

Sarah said...

excellent, Peter, thank you.

Deejay said...

Peter, What wisdom- You brought tears to my eyes. I know how this feels as I lost a brother to a horrible accident when he was 14, almost 15. You are so right to leave out 'issues'. Compared to the life of a child and the uncomparable pain of all those who grieve, it is nothing. the families have two years of hell before they can even think straight.

It has been many years since my family's loss and I still cry, usually when some poor family goes through similar pain.

Bless you and yours this Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Rip all victims xxx

Anonymous said...

Mattew 2 16-18 Yes, my pastor spoke this sermon Sunday as many of us weep uncontrollaby. He said he was given that scripture 2 weekss ago and struggle with why it was given until Friday and the message became clear. I have read that passage many times now struggling for the answer and I still can't find the answer I need, but I have found that it has made an impact on my life that I will never forget. I was a law enforcement officer for 9years when I finally had to step away due to the mix feelings I was having in being able to take someones life. I felt that if I had to take a life, I was playing God and by no means did I want to place judgement on someone and end their life. But now I am seeing it a little different now. The focus would not be in me having to take that life, the focus would be in the life I was protecting. I do not have a problem with laying my life on the line to save anyone.
I would gladly give mine to bring back those innocent children and the adult heros in that school right now if it would, but it will not. But I do think now I might reconcider my career in law enforcement. As long as I can remember this, and I don't think I will ever forget. Hug your children and never leave on a bad note. May God bless you all.
Sign,
GeorgiaLaw

dadgum said...

Thank you, Peter..

MeagIn Manhattan said...

What amazing words, Peter ~ Thank you.

Most Sincerely,
Meag

Jen said...

Thank you so much Peter, this post says it all, thanks for sharing

Lemon said...

Word.

Randie said...

Oh my word....this is perfect Peter!

Thank You! Randie

BostonLady said...

Very thoughtful and sensitive blog post, Peter. This is a senseless mass murder that no one can understand. It's time to grieve for the children and their families.

It's time to pay attention to the victims. It's time to stop giving any attention to the mass murderers. Pat Brown, Criminal profiler, made that decision when the theatre shootings took place in Colorado. She said she would no longer go on any media if it was going to be to discuss the mass murderers. She doesn't want to help fuel any further violent acts by someone wanting to go out in a blaze of "glory". And I agree.

Focus on the victims, their families and the heroes. Please remember the first responders in your thoughts and prayers. They will be forever affected by what they witnessed.

Gwen said...

Peter, thank you.

GeorgiaLaw, you are a dear soul. I'm sure you'll ask God for direction regarding your LE career.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the preachiness is unbearable on this site. You nailed it on the appalling coverage but there is a different way of looking at the 'politics' behind this. Whenever there is a national tragedy there is an immediate, accompanying call to action. People want a plan in place to help them feel safer, to stop it from happening again, to grasp for some peace of mind. So while you've turned this into a very bizarre essay on Herod, remember that behind this tragedy are sensible parents who are frightened of guns falling into the wrong hands TODAY, TOMORROW, NEXT JANUARY. We can take a break, but school will be back in session in January and patents crave security. Talking about what pissible steps to take now is pragmatic. Focusing on assault rifles falling into the wrong hands is a pragmatic issue for families os school children as well as teachers. Philosophy won't save lives. Historically speaking, look back at the reactions to national tragedy. 'Political' action os a healing step. It's silly to suggest otherwise. Parents in my state cried when dropping their kids off to school, and we are not near CT. Grief and resolutions can go hand in hand. This blogs agenda is suffocating at times.

Nanna Frances said...

We surely need to grieve the victims. This massacre of innocent children may be a watershed for change. We must protect our precious children.

Anonymous said...

BTW, be thankful that there are people sorting through the why's, where's, how's and never agains so you can try to have a safer world and feel secure with your kids at school. Be thankful this Christmas also that this is being taken seriously now because nothing has worked before. Pray for wisdom for lawmakers who I, at least, am not cynical enough to believe want fake answers/resolutions to a real problem. Be thankful for this administration you seem to despise because this reaction is different than the ones following all the other similar tragedies in that we might actually come toa compromise that works. And have faith in democracy and reason. While you grieve and have fears, lawmakers behind the scenes are at work. I am thankful. From the front lines, I am thankful.

Anonymous said...

Peter-I've been following your blog for a little over a year now. I love learning SA and your blogs on them are wonderful. But I must say this is your finest post yet!

Nanna Frances said...

A Christmas Miracle?

The NRA has broken its silence and promises to help prevent future massacres.
http://news.msn.com/us/update-nra-breaks-silence-pledges-help-to-prevent-future-massacres

Lemon said...

~ hands paper bag to Suffocating@7:23
and points out sign -
Warning! Falling Assault Rifles! ~

Anonymous said...

Suffocating...new laws will never stop this kind of tragedy. Have the gun laws stopped insaniacs and criminals from getting them? Libs always want to put more laws into control. That's what it is all about control over every aspect of everypne's life. Know what? it's not possible.

Wonder what would have occurred if
any teacher had a way to disarm this crazy galoot. Or if an off duty or retired LE was armed in schools to be able to save some of these precious lives. Of course, that can't even be discussed, can it?

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla

Thank-you Peter and Heather for your RIGHTEOUS BLOG! It stands out online as a comforting beacon of truth.

Anonymous said...

True, it may be the time to grieve, and I don't think there is a soul out there who ISN'T grieving for these helpless children and the adults that were violently murdered, and all their families. Shot down in cold blood. In fact, I even saw some of the (so-called) opportunist politicians and "cold?" media grieving;

but it is ALSO the time to take action. NOW, NOT LATER. It mever fails that once the media hype and all the players and politicians have gone home and turned towards other pursuits, we go right back where we were before these awful tragedies happen and AGAIN nothing ever gets done.

There MUST be some action taken for some gun reform laws that are workable and that would prevent the deranged from being able to get their hands on assualt rifles and other deadly weapons; just as important, some much needed programs for the mentally disturbed that are beyond their reach and are of no affect, and drug addiction programs that actually work. NOW, not later. Later? And WHEN might that be?

Be reasonable here! What else would you have this "cold" media and these opportunitist politicians do? Walk away and stare at the sky? Say nothing?

Strike NOW while the iron is hot.

rob said...

I am praying for everyone touched by this tragedy. Losing a child is hard, even if its not your child.

I'm also praying for the citizens who think government can solve every problem. So often, it is the problem.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 6:44 AM:

Thank you for your courage to stand up and demand action now. This blog seems to be attracting a lot of people who seem to share a right wing political agenda. I so admire your courage to swim against the tide of popular opinion supported by others here.

As a Canadian, I have cried many tears for these 20 lost children and I feel they are everyone's children as people around the globe are grieving this unthinkable tragedy.

I live in a country with fewer than 170 gun homicides last year. I have often wondered why there hasn't been more of a public outcry before these 20 babies were murdered and I can only pray that the outrage is greater than ever before and that the American people will demand significant changes to your gun laws. There seems to be a growing mentality of paranoia bordering on absolute insanity that is driving this obsession with guns. Each time one of these mass shootings occur I think things will finally change but sadly to date, nothing seems to change.

I will pray for the voices of sanity and reason in your country to be finally heard.

Sus said...

Anon 4:05, You said exactly what I feel, and why I stopped commenting on here. I'll join you in prayer.

Jazzie said...

ANON @4:05 and SUS:

I live in CT. I can't post here anymore.

Anonymous said...

Jazzie, you are a very lovely person and often a voice of reason. Hate to see you go.

Why can't you post here anymore?

Sus said...

I am sorry for your loss, Jazzy. I know it must hurt terribly. I'm from Illinois, where we lose them one by one every night in the cities of Chicago, Peoria East St. Louis, and others. It spurred me to action a long time ago.

Jazzie said...

I can't post because I need to step away from the news, the internet, and this blog. I realize that I need to redirect my focus and energy where I can make a difference. I am struggling, as many others, in the wake of the human suffering here.

I have learned a lot since last Friday. I learned that the unimaginable can happen. I have learned what hatred and fear can create and ultimately destroy. I have learned that there are people, who in the midst of unbearable sorrow, can find compassion and strength to continue living. I have learned what it is to be humbled in the presence of prayer and compassion. I have learned what it is be alone in this world again. There are no words to describe the separation.

"The spirit of Herod" is not in Connecticut.

Human sorrow and compassion are the defining elements of who we are and what we have witnessed.

From William Blake:

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Lis said...

I really appreciate this post. If the whole country shared your restraint, Peter, this would not be dividing us so terribly.

I have been depressed ever since the shooting, it's hard to think about celebrating Christmas. There is a black cloud over our country.

Lis said...

Jazzie, I think that Peter meant the spirit of Herod, figuratively, was present in the shooter, not in your state.

I hope you will come back when your time is right, I always like to read your posts.

Lemon said...

Jazzie,

I'm so very sorry for what you are going through right now and that you are struggling. I can't imagine how difficult it is. I appreciate your honesty and respect your needing to do what is right for you at this time. I've enjoyed your posts, and hope you'll reconsider posting again when you can. I think Lis makes a good point with what Peter's intent was. I wish you better days ahead.
Sincerely,
Lemon

Anonymous said...

Lovely prose, Jazzie, and so fitting. My heart so goes out to you and all those suffering all around you. There are no words fitting enough to comfort and describe your pain; with aching hearts, we can only offer our prayers in your great sorrow, and to those who violently died, and to all those who tragically lost their precious babies and loved ones.

The horror done in Sandy Hook is a great tragedy performed at the hands of one devil possessed raging madman; not the spirit of Herrod, or Stalin, or Hitler, who all were leaders with vast armies carrying out their evil deeds. The similarity is that they too were devil possessed and evil.

I think Peter was trying to show his opinion by connecting this evil to the spirit of Herrod in the killing of children, which in that sense he is correct in that they both were possessed with the same spirit of the devil, Peter just didn't say it in those words. The spirit of the devil is what they all possessed in common.

This madman acted alone and is yet more proof that there are many more devil possessed just like him lurking in hatred. What he has done, nor any of the others mentioned in the article, has no bearing on the meaning or the spirit of Conn or of Christmas, other than to destroy the lives of the helpless and innocent, and deflect against God and try to make us rebel, blame and hate God; ALL created by and of the devil who comes as a roaring lion and is here to rob, kill and detroy.

Christmas is intended to be the celebration of our Lord and Savior being born into this world to show us a way out of this place of great evil and sorrow, and to guide and comfort us until we are at last safely at home in His loving arms. Therein lies our great hope. Herrod, in his evil, knew this and in trying to kill Him, that is why he had all the babies under two years of age killed. There is the similarity.

We will never be able to reason with ourselves how one single madman could cause such horror and pain to our children, their teachers and to those who love them; we can only know that in our great sorrow, in our Savior alone we have hope and faith, and there we place our trust.

God bless you Jazzie, and forever be with you and all those who suffer such unbearable pain. I cry for you and for them all.

Anonymous said...

Sus, your post of 12/20 at 10:20 a.m. touches on the problem and a partial solution head-on. Thank you! At least you've been trying.

These random assault killings have been going on daily and nightly for years, picking off many of our innocent children and youth, one by one in major cities all over the country, some just babies, yet no viable action is ever taken to stop them.

Everyone seems to turn a blind eye, thinking 'oh well, just another gang/drug related drive-by shooting'. It's almost like they are accepted now so we hear very little about them. We only hear the media and the politicians trying to "do" something when one of the schools or other public
assault attacks occurs and multiple lives are lost. They've GOT to be urged now, even coerced if that's what it takes.

One might make a proposal now and again, but it dies out as soon as the media backs off, emotions simmer down, the politicians move on to today's big news and current events, and nothing ever gets done to attempt to STOP these random killings and the evil that is being perpertrated on us and our children and other innocents.

NOW is the time, which is long overdue, for multiple forces to finally stand up and take action against every assault gun and every other weapon that rises up against ALL of our innocents and the helpless; and to FINALLY instill workable programs for the mentally deranged, the pedophile,
and the drug addicted that will remove them from our society and the dangers they present, until such time, if ever, that they are healed.

To wait until bereavement is over and the moment is lost, will AGAIN be too late. Again I say, strike while the iron is hot! NOW.

drdebo said...

Well said

Seamus O Riley said...

The spirit of Herod is anywhere hatred of children exists, whether it be of envy, sexual exploitation, for profit, or the desire to destroy innocence.

It is found in every state where children are hated, just as every state that has those who defend, love and protect children, who combat the spirt of Herod.

Wherever hatred of children is found, for whatever reason, it is this spirit that hates the most innocent among us.

It has been the most unChristmas like spirit for us here. It hangs over us all like a dark cloud, and I have not had the strength to even listen to the rushing sound of fury of the politicians.

The hypocrisy is beyond belief.

Peter

Bella said...

Peter: When you say "sexual abuse" do you mean Jerry Sandusky? Also, profit, do you mean abortionists? I know you are avoiding the politics, but I hope you do eventually address these things. Lots of deception.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying it is the "spirit" of Herrod that is causing all this madness and darkness? Correction. The "spirit" of Herrod is no longer with us, just as Stalin's and Hitler's spirits are no longer with us, nor are any of our other prior loved ones; although it IS possible to have visions of our loved ones gone on before us. It is also possible to be deceived in who you 'thought' you saw in your vision.

You need to seriously look into these matters pertaining to where the spirit goes upon death. The spirit of Herrod went to the judgement to be judged and was dispensed (very likely) into eternal hell centuries ago. There are no old dead reincarnated spirits roaming around among us. That is NOT what The Book says; and by darn there isn't a one of us who is smarter than The Book.

There is the spirit of the devil and his demons, old satan himself, the great deceiver; like it or not, believe it or not, that's the way it is. There is also the spirit of God, the holy spirit, and the angels among us.

I'm sorry you are so downcast. There is no need for it. Cast your eyes towards the heavens, look homeward, and you'll find your redeemer standing by waiting to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember Columbine? Armed guards...didn't work. This is a legal situation. It involves breaking laws, it requires fixing loopholes or addressing new solutions. Libs this, libs that...so silly. I do not want people around schools with guns unless they are police, US Marshalls or sheriff's dept. No volunteers or NRA. You will get power tripping people with weapons deciding how and who to target and you won't be able to stop it. Waiting around for a gunman might not be enough for these would be George Zimmermans. Why not require them to take the MMPI?
Quit bashing liberals. Such hypocrisy...saying liberals want to make new laws and are turning it into a political issue while standing behind the NRA and asking for vigilante style repercussions. Stay out of the school zone, please, with your hot headed thinking.