"All our words seem so small, so meaningless in the face of such horror."
I really think that perfectly sums up how I feel about the tragedy that happened last week in Newtown, Connecticut. I've (mostly) silently obsessed about the event since my phone beeped with an alert of the breaking news story, teetered on the brink of tears for a good portion of the past three days, had moments where it felt as though I could literally feel my heart breaking for that entire community. I had it mostly reigned in by Friday night, or so I thought, until they started releasing photographs of those innocent angels that were taken so brutally from this world in a location that should be a haven of nothing but safety and security for all children who enter its doors.
I am so torn. I am grieving for those parents who are going through unimaginable pain. I am heartbroken that we as a nation have lost eight adults and those 20 innocent souls, so beautiful and bright, trusting and untainted by the world's ugliness. I am trying to imagine how the teachers of that school will find the strength to walk back into their school and lead their students forward, trying to resume a sense of normalcy in a world that is now forever changed for those that walk those halls. I struggle with very personal questions that I can't answer and, I pray to God, won't ever have to be: Could this happen in my community? Would I put myself directly in the path of evil in order to save the lives of others? Would I be able to maintain my professional duty to care for someone else's child when I know that my own daughters are so close to imminent danger?
Above these feelings of grief, I am angry. Am I angry at the alleged shooter? No. My heart breaks for him too. What he did is atrocious and inexcusable, but it pains me to know that people are hurting so desperately that they resort to such vicious acts. Am I angry at the shooter's mother? No. I can not judge her choices and actions - or lack thereof - when I do not know the life she lived. And, like her son, the fate she suffered hurts my heart.
I am angry at this nation. I am angry that almost instantly this country was embattled once again in a political debate. In a moment that should have unified us we were instead arguing. More guns. Less guns. No guns. Guns everywhere. Improved access to services for individuals with mental illness. You can't cure crazy, might as well just ship them off some a secluded island. I'm not saying there's not the need for these conversations. I think gun laws probably should be investigated, and I'll be the first to agree that the services available to and provided for people with mental illness is in serious need of reform. But these first few days after such a horrific event, I feel, should be sacred.
I have no idea but I sincerely doubt that parents of those six and seven year old children are screaming for new legislation. Their focus is on their loss, on trying to figure out how they are going to live the rest of their lives with a significant portion of it missing forever. Wouldn't we honor those families and the memories of those lost most appropriately not by engaging in social media warfare over whose opinion is the right one but instead by standing together for just a few moments, sharing the burden of their grief even if we can only try to imagine how deep it runs?
My opinion is only that - mine. I have no doubts many disagree with me. I guess that's one of the beautiful thing about this country. I can have this little corner of the internet to spew my thoughts and feelings and no one can tell me that's not okay. Above all that we disagree on, though, I think we can all agree that this one moment in time will change the way we live forever.