Is Empathy the Antidote to Violence?

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When acts such as the Sandy Hook school shooting occur, it is natural for there to be strong reaction from across society. Even when one argues that a violent culture breeds more violence, it is easy to forget that a churlish response peppered with epithets will not be the oil that calms the seas. That is why I was so proud of my own son, Brian Todd, for putting forth some rational thoughts on a thoroughly irrational day.

“The politicization of this tragedy is exemplary of what we believe and what we believe in as a society. People should stop worrying about who they believe or who the believe in and start worrying about what they’re being taught or what they’re teaching someone else. People argue about how much more important their beliefs are than another’s in reaction to somebody valuing his beliefs more than the children he killed. Perhaps I’m the only one that sees the disgusting hypocrisy of this tragedy. The reaction to the tragedy just becomes fuel for the next tragedy.

Selfishness, egotism, ignorance and wrath are the root of the problem. People who put more value in what they believe than they do another person’s life are the problem. People that think their belief system is more important than somebody else’s are the problem. People who punish out of anger, which teaches the next generation to punish out of anger, create this problem. Tragedies like this will only cease when people stop believing their reality is more important than somebody else’s.

Maybe it’s time for us to start teaching our kids about tolerance, endurance, sacrifice and understanding. Maybe it’s time for us to start practicing tolerance, sacrifice and understanding. Maybe it’s time for people to speak out of concern for another’s behavior, instead of reacting to behaviors out of anger. These are the values and actions that improve life in a free society. These are the values and actions that will prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.”