Op-ed contributor Mickey Fenzel recently wrote about "the malady of America's soul" and whether we have the will to heal it ("The malady of America's soul," Dec. 18). The tragedy in Newtown should challenge us all to begin a conversation has long been needed.
My first thought on reading his commentary was of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's most famous quote: "Some are guilty, all of us are responsible."
The culture of the United States has changed in the last several decades. We are not as righteous as once we may have been. We let things slide and rarely get outraged when we should be doing something about the wrongs of life.
Witness the recent wars that we have been involved in and can't seem to get out of. To question why we are in these wars is considered unpatriotic, even though they have led to many killings, including of innocent civilians.
My point here is that even though most of this takes place overseas, it does not go unnoticed and unanswered in our minds and souls. Wrongs have a tendency to fester, and they have an impact whether we realize it or not.
By not standing up for the human rights of all, Americans are left to drift toward a more individualistic society that is not truly caring. It makes us let our guard down and allows us to tolerate more of the same rather than raise issues.
When this happens, we begin to see some individuals, like the shooter in Newtown, erupt in ways that are unconscionable and hard to understand.
It is a step in the right direction that a real conversation will now take place on gun control in the United States. But I hope we can also go beyond that to a conversation that addresses where we can again find America's soul again as well.
Raymond D. Bahr, Baltimore