Peggy Noonan commented on the massacre in Connecticut on her blog at the Wall Street Journal:
Something else about this story. I know so many people who in past tragedies were glued to the TV. They wanted to hear the facts of Columbine, Aurora, Tucson. They wanted to hear what happened so they could understand and comprehend. After Newtown, I’d mention some aspect of the story and they didn’t know, because they weren’t watching. And they’re not going to watch anymore. “Too depressing” they say, softly.
Even journalists who by nature and training want to know the latest fact aren’t, unless they’re working the story, closely following it. Because it’s too painful now, because they’re not sure anything can be done to turn it around and make better the era we’re in. This new fatalism is . . . well, new. And I understand it, but there’s something so defeated in turning away, in not listening to or hearing the stories of the parents and the responders and the teachers.
Noonan has observed in this case how people respond when something truly horrible happens: people don’t want to know what really happened. Victims of torture who try to tell people what they have been through find that people turn away their faces and stop their ears. When escapees from Nazi murder camps tried to warn people, even fellow Jews, they were not believed. I sold 10,000 copies of my first book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, but only a few hundred copies of my second and far more important book Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. The publisher who had commissioned the book walked away and said it was too horrible to publish. The editor at Oxford said she would not touch it with a hundred-foot pole. Even my friends, even psychiatrists, who began reading the book said they couldn’t continue, it was too horrible.
This reaction is something the worst criminals count on: people won’t do anything about the crimes because they don’t want to think about them, they don’t want to believe that such things occur. Alas, they do.