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It strikes me as painfully poignant that, as we try to find our way through the trauma of the tragic slaughter of the innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary and cope with widespread mayhem across the globe, that people the world over will be singing these timeless words of a beloved carol: “Yet in thy dark streets shineth, The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight.”

The coming of Christmas may strike some as bad timing, and for certain this year’s season is appropriately more somber. To process senseless loss is a pain too great to fully bear. But it is helpful, I think, to remember that Christmas is more than a season of sweetness and glad tidings. For Christians, this is a holy time. It’s a time when we remember with hope that God sent His Son in the form of a helpless baby to save the world from sin and yes, evil.


“He will swallow up death forever,” wrote the prophet Isaiah, “and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:8)

As parents, we must help our children navigate a corrosive culture. We can do this by encouraging and championing a strong moral foundation. Morals help to maintain order in the culture. It’s become en vogue in some circles to consider that morality is relative, that good and bad are subjective. But as we were reminded this past Friday, nothing could be further from the truth.

The best news in the darkest of times is that God has not given up on us. He is in the middle of the mayhem. He now holds these precious little children in His arms. And as we mourn we must hold tightly to the hope and promises of His Word, that He truly is “Our Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”

— Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family.

Mass killings seem to be symptomatic of some people’s willingness or desire to express their personal distress, frustration, or discomfort in a dramatically public way. This is not confined to America: For example, in 1994 a Moroccan pilot deliberately crashed his plane into the side of a mountain, killing 43 people as well as himself. He was distressed that his wife had left him.

The perpetrators of mass killings seem to be maladjusted people with a grievance against life, sometimes crystallized by a relatively minor incident like being fired from work or rejected by a woman in a nightclub. Quite often they have been justly accused of what they have in fact done. One killer shot people in two brokerage firms (having first killed his wife and two children) after he had lost a lot of money day-trading. Presumably he thought that the opportunity to make a lot of money was actually the right to make a lot of money, a right that had just been denied him. (The right to pursue happiness has long since been replaced by the right to be happy.) Hence he revenged himself upon those who denied him his right.

These terrible killings are different from the serial murders of old that were usually committed for financial gain or sexual gratification. They seem often to be the expression of a tormented egotism, a protest at the refusal of the world to take the perpetrator at his own inflated estimate of his importance. Needless to say, such people are incapable of genuine self-examination, which has been replaced almost entirely in the modern world by psychobabble and sociological pseudo-explanations of human behavior.

Weapons of any kind are obviously dangerous in the hands of such people. I leave it to constitutional scholars to decide whether the Founding Fathers ever imagined that the population would one day bear semi-automatics.

Anthony Daniels, a physician, is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.