This year, Christmas Day arrived as a bittersweet respite following twelve days of tears and heartbreak and wrenching sorrow. Last week, when I wasn’t working or wrapping and labeling Christmas gifts, I watched television coverage of the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In newspapers, I studied pictures of the women and children whose lives ended so tragically, reading the stories of each one. It felt like something I could do—to put faces to names—to honor their beautiful lives—to not look away.
I also studied two pictures of Adam Lanza, the shooter. In one, he was 13, wearing a bright blue shirt and a smile. A more recent picture—most associated with the Newtown massacre—shows a pale, skull-thin, unsmiling Adam staring straight into the camera. News stories about Adam and his family are disturbing. Most attempt to solve the puzzle of why Adam committed such an incomprehensible act, and to place blame. Instead, they have only raised more questions—and dangerous speculations.