I am still crying at the 27 deaths, most of them first-graders, who were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The alleged killer Adam Lanza ended his own short 20-year-old life after causing the carnage.  There is speculation about his rage, possible mental illness, and his motive. I believe in an afterlife, and I wonder somewhere, somehow, if Lanza’s consciousness continues, and how it might feel to see and understand the horrific consequences of his actions.

I am still crying at the 27 deaths, most of them first-graders, who were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The alleged killer Adam Lanza ended his own short 20-year-old life after causing the carnage.  There is speculation about his rage, possible mental illness, and his motive. I believe in an afterlife, and I wonder somewhere, somehow, if Lanza’s consciousness continues, and how it might feel to see and understand the horrific consequences of his actions.


To slaughter small innocents and those beloved by others is a decision to inflict the deepest kind of pain. On some spiritual plane, can Lanza feel the blackest kind of sorrow of those who grieve? I wonder if he glimpses the stolen futures of those murdered children, their talents and skills never to benefit future humanity. Is he in a place to grasp a mother’s agony? Will their sobs of devastation reverberate in his being forever, like it will for those women?


The holiday season is alight with childlike wonder and happy expectations.  Family gatherings. Presents to be opened. For families of the slain, it’s the worst possible time to bear emotional wounds - sharp, acute, relentless – that may never close. The shootings hit close to home.  My son-in-law returned from work and hugged his little daughters for a long time and told them, “I need to hold you. You’re my girls,” and then tenderly kissed his wife.


President Barack Obama had said that he and wife "will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight."


Does their pain transcend time and space to Lanza and others like him? There is no way to prove what lies beyond the physical realm, but I don’t believe suicide is a final escape. I believe awareness, in whatever form it takes, continues after death. Divine judgment is God’s alone.


In Hebrews 4:13, it says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”


Those left behind search for answers to the killer’s motive and character. Did mental illness drive his actions, and if so, to what extent? Was he therefore unaware of his actions? We can never fully know. Even if we did, the grief and loss remain, and no amount of legal action can ever feel right.


As a person of faith, I believe God alone knows every aspect of my being especially those things I don’t even know or understand about myself. Only God can and will apply the perfect measures of justice and mercy.


The media speculates about facets of the tragedy that may never be proved. I wonder about post-death consciousness and the eternal consequences of responsibility.


Email Suzette Standring at suzmar@comcast.net. Her blog, Spiritual Café, is syndicated with GateHouse Media. Visit www.readsuzette.com.