How Will You Respond To This Tragedy

On Friday, a madman marched into an Elementary School and killed 27 teachers and children.

For the last three days, the world has mourned.

It has been front cover news in every newspaper I have seen. Even though it was impossible to miss the front page headline, I have refused to read the details because of what it will do to me emotionally. I am sure it has been on the TV nonstop since then, but I can’t verify since I have intentionally not turned on my television – a habit you might consider – because I am susceptible to a constant barrage of negative, discouraging media.

The nation and the world are stricken with grief, loss, disbelief and rage that such insanity is possible.

Our hearts are broken, and as a parent I have thought more than once, how devastated I would feel if that was one of my kids.

This incident has sparked all kinds of reactions. Some rational and worth of discussion and some just knee jerk emotional limbic brain type responses.

Reactions like:

“This just goes to prove that guns are too easy to come by and we need stricter guns laws.”

“We need to put uniformed police officers on our campuses to keep this from happening”

“Maybe we need to let teachers have guns in the classroom. If we did this would never happen.”

“The world is spinning out of control and everything is getting worse and worse.”

“What kind of God allows such senseless tragedies to take place?”

“The government needs to take stricter measures and pass more gun control laws.”

“This is really a mental health issue and we need to get serious in this country about dealing with mental health especially PTSD or we will see more and more of this.”

“This kind of stuff NEVER happened when I was a kid.”

While some of these are valid points, I think there is a bigger issue that not many are talking about. Mainly, how are you responding to all of this and how does it affect YOUR own mental state of mind, YOUR own behavior or YOUR business.

Days like Friday test our resolve, our belief and our hope for a brighter future.

Once our belief and hope begins to fade, we begin to enter the dark side of spirituality.

Yes, we are in a spiritual battle much like Luke Skywalker. Each day we make choices to give in to the dark side or keep the faith that there is hope and a better future tomorrow. Our choices are reflected in our behaviors or lack thereof.

As awful as this event is, and it is awful and gut wrenching, it is not the first time people have been killed senselessly. Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, the late Rev Jim Jones and even the US government has intentionally killed or poisoned it citizens.

The US intentionally exposed black citizens to radioactive material just to see what would happen. They have also exposed them to various other chemical agents that later resulted in mass cancers and deaths.

Yes, we live in a world full of light and darkness. AND it is sometimes easy to lose sight of just what is going on and to then give in to the dark side and give up.

Darkness and despair can only succeed when people lose all hope and give up on dreams and goals to make a better life for themselves, their family and their communities. Evil does prey on people with just such despair and lost hope.

The big picture here is not about guns or the loss of life – as tragic as that is – it is about how people allow such acts to affect them and how willingly people surrender their dreams – primarily the dreams of freedom and self determination.

All that is necessary for evil tyrants to prevail is for good men to stand by and do nothing. Exactly what happened when Hitler first came to power and the world stood by and watched him kill six million Jews.

If one views their existence from a purely secular view, it is easy to fall into the victim and despair trap. But if one has belief in a higher spiritual existence and believes that no matter what GOD is in control, then it becomes much easier to put all of this in perspective and not lose hope or optimism about the future.

“If a madman in Connecticut adds to YOUR hopelessness and poisons your resolve to help other people, to grow your business, to send your kids to school every day… you’re capitulating to the tyrants.

But if the madman in Connecticut inspires you to love your kids more, to pour more goodness into them and send them into the world as bold adults who know who they are and whose they are… if, even though your family like every family has its brokenness and dysfunctions, your children are unconditionally loved…

…then evil loses. Good wins out.” (quoted from Perry Marshall)

Despair begets despair. Hope begets more hope. Whatever you focus on you get more of, so I challenge you to focus on hope. Not shallow positive thinking, but real hope that there can be a better world and that you are responsible to do your part to make it so.



PS Your comments are most welcomed and will be read – maybe even responded to.



Read Perry’s blog, watched CBS Sunday Morning show and just finish a conversation with Nina, my wife, about how disturbing this news is and how understanding is even more difficult.
15% of North America discounts the values of the church and our 20 something are different than we were.
Do we just tune it out and remain focused on our personal world?
Guess time will tell…
…more important things to think about.

Jeff Poehlmann

You are absolutely right! Keep on chasing the dream of a brighter day, where the “good” overcomes the evil.

Robert Smith


Thanks for this helpful perspective on the senseless shootings in Newton Conneticut.
When we bring our hope to the everyday challenges of life… good can take root and surpress evil before it is bold enough to assert itself in the mind of a 20 year old who hope evidently had long ago abandoned.

To Hope


Sammie Bracken

Your outlook on things is in direct line with my thoughts.
The only adding thought would be that I am a man of action, and Faith. My ability to achieve goals is by my ability to turn bad into good, thoughts to action and action into sales. Hope has no place in my world, it has also been removed from my dictionary.
And is used only as a last resort when I am speaking. As a verb I can hope my life away,hope the kids stay away from drugs,hope I can pay my bills….all without leaving my couch. Let’s turn these actions of darkness into actions of goodness and kindness and leave hope to those that can’t take action
So despair begets despair, faith begets more faith.Action spurs action.

Chuck Anderson

I agree that we can not let this push us to negativity and despair. And I refuse to listen over and over to all the details and unbalanced comments of the media, allowing these to fill my mind and heart and color my view of the world. We cannot allow these tragedies to change our way of life nor allow the fearful to push us to give up our freedoms.

Rather we must stand strong in our decision to build a better lives for ourselves, our families and those around us. Regarding God, either you believe he loves us and is in control or you do not. If you don’t, don’t pretend you do like some sort of hypocrite or someone who puts their emotional state above their convictions and beliefs.

If there is something positive we can do to work against these tragedies, it is to maintian our faith and love. Secondly, to recognize that the perpetrators of these tragedies are people lost is depression and mental illness. A bit more attention to lending them as much a helping hand as they will accept will do ten times more to curtail this kind of behavior than more police, more gun control or more government snopping into our private lives.

Larry Tashlik

Jake and Holly are focusing on HOPE…. especially Jake…you know what that focus
and hope is… more shallow positive thinking….GET THAT KEY!

Jacqueline monroe

Well put, Steve. I wholeheartedly agree. I myself do not have a television, I only heard about it by a mention in an email I received. By not being glued to the news and focusing on my family, I may seem unconcerned about those victims. On the contrary I feel for the families of the victims and anyone involved. That love and empathy breeds more. So I have more to give. Great post.

Richard Lindsey

Right on Steve!

Chuck Trautman


Great post. I also believe we must do everything with more passion, commitment and resolve or the “bad guys” win.

Thanks for sharing,


Walter Cortes

My wife came home from work that Friday and almost stumble on her way to the remote control! She looked at me reading PROFITABLE PERSUASION by Steve Clark and barked at me like I don’t have heart for people.

I wonder sometimes what kind of food do we feed our minds nowadays. I have a choice and will continue to choose (easier said than done)to look at the brighter side of this short life.

Proverbs 9:27 will suffice.

Comments are closed