The need to know what


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  • A Philadelphia vigil commemoration for the victims of Las Vegas shootings. Photo: Office of Gov. Tom Wolf



Most so achingly young, so much to live for, and oh, so many to mourn them — forever. This is WHAT needs to get out there first and foremost, not WHY? Or about WHO perpetrated this beyond words evil massacre of 59 mostly young people. Stress as well, the stories of the hundreds of grievously injured of this latest mass shooting.

But, as usual, we mostly hear about the killer — WHY did he do it? And way too much about this doer of such unthinkable evil. Of course, this needs to be learned, but it’s the beyond-words-awfulness of these unspeakable acts which need to be stressed — the unending heartbreak and the need for continuing support for the hundreds of mourners and the injured. And again the beyond-words-awfulness of the taking of innocent life — and this time, so many, so many, so many.

Yom Kippur just past and surely it relates. “Thou shalt not kill” is part of the Ten Commandments and let’s hope that this again beyond-words massacre makes it a subject of sermons from all faith groups. Like East Side pastor Msgr. Harry Byrne did in the high crime 1970’s after several fatal muggings of parishioners. And he also went public with his “The First Civil Liberty” aired on The Times Op-Ed page, sharply reminding government its first duty was to protect public safety, especially, he said, from criminal violence. Harry was a great friend to this paper and very much involved with affordable housing and other unmet community needs, truly a man for all seasons — a role model preacher and pastor whose church pews were always full. Struggling faith groups might take note.

Of course, infinitely more must be done to regulate guns, but that must not be the foremost reaction, or action, or again not so much about the killer who shall be nameless here. He should not have a moment of fame too many mindless want to achieve. But again, what are the beyond-words consequence of this horrific evil — any evil really, to the victims and to their loved ones — their stories must continue to be told so their names are household kind — not those who wreak such ultimate crimes.

And why is TV again doing a show about the Menendez Murders — two sons killing their mother and father ? Why is so-called entertainment ever more rife with the ruthless fictional taking of life — even in the once G-rated soaps? Ah, too few remember Hillary Clinton when as first lady admonishing Hollywood, the entertainment business, for excess violence which she said could desensitize youngsters. “Not only youngsters,” some of us said. And Tipper Gore took a strong stand against pop music violence, which unfortunately got derailed.

But, for now, we’ll stay with the WHAT? What are the terrible lasting consequences of such ultimate real life murderous evils? The magnitude of the ongoing suffering must be stressed and remembered as a primary prevention measure. And yes, to more truly and reverently remember all innocent victims and those who mourn them. And never forget how the heart-broken bereaved need our ongoing support — our ongoing support!


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