When a Search Doesn’t Give Us Answers

The New ExploreI discovered something interesting when reviewing the analytics for my blog. There are several things I review, but since posting the names of gun deaths since Newtown I have had a huge increase in traffic. I had an idea why but decided to delve further into the search data to see if my hunch was confirmed. It was.

Gun violence falls into six categories:

  1. Accidents
  2. Drive-by shooting
  3. Homicide
  4. Murder/suicide
  5. Police shooting
  6. Suicide

Every death by gun falls into one of these categories. Every death is a senseless, heart-breaking loss. Families and friends gather as much information as they can to try and make sense of such a tragic loss.

Why would a 13-year old boy shoot himself in the woods behind the middle school just before class was to begin?

Why would a brother murder his brother’s girlfriend in the house where his brother had committed suicide the day before, and then take his own life?

Who would indiscriminately open fire on a group of girls as they are walking to a friend’s house for an end-of-school-year sleep-over?

We are so stunned when we hear such terrible news that we ask questions and search for information to find out why. We want to believe that if we knew why, we would then understand, and maybe if we understood, we’d somehow be able to compartmentalize this tragedy or separate ourselves. We never want to be faced with, “That could have been me!” or “What did I miss?”

I’ve searched on most of the names of the more than 5,000 gun deaths since Newtown trying to make sense of such tragedy … and I don’t even know these souls. The information is brief and there is very little follow up.

It’s been six months since my brother’s death and I’m still asking questions and trying to make sense of something that will never make sense. It’s probably much the same with those searching online to see if there are any clues as to why something so awful happened to someone they know and love.

Unfortunately, there rarely are answers for the whys of life. We can gather information, pour over the data, surmise possibilities, even construct some theories, but we will never fully know or understand. We may never stop asking why, but at some point we will accept it’s harsh reality, move through our grief, and learn to live with the emptiness left by our loss.

Eternal Scheme may not have any information as to why, but I do know that each name represents a sacred life lost to gun violence. My prayers are with all who grieve.

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